In many American households ham is a traditional dish for Easter Sunday. This stems back to many, many years ago, when there was no refrigeration and any fresh pork that wasn’t consumed during the winter months was cured for spring. The curing process was lengthy and the first hams were usually finished around the time that Easter came about – so it became the natural choice for Easter dinner.
Ham is usually very simple to prepare, since it is fully cooked when you get it, so most of the cooking process just involves gently re-heating it and preparing a glaze for it. This makes it a great featured dish because not only does it taste great but it is so simple to prepare and opens up some of your time to focus on some other elements of the Easter feast.
The difficulty with ham is to find one that is indeed gluten-free. Ham, on its own, is gluten-free. The problem lies with any seasonings that might be added to the outside of the packaged ham, cross contamination, or if the manufacturer is using any added smoke flavorings that might contain gluten. On researching some popular, national brands like “Cook’s” – they basically state that their hams are, by nature, gluten-free but they cannot guarantee if any of their suppliers of spices or other ingredients (as in the sauce packet) are gluten-free. My suggestion is to stick with brands that you can be sure that their hams are gluten-free, either by the label or even better, by speaking with the company. Two brands that I called to find out if their hams were gluten-free were Beeler Pork and Jones Dairy Farm. Both of these companies offer on-line ordering and both have beautiful bone-in half hams, bone-in full hams and boneless hams. I would also recommend checking out any local farms or butchers in your area that would know, with confidence, how the ham was smoked and cured and if there was any gluten involved in the process. It is possible to find a gluten-free ham, you just might have to look a little harder for them. The good news is, that once you find one, odds are the quality will be great and you will have a beautiful ham for your Easter dinner.
We’ve experimented with a lot of glazes and different preparations for a whole or half ham (bone-in) and my personal favorite is a rather simple recipe of Ham with Pecan Glaze. Very simple, just place the ham in the center of the oven at 275 degrees for 12-15 minutes per pound or until the ham reaches 140 degrees F. Approximately 20-30 minutes before it is done, baste it with the pecan glaze (recipe below). Continue to baste every 5 minutes until the ham has reached the correct internal temperature.
- 1/2 cup gf brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons honey
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
In a saucepan, heat all ingredients until well blended. Baste ham with glaze.
- Chef Jessica