How to Prepare a Fresh Ham

Fresh, uncured, hams are hard to come by these days, unless you raise your own livestock, or know someone who does. But a fresh ham is a treat, easy to prepare, and can feed a large family. A fresh ham (aka pork leg) is to be treated like a very large pork roast, not like a cured ham. Think of a pork shoulder without all the inter-muscular fat: it’s leaner than shoulder, though, with a lot more meat.

Here are two good recipes for a fresh 10-15 lb. ham:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. All recipes require baking for 18 minutes per pound of ham or until internal temperature reaches 160-170 degrees.

Recipe #1: Rub the entire ham with soy sauce and then a seasoning mixture of: 1 cup sea salt, 1/4 cup of fresh cracked pepper, 1/4 cup of garlic powder.  Bake covered then for the last over uncover.

Recipe #2: Prepare ham 24 hours ahead, by scoring the skin in a diamond pattern and rubbing with a paste made of: zest from one lemon, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, 6 medium garlic cloves (minced), 1/4 cup of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Place the ham in a large pan or bag in the refrigerator for 24 hours. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven, place the ham in a roasting pan, and cover with a lid or foil for 3 hours. Uncover the ham and drizzle with 1/4 c of white vinegar. Using the juices in the bottom of the pan, baste every 15 minutes or until the ham is done.

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