Written by Liz –
Easter ham is a tradition for many people on Easter Sunday, and here’s a fresh version using cola to brine the ham. In the South they’ve been brining meat – soaking or marinating meat overnight using a solution containing salt and other ingredients – in cola for a long time. Brining helps the meat stay moist by saturating the cells with the solution before baking it, and cola adds some sweetness and tang to the meat.
Brining is different from braising, although they are both ways to increase the moisture content in meat. Braising is cooking the meat mostly submerged in broth or liquid instead of marinating beforehand. One delicious pork roast recipe to try your hand at braising is Drunken Pork.
Brining meats, especially pork in cola, has become a popular way to prepare meat in recent years, and this recipe makes for a tasty new flavor to include in your traditional Easter brunch or dinner. This Oklahoma girl will definitely be brining ham with Dr. Pepper – the only soda worth the calories in my opinion – and thinking of home. Enjoy and Happy Easter!
Ingredients for 8-10 servings:
3 bottles (2 liters each) cola or other dark-colored soda (such as COKE or DR. PEPPER)
1 1/2 cups salt
1 (6 to 8 pounds) bone-in, shank or butt portion fresh ham (half a leg), skin on
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
1 tablespoon MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
COMBINE cola and salt in a medium-size cooler or other 10-quart bucket or stockpot; stir to dissolve the salt.
USING a sharp knife, score entire surface of ham in a crosshatch or diamond pattern, cutting down just through the skin. Place ham in the brine, submerging completely. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
POSITION oven rack in the lowest position and preheat oven to 500° F.
COMBINE parsley, oil, garlic and bouillon in small bowl; stir well.
REMOVE ham from brine. Rinse it well under cold water then pat dry with paper towels. Place the ham wide-side-down in a large roasting pan with a flat rack. Rub outside of ham all over with the bouillon mixture, pressing it gently into scored slices between the skin.
BAKE uncovered for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and continue to bake until the roast reaches 150° F on an instant-read thermometer (this should take 2 to 2 1/2 hours, about 20 to 25 minutes per pound of ham). After the first hour, it’s a good idea to loosely wrap foil around the bone to keep it from burning.
TRANSFER the roast to a carving board and tent with foil; allow the roast to sit at room temperature until the internal roast temperature reaches 160° F (about 20 to 30 minutes). The roast is now ready to carve.
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