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Christmas Ham Recipe

Honey-Bourbon-Glazed Holiday Ham, Because Bourbon

I'll be honest with you: I've never been responsible for making the holiday ham. Typically, one of the men in my family (usually my grandfather) is smoking or roasting a ham. I'm not even sure what the process is; because it's never cooked in the oven, I've never even seen the ham prior to its dazzling presentation on the table. However, this year, in an effort to improve my large meat roasting skills, I volunteered to try out a holiday ham recipe. Since I'm from the South, I had to turn to a trusty source, Southern Living, for the recipe.

The key ingredient in this recipe is bourbon. Your kitchen will smell like molasses and bourbon as the ham slow roasts in your oven for several hours. Be sure to roast it the full recommended length so the sauce reduces into a sticky glaze that caramelizes the edges of the ham.

After a few bites from my most honest taste testers, my parents said, "Hmm . . . maybe you need to be responsible for the ham this year . . ." The bourbon's the trick, y'all. It adds an oaky, smoky flavor that complements the salty pork. The honey, molasses, and brown sugar just about turn this into a caramel-covered ham! My parents especially adored the bourbon glaze and even ladled hefty spoonfuls of it onto their rice and collard greens.

Honey-Bourbon Glazed Ham

Adapted from Southern Living Home Cooking Basics: A Complete Illustrated Guide to Southern Cooking by the editors of Southern Living


In the original recipe, the ham is studded with whole cloves; however, speed up the recipe by adding the whole cloves into the bourbon sauce. The clove flavor will still infuse in the ham, plus upon service, your guests won't have to pick out the buds as they eat the ham.

Christmas Ham Recipe


  1. 1 fully cooked, bone-in ham (7-9 pounds)
    1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
    1/2 cup honey
    1/2 cup bourbon
    1/3 cup Dijon mustard
    1/3 cup molasses
    1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    Several shakes of Tabasco sauce
    40 whole cloves


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove skin from ham and trim fat to 1/4-inch thickness. If ham is not precut, make shallow cuts in fat 1 inch apart in a diamond pattern. Place ham in a 13- x 9-inch pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together all other ingredients. Spoon entire mixture over ham. Bake at 325°F on lowest oven rack for 2 hours and 30 minutes, or until ham has an internal temperature of 145°F. Baste with pan juices every 30 minutes as ham cooks. Remove ham from oven and rest it for 15-30 minutes before carving. Strain sauce and serve it in a gravy dish alongside the ham (optional).
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
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