Infused with fresh ginger, star anise, and cloves, this Asian-inspired ham is packed with amazing flavor, and lacquered in a sweet, sticky honey, orange, and Chinese five spice glaze. It’s a stellar showstopper for any holiday meal!
As I was driving home from teaching class one of the past Tuesday nights of one of the past months since last September, my mind wandered as I zoned in and out, listening to my favorite part of my Tuesday night teaching gig—Tuesday Night Takeover with Karamea, her songlist is “the jam” as the kids say these days.
Per usual, my thoughts drifted to and fro about blogging. Not necessarily my blog, or even food blogs, but blogs in general.
And I had an epiphanie. Or a comparison, rather, about what blogs are like.
Some of you may be single, looking for that new special somebody. What does a girl or guy have to do these days to meet somebody new?
Date someone from work? Not always the best idea. If things go south you either need to find a new job or walk past one another with eyes averted as you secretly spy on the flirting going on with the new temp.
At a bar? The classic hook up, but unless you’re under 25, what you remember as a cute and flirty scene quickly devolves to desperation.
Which has led many singles to online dating sites. Match, e-Harmony, etc., we’ve all heard encouraging stories of relationships that have blossomed from screen time to snuggle time.
But first there’s that suffering vetting process. Screening through candidates and their life stories of roses and unicorns. Why yes of course he’s 6’3” with a chiseled jaw, a great job and no baggage, why wouldn’t he be single? Look at that perfectly poised photo and read those disarmingly witty texts he sends. And then you meet in real life, only to discover what really lies at the belly of the beast isn’t nearly as engaging or real as his onscreen persona.
And that’s where I found the comparison. Blogs are a lot like dating sites.
We bloggers try to make our sites pretty, stylish and as our biggest hope: informative. We create scenarios of amazing dinner parties, fantastic vacations and nearly impossible to recreate projects that could possibly contain just a touch of embellishment thrown in. Reading about your neighbor’s rather ritualistic, real-life days certainly wouldn’t be as fascinating or inspiring to the outside world. We all put our best foot forward, where sometimes things look effortless but in reality, things aren’t always as they seem. We all have our groundhog days.
This was my house as I was creating this recipe for ham. It was a Sunday, I had bought the ham the Saturday before. As in the 7 days before. I had boiled it the day before since I thought we could have it for dinner on Saturday night, but knowing I had to take photos for the blog, I ran out of time—food blogger code for light to take photos in—so wrapped it up and saved it for Sunday. Did we even eat dinner that night? I don’t remember. But when Sunday rolled around I knew it was now or never and I had better get it cooking or my prized ham would be dog food bound.
The kitchen was a wreck, this photo doesn’t show the half of it. Hell, the house itself was a disaster with painting going on in the bathroom, our bedroom, the hall, and now he had snaked into the kitchen. My man was on a terror with lazer like focus and I was not going to be one to complain.
I had three recipes to multi-task and finish that day so I could have fodder for the week. Drop cloths cuddled with garlic peelings, dogs scattered underfoot as I dropped the pile of jalapeno seeds on the floor and quickly shooed them away so none of ended up in the doggie E.R. The glaze overflowed onto the stovetop. Honey and brown sugar glaze. Enough said. And of course Smudge was dancing in and out of the kitchen, declaring loudly how huuuuungry she was and could she please lick the bowl of the Mini Lemon Bundt Cakes?
So by the time the ham came out of the oven, I made way and cleared a 2 foot space on my countertop and quickly got off some photos as the clock ticked toward sunset. I had a bite of the ham, I had too since I cut into it, right? It was really, really good. I then made the mistake of boasting exactly that, out loud rather than keeping it to myself, and then it was all over with.
The vultures descended. And that’s when we all declared this a great, great ham.
And that’s what we had for Sunday dinner that night. Glazed Asian Sticky Ham. Right then, right there. No sides. No plates. It was somehow just right and not at all smoke and mirrors or unicorns and roses. It was just real life.
This was a fresh ham I had been searching for high and low and finally, finally found at our indoor farmer’s market, procured from a local meat company. I’ve been holding onto this recipe like a sailor holds onto his lovely lady before he ships his way from shore. I first saw this recipe on an episode of Cooking Channel’s Simply Baked with Lorraine Pascal. Oh how I love her. They don’t run it very often but thanks to OnDemand, the reruns show up periodically as I scramble to hit save for eternity.
Lorraine says to use a fresh ham. I bet you’re thinking all hams are fresh. Well my friend, you’d be wrong. At least in my sense of fresh. Most hams are composite parts that are formed together, stuffed with water and precooked. This ham had several parts, but was tied with a string net that held all of its smoked goodness together.
This may not be the “right” time to showcase a ham recipe since it’s past Easter and Christmas is thankfully a strong arm’s distance away, but since this is real life, and this is when I found my ham, this is when I’m sharing it. If you end up trying this recipe, I think you’ll understand.
A few recipe notes:
I did make this recipe once before with a regular ham. It didn’t hold a candle to this version. Really, if you can, find a butcher and get a fresh ham.
The recipe makes quite a bit of glaze, but don’t waste it all on the basting of the ham. Save some for dipping, it’s the best part. And do watch the glaze as it’s coming to a boil. You don’t need to scrub your stovetop too since I already took care of that chore for you.
The ham I bought was a smoked ham which really complimented the Asian flavors. Highly recommend.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Sticky Glazed Asian Ham
- 5 lb fresh ham , smoked if you like
- ¼ cup black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 knob of fresh ginger , (about 2 tablespoons), finely grated
- 2 star anise
- 1 large handful of cloves
For sticky glaze
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- ½ orange , zested and juice reserved
- ⅔ cup honey
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 red jalapeño pepper , seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- ½ cup soy sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- If using a fresh ham, soak it in cold water overnight to remove the excess salt from brining and smoking, or cook the ham in a large stockpot of water for 30 minutes over medium heat. Remove from the pot and discard the salted liquid.
- Place the ham in a large, clean stockpot and cover completely with water. Add the peppercorns, bay leaves, ginger, star anise, and half the cloves and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes per 1 pound of ham.
- About a half hour before ham is done cooking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the ingredients for the glaze in a small pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat until sugar has dissolved then reduce to simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until reduced and thickened.
- Remove the ham from the water and pat dry with paper towels and remove net if it has one. Use a sharp small knife to score the meat diagonally, then change direction and score the other way to form diamonds. Stick the remaining cloves into the holes where the lines cross. Pour the glaze evenly over the meat reserving what you don't use for dipping sauce. Place the ham in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top begins to caramelize.
- Remove from the oven, tent for 10 minutes and then slice and serve.
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I have regular butt and shank hams. Could I use this glaze. You mentioned doing it but not as good. Would it be a waste of my efforts. I do want a Chinese inspired ham.
And if so just in the oven with the glaze, do you think?
Sure Kim! Go for it!
I just tasted it with my friends. Its was yummy. Had a great party with dearest one! Your food photography was also amazing. Thanks for your great effort on it.
I loved this honest post! :)
Looks spectacular! A question though – it says 1/2 orange, zested, juice reserved. Where does the juice go?
Could I make this in a crock pot and slow cook it? I’d like to make it for Thanksgiving!
Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious
Love the real life shots, especially the ones with the sherwin williams bucket – can I say “food prop”? :)
Glad no one ended up at the doggie ER! And if this ham was at my house, side plates, bowls, and napkins would not be involved. I’d dig right in with no shame. After I take the photos though!
This post makes me love you even more.
Betty Ann @Mango_Queen
I love these Asian flavors you put in the ham. Coincidentally, I was pondering on making a ham this weekend for the family. I think I have the best recipe right here on your site Thanks for sharing this Sticky Glazed Asian Ham. It’s a must-do!
Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking
This is such a stunning ham. I love that you made it just for the heck of it, not for a holiday or anything. I think sometimes fancy centerpiece foods are best eaten at off times, while standing in the kitchen. Love it.
Aimee @ Simple Bites
Oh this is just bloody brilliant. Cheers to letting it all hang out!
Kristy @ The Life She Made
To think you got some positively stunning photos with all that going around you.
I’d have to agree about the smoke and mirrors thing. I always keep that in mind when reading blogs, especially when I start to get pangs of jealousy about how ‘perfect’ somebody’s perceived life is. I remind myself that nothing is as it seems.
Paula - bell'alimento
Oh sweet mamma Heidi. I would have grabbed it right off the tray too ; )
Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out
Most of my meals are eaten while sitting on my living room floor, straight off of my photography board and the plates I photographed the food on. There’s usually a cat nose or two stuck in there somewhere. That is totally real life.
I love – and relate – to the truth of this. I really think that this online world gives people the impression that so many lives are perfect – but I think it’s the imperfections that make us great! (And I totally am loving this ham. I need to get my hands on a fresh ham!)
Leah | So, How's It Taste?
So true! I love these kinds of posts. That ham sounds amazing.
Tracy @ Peanut Butter and Onion
OMG this looks incredible… I never get to make ham in my house, no one likes it!
Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet
You should see the behind-the-scenes in my house! lol Love your story and the photos, Heidi! This ham looks spectacular!!
Wow, those are amazing windows in your house – spectacular light. Spectacular ham! And yes to the food blogger time schedule – the light, the cooking, the hunger – eating the props, etc.. I don’t know how you manage to post as much as you do each week! Kudos.
I laughed out loud & smiled through each sentence. Beautifully written, I felt as if we were sitting across from each other & you were telling me the story. Lovely!
This recipe looks great and I absolutely love the story that went along with it!
Bev @ Bev Cooks
You’re telling me that’s a mess? Girl, please. Everything still looks perfect!
Gerry @ Foodness Gracious
I know exactly what you mean and it happens,to me often…the kitchen debacle, the fading light, the wobbly chair I stand on to take overhead pics, the screaming 3 year old who justs wants a snack daddy! And I still continue to do this “hobby” why? Because I’m hooked and with each post I hope to improve on the last, trying to find that new setting on my camera which gives me a whole new look…its fun and I love the authenticity of your post!
Cassie | Bake Your Day
I love everything about this post – the food, the honesty, your stories. You have a way with photos, my friend and I love your words. And the ham – I’d take this any day, regardless of the holiday!
This story totally cracked me up. This is our huse on any given day!
Great post! And I think real life is infinitely more interesting than the over-styled prettiness so many bloggers put out over and over. So sad that I’m not going to BTP; hope all you guys have a great time!
Ali | Gimme Some Oven
Goodness. I feel like your posts are always what I need to read each day. Thanks for cheers-ing the groundhog days, and the real life behind our shiny dating profiles (er, blogs). I’m all for the days of best-foot-forward styled food photos and posts, but the moments when real life sinks in always seem the most meaningful to me!
I think that your photo of creating this recipe is one of my new all-time favorites. Love every bit of life in that picture, and the story behind. And still, your cover photo of this amazing ham couldn’t be any more beautiful.
Best blog post to begin my day. Thank you! :)
Jen @ Savory Simple
I feel like I can taste it from here! Those cloves…
I love real life – that’s really what I read blogs for & I totally love your blogging/dating site analogy.
Averie @ Averie Cooks
I don’t even eat meat but I can sure appreciate your wonderful story telling and how true it all is! :)