fresh ham recipes

Fresh ham – basic roasting recipe

Natalie’s stand-by recipe for fresh ham:

1. Coat the thawed ham with a dry rub (I use garlic powder, salt, paprika, a little brown sugar if you want – you can do this rub to your favorite tastes).  Be sure to make note of the roast’s weight before you throw away the wrapper.

2. Put ham in ziploc or covered container and return it to the fridge for a day or two. the longer it sits with the rub, the more it will take on the flavors of the rub.  If you don’t have that much time, it’s okay to cook it right away.

3. Cook covered in a 225 degree oven for 45 minutes per pound.*** (about 145-150 degrees internal temperature).

4. Remove from oven, keep cover on and let meat rest for 15-20 minutes

5. Remove and discard the roast’s net.  Slice the meat thin and enjoy! the drippings make an awesome gravy

***note: if you want “fall apart” meat, cook for 1 hour per pound.  The cooking time given above is best for slicing the roast.

17-pound Fresh, Bone-in, Uncured Ham

—or, the best pork roast you’ll ever eat. Submitted by Scott Denham

  • buy the biggest ham you can get from Grateful Growers, 15-20 pounds. (but smaller works, too)
  • use at least a half a bottle of cognac or calvados or something similar like grappa or slivovitz, from fruit, not grain (but you could also use port or a big red wine like Zinfandel or a burgundy)
  • some fruity things like dried cranberries, apricots, raisins (couple of handfuls total)
  • some juice: apple cider, pure cranberry, pomegranate (a pint maybe? Depends on the size of the pot.)
  • some balsamic vinegar (a cup or less)
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice or mace
  • clump of rubbed sage or a couple bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more
  • a huge bowl or pot for marinating
  • a huge roasting pan
  • two days (one for the marinade, one for roasting)

Slice a few gashes in the thick fat on the top, the side that will be up for carving, just but not quite through to the flesh. Make sure your roast fits in the pot or bowl and can be covered. Add everything else to the pot, adding juice or a little water at the end to cover the meat. Let this marinate for a day, down in the basement if that’s a cool spot, or on the screen porch in the winter (since it won’t fit in the fridge.) Go and poke at it every now and then, at least once giving it a thorough stabbing with a skewer or a sharp two-tined fork or something similar, to make some holes for the marinade to seep in.

Dinner at 7PM? Begin this part well before 11AM. Put this beast on a rack of some sort if you can, and then on the huge roasting pan. Start with a very hot oven (450 or so) for a half hour or so, then roast in a slow oven (300 max) for the rest of the day, 6-7 hours for 17 pounds. Baste with the marinade. You might need to take it out and pour off some of the fat after a couple hours. If it looks like it’s getting too brown, turn the heat down even more, to 260-280. Put a little crisp on the skin toward the end by turning the heat back up for the last half hour if you need to. Let it rest for half an hour before carving. (Feeds a couple dozen people easily.)

Have cooking tips or comments to share on this recipe? Post them below!

Chipotle-Roasted Pork with Homemade Tortillas

  • One 3-4 lbs. Pork Shoulder or fresh ham (for larger roasts, multiply the ingredients accordingly)
  • 3 chipotle peppers, chopped and 1 TBSP of the sauce from the can
  • 2 fresh lemons or limes
  • 2 fresh oranges
  • 1 clove (or 2 TSPS) of minced garlic
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper

Coat the roast with olive oil and set in a large bowl or pan. Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper.

Squeeze the juice and pulp of the citrus into a bowl. Add garlic, cumin and chipotle, mix well. Pour the citrus/pepper sauce over the roast, covering it well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. Halfway through this marinating time, turn the roast within the sauce. (Note: longer marinating time will intensify the flavor).

Remove the roast from the bowl and put it onto a shallow pan.  If baking, cover the meat.  Bake or grill for about 40-50 minutes per pound at 225 degrees, or until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 160. If you want the meat to “fall off the bone”, use a cooler temperature (200 degrees) and cook for about 60 minutes per pound, or use a crock pot. When done, remove from heat and let rest 15 minutes before carving. Serve with homemade tortillas (see recipe below), rice, black beans and a fresh salad of tomato, avacado, cucumber and cilantro. This pork in a fresh tortilla is absolutely AMAZING!

Homemade tortillas

  • 4-6 TBSP Lard (or vegetable shortening if you must)
  • 3 cups Unbleached flour
  • 2 TSPS baking powder
  • 1 TSPS salt
  • about 1 cup warm Water

Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add lard/shortening, use a pastry fork or 2 knives to cut in the shortening. Add warm water, a little at a time, until the dough is soft but not sticky. Knead the dough with your hands for a few minutes.

Break off small (1-2″ diameter) balls of dough and let them rest for about 10 minutes (longer is okay too). One at a time, dust each dough ball and roll it out thinly with a rolling pin. Lay the tortilla on the hot skillet; it takes only a few seconds to cook � nice golden-brown speckles will appear. Flip to the other side and finish cooking. Place tortilla on a towel to keep it warm until you have cooked enough to serve.


Great to make a silky-textured, flavorful ham!
Put all of these ingredients in a large saucepan or stock pot.  Note, if you don’t have some of the herbs/spices, don’t fret! The main ingredients are the salt, water and whatever sugar you choose.  If you are trying to cut back on sugar, you can even skip that too.

  • 7.5 pints water
  • 1 1/2 cups honey, molasses, maple syrup or sugar (your preference)
  • 4 tbsp. sea salt
  • 10 coriander seed
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 10 juniper berries (if you can find them, if not, don’t worry)
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Whatever other fresh or dried herbs you want to try (ideas: ginger root, dried hot peppers, sage, basil, rosemary, etc.)

Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally until salt and honey are dissolved. Cool the mixture. Put the meat to be brined into a large non-metallic container. Pour the cooled brine mixture over the meat, covering it. Cover the container and keep it in a cool place or refrigerator for 3-4 days (longer for huge hunks of meat). After 3 days, remove the meat, rinse it off and dry. Rub the meat with olive oil or lard and bake in a 225 degree oven . Cook the meat covered for the bulk of the cooking time,(about for 40 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature is between 148-150 degrees), then uncover for the last 30 minutes to crisp up the fat if you like.  Let the ham rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. For best results, slice thinly and serve with a gravy made from pan drippings.

Holiday Ham – dry rub

This technique produces a “city ham” texture and flavor without the added water, nitrates and preservatives of commercially produced ham. Great for holiday celebrations or amazing sandwiches alike!

Mix together the following (quantities will vary depending on the size of your ham):

  • Sea salt or kosher salt in equal parts with brown sugar to taste
  • black pepper
  • optional: other dried herbs or spices like paprika, rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.

Remove the fully thawed ham from its packaging, rinse & pat dry. Liberally coat the entire ham with the rub mixture. Slide the coated ham into a large plastic bag and refrigerate it for 3-4 days (larger the ham, longer the rest). When ready to cook it, remove the ham from the bag and cook it covered at 225 degrees for about 40 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees F. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving.