Thursday, July 8, 2010

George Washington Glazed Baked Ham

According to historians at Mount Vernon, Martha Washington carefully supervised the preparation of the hams and bacon that were eaten by their many guests. Of all the food produced at Mount Vernon it is said that Martha was “especially proud of her hams.”

After slaughtering and butchering the hogs in December and January, slaves smoked the meat over a fire pit in the smokehouse to preserve it for eating during the coming year. After smoking, the meat was aged and stored in the smokehouse.

Occasionally a thief would break into the smokehouse at night and steal a ham. However, the most notable “ham theft” supposedly occurred in broad daylight, right off the Washingtons' dining room table. The thief was a hound named Vulcan, who “made a running pass at the table and dashed out the door with the savory prize clenched between his teeth.”

A chase ensued, and the ham was recovered but nobody wanted to eat it after that! Although Martha was said to be furious, George reportedly thought the incident was very funny and “delighted in recounting it to guests.”

When preparing this recipe for Glazed Baked Ham, it's best to make the marinade the night before or early in the morning and let the ham marinate for several hours in the refrigerator.

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 fully cooked ham, about 6 pounds

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, honey, wine, and pineapple juice. Place the ham in the marinade, turn to coat well, and let marinate for 6 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan, reserving marinade for basting. Bake the ham, basting frequently with the reserved marinade, until a meat thermometer (not touching the bone) reads about 140°, or about 10 minutes per pound.

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