It is a tradition in our family to always (always!) have ham on our Christmas celebration. Ham is the heart of our Christmas table. Luckily, my brother’s company provides ham every year, so we won’t have to buy it. The one we usually received is Smithfield’s Hickory Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham. The ham tastes good as it is, especially with its own glaze. However, my dad finds the taste salty and lacking some sweetness and in-depth flavor. So, every time we have ham, he made some tweaks in it, and it always turns out definitely more delicious. I stalked him when he was making this, and took pictures along the way, so as to remember how he usually elevates the flavor. He’s extremely secretive when it comes to his food, but I didn’t let him get away this time!
- thawed spiral sliced smoked ham (including the glaze that comes with it)
- about 4 cups of pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2-3 bay leaves
- about 1 tsp cloves (ground or whole)
- 2 star anise
- ground black pepper, to taste
Surprisingly, the ingredients aren’t that much. The ham already has lots of flavor in it, so you just basically want to elevate or infused it with additional flavors you preferred. We love pineapple, and what could be a better combination than ham and pineapple?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
In a large pan using medium heat, simmer pineapple juice, brown sugar, cloves, bay leaves and black pepper.
Place the thawed ham into the pan. The goal here is to basically give the ham a flavored pineapple juice bath before baking in the oven.
Pour a spoonful of the juice into each slice of the ham. It is to make sure that every slice is basted with that pineapple flavor.
It does take time, but trust me, it’s worth every effort.
Once done, transfer the ham onto an aluminum-covered sheet pan. Place about 1/2 cup of that flavored pineapple juice mixture into the pan.
Brush all sides of the ham with the glaze that comes in with the ham. We didn’t end up using all the glaze as we didn’t want to add any more sweetness to it than it already had.
Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour or so, or until the meat thermometer reads at 130 degrees F.
Pineapple juice truly does make wonders in elevating the flavors of the ham. Not only is this much moister and flavorful, but it also smells wonderful with the anise, cloves and bay leaf. You can decorate this with pineapple slices on the serving plate, or serve it as it is. Truly, this is one of the many, many reasons why I look forward to Christmas every single year!