Alibi V.13 No.15 • April 8-14, 2004 

Eating In

All Hams on Deck for a Pig-Party Primer

If your family simply adores ham at holiday time but you hate to pay high prices for a spiral-sliced sow, why not opt for a cheaper version and do it yourself? Buy a nice, big bone-in half ham from your favorite butcher. Although the ham is already cooked, you'll need to heat it thoroughly before serving.

Before heating, use a serrated knife to score the ham's surface in a diagonal pattern. These shallow cuts will allow your glaze to penetrate into the meat. Arrange the ham in a roasting pan and heat according to the package's weight chart. Stir together honey and Dijon mustard, apricot preserves and orange juice or your own simple glaze and brush it all over the ham about 45 minutes before it's ready.

Remove the ham from the oven and allow it to rest for about half an hour before carving.

Position the ham on your cutting board with the big, flat end on your right and the thickest side of the ham on top. Use a fork or sturdy tongs to steady the meat and your longest, sharpest knife to cut horizontally along the bone to loosen the top half of the ham.

Slide the top half onto the cutting board and slice the ham vertically as thick as you like. Transfer the slices to a serving platter. Nestle extra pieces in an oven-proof dish, cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in a low oven.

Turn the remaining piece of ham carved-side down and slice vertically. It may take a little extra work to free the meat from the bone. Save that ham bone for soup!