Of Easter Ham and Heaven Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 0 Comments
There's less than a month and counting until Easter. Around here, that means people are counting down the minutes until they can once again indulge in whatever they gave up for Lent.
The general idea around participating in Lent is that giving up something—chocolate, cigarettes (heaven forbid), trashy television, whatever—will bring the participant closer to the Good Lord and heaven itself. Now, as any good Southern Christian knows, the “giving up” of something for Lent is REALLY about prayer; you are supposed to pray every time you have a craving in order to prepare your heart for Easter.
Well folks… I have a confession. There is one, and only one, thing that brings me closer to heaven on Easter Sunday. Ham. Heavenly, slow roasted, pepper crusted, citrus smoked ham.
I know that this sounds shallow—maybe even a little sacrilegious—but before you write me off as some carnivorous, food-worshiping heathen, please allow me to explain.
At our house, Thanksgiving dinner was chump-change compared to Easter lunch. For as far back as I can remember, my Granddaddy would spend days preparing our family’s Easter Ham. First, he would pick out the most plump, perfectly cut ham he could find. Then he would stop by the local produce stand to pick out the season’s freshest citrus fruits and some slow cooked molasses.
The night before Easter, he would pull an old, beat-up red smoker out of storage from his wood shed. From that moment on, it was nearly impossible to concentrate on anything. My cousins and I could barely pay attention in Sunday school. We couldn’t concentrate on our felt-board Jesus lesson. We couldn’t even focus enough to color our Easter Angels sitting on the empty tomb because we were SO READY to get home and tear into that succulent hunk of divinely prepared pork. And when we finally got back to Grammie and Granddaddy’s house? We ran full speed past our Easter baskets full of Reese’s eggs and went straight for the biggest hunk-o-ham we could get our little hands on.
Try out this simple recipe from Mr. Tommy Winchester himself. I swear…er…promise that it will make your most holy of mornings a spiritual experience indeed.
Lots of fresh-cracked black pepper
Beer (some to drink, some to cook with)
Orange juice (1 liter)
A ham. A really, really big ham
2 bags of charcoal
Rub ham down with molasses. Generously apply black pepper to molasses, pressing in. Place in fridge to rest.
Pull ham out of fridge to get it to room temperature. Prepare your smoker bowl. Add in the orange juice and whatever beer you didn’t drink. Cut the 2 grapefruits and 4 oranges into sections. Squeeze the juice into the bowl and then place the squeezed sections into the bowl.
This ham is going to smoke all. day. long. “Low and slow” is the way to go. To begin, place ham face down (cut side down) on the smoker grill. You’ll be cooking using 2 bags of coals. Start with half a bag, add the other half a little after lunch, then add a whole bag right before you go to bed Saturday.
Wake up and remove ham from smoker. Stick it in the fridge or wrap it up in foil and leave it in the oven (no heat) to cool off. It will be warm and ready to be devoured at lunch!
Kelsey Winchester is a painter and writer hailing from the Ozark Mountain hotspot of Fayetteville, Arkansas. When she isn’t covered in paint, she’s enjoying the trails, tailgating, and live music of her little college town. Find her paintings and read the stories that inspired them at kelseywinchester.com.
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