Perfect Holiday Ham – Several years ago, two of our best friends came down from our old home state to visit us at Christmas. We planned a fabulous dinner with the menfolk picking out the perfect ham and my bestie doing her magic to it. I’d baked many hams over the years and thought they were pretty good, but nothing prepared me for the sweet succulent flavor or the unbelievable tenderness of Tammy’s perfect holiday ham. Henceforth, we all began calling it Tammy’s Hammy. 😋
She learned how to make them like this from her father who was a Navy cook. I don’t know how he became so inspired, but I’d thank him endlessly if I could. He passed away many years ago and I never got to meet him.
You might think there’s some super special ingredient that’s required for this recipe, but there are just 5 ordinary components plus the ham. And it doesn’t really matter what kind of ham you buy, other than NO spiral sliced.
In these pictures, you’ll see I used Wild Cherry Pepsi. That was an accident! My husband pointed it out to me after I’d already cooked the ham, but before I’d had a chance to taste it. Let me tell you, it still tasted wonderful! To be honest, none of mine have ever been quite as good as my BFF’s, but they’re still a gajillion times better than the old way I used to make them. I think the key is lots of love and liberally basting with the pan juices every 40 minutes or so. And cook the ham for 4-5 hours at 275°F (longer than the usual package directions of 12-15 minutes per pound).
- 1 whole, half, butt, or shank smoked ham
- 1 lb. light brown sugar
- 1/2 pot (6 cups) brewed black coffee
- 1 can pineapple rings, plus the juice
- 1/3-1/2 of a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi
- Whole cloves
Remove the ham from the packaging and place in a large roasting pan. Lay it on its side with the fat layer on top. Score about 1″ deep with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern across the whole top.
Insert whole cloves (make sure the little round ball is still in the top of each clove), into the intersection of each crisscross.
Toss 5 or 6 more cloves in the bottom of the pan.
Place as many pineapple rings on top as will fit and put the rest in the pan around the ham.
Dump the brown sugar on top. Pour on the coffee and the Pepsi.
Cover tightly with a lid or foil. Place in 275°F oven for 4-5 hours, liberally basting with a ladle every 40 minutes or so.
Leave the ham tightly covered until nearly ready to serve. Either leave in pan and slice off pieces, letting the slices fall into the juices, or remove to a large carving board and slice according to the package directions.
Happy eating! 😊