We have finally discarded the last of the Christmas ham. Lori's mother froze it for us after Christmas, and through January, we've enjoyed it in sandwiches, soup, and quiche. But we didn't manage to finish all the ham before we got suspicious of its safety.
Our ham tradition has evolved progressively over the years, and I wouldn't have expected to end up where we did.
We started with ham for Christmas dinner because Lori's father has been making smoked turkey for many years. It's an involved process, involving three days of marinating and ingredients that usually require a special trip to the Strip—but the turkey is always phenomenal. So we started making ham in order to avoid direct comparison to the turkey.
Our first few years, we just baked a ham from Giant Eagle. Then we started experimenting with glazes. We tried a soy-cider glaze one year that came out very nicely, and then the next year we used an apricot-ginger glaze that came out even better.
In 2009, we experimented in another direction: Lori happened to go down to the Strip in late fall, and she signed up for the ham from Parma Sausage. We had the ingredients for the apricot-ginger glaze, but when we opened he package and smelled the ham, we both agreed that the glaze would only detract from it.
So this is the process we've followed for the past few years:
1. Buy the ham from Parma Sausage. (This requires preregistration.)
2. Remove the plastic wrap.
3. Heat until warmed through.
The ham is wonderful. It has a bold meaty savor that far outstrips any ham we have ever bought from Giant Eagle, without the fierce saltiness of country ham. (I tried to talk Lori into letting us serve a country ham, but she feared it would be too fierce for her family.) I don't know of any tweaks we could make to improve it. But I had somehow expected that our perfect ham would involve more involvement from us.
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