If you are like me, when hosting a dinner party — especially one during the holidays — you worry most about the meat.
My margin of error is much higher when it comes to proteins: I want to make sure that it is perfectly-cooked, perfectly-seasoned, and a choice that appeals to the entire crowd, as I usually serve just one.
What does that equate to? Stress.
Problem-solved, my friends. When designing my holiday menu this year, I kept this in mind: I wanted to create an easy, one-pan dish that is sure to please any southern crowd. The result? My Ale-8-One Baked Country Ham.
Yes, you read that correctly. As a Kentuckian, so many of my life traditions + special memories are rooted in sharing an Ale-8-One. It’s the nectar of the Commonwealth. From the golf course, to Lake Cumberland, to riding around on the farm — Ale-8 has been, is, and will continue to be a signature part of my life.
On top of that, it is now a part of my holiday. After one slice, I called my best friend and said: I found a winner.
Most baked ham recipes do not call for country ham — but, I think the salty nature of country ham is the perfect base. Country ham, for those that are not familiar (bless your heart!), is heavily-salted, cured, and preserved via a method that was used prior to widespread refrigeration. It is a pinnacle of the cuisine south of the Mason-Dixon and has been, to understate, a large part of my life.
The salt in the country ham balances perfectly with sweeter notes, which inclined me to use brown sugar. From there, I rooted the recipe in the pairing of the ginger profile from Ale-8-One and pineapple. The end result? Heaven.
Ale-8-One Baked Country Ham
15 – 18 lb. Country Ham (and, of course, a Kentucky Proud Country Ham tastes the best!)
36 oz. Ale-8-One (3 full-size bottles, 5 mini-size bottles)
1.5 c. brown sugar
40 oz. crushed pineapple (with juice)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Place a large roasting pan (I use the throwaway version that is easy to find during the holiday season) on a baking sheet — this will make transporting the ham in and out of the oven much easier.
- Remove the ham from the packaging and place in the roasting pan. Using your hands, coat both sides with brown sugar.
- After an even coat of brown sugar is applied, pour Ale-8-One into the base of the roasting pan.
- Add crushed pineapple, using all of the juice, to the Ale-8-One in the base of the pan.
- Cover with foil and bake until the internal temperature reaches 145F (be sure to have a meat thermometer). I usually remove the foil with 5-10 minutes of baking left to brown the top of the ham. The total bake time is roughly 4-4.5 hours; however, monitor the internal temperature carefully.
- Liberally spoon the Ale-8-One + Pineapple mixture in the bottom of the pan over the ham.
- Let the ham rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
- Ask your butcher to remove the skin from the country ham — this will save you a lot of time and effort!
- I prefer to purchase bone-in ham — it holds its shape better; plus, the bone will make a fantastic addition to a pot of beans!
- When you pull or slice the country ham, scoop out the pineapple from the base of the roasting pan and add it to your serving plate on top of the meat. It is full of flavor, most of which is provided from the Ale-8-One.
Holidays are about tradition — and I do hope that you and your family will start a new one with my Ale-8-One Baked Country Ham!
From my home to your home, I wish you & your family the happiest, most delicious holiday season. I am thankful for each one of you.
As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
FTC: This post was kindly sponsored by Ale-8-One; however, as always, all opinions are my own.