Fresh Ham with Cracklin’ Skin and Warm Maple Vinaigrette

Vivian suggests you buy the ham skin-on and bone-in because it will be more moist. And when you reheat it, keep your temperature around 325 degrees to avoid drying out the meat. 

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 fresh bone-in ham, skin attached, about 15 pounds
3 tablespoons ground black pepper

Make the vinaigrette: In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the red onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are soft and translucent. Throw in the ginger, nutmeg, and vinegar. Bring it up to a boil and add the syrup and honey. Reduce by half. Serve immediately or store it in the fridge for up to a week and heat before serving. 

Prepare the ham: An hour before you’re ready to roast your ham, bring it out of the fridge so it can come to room temperature. Position the rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat it to 300 degrees. Using a box cutter or a very sharp knife, cut slits in the ham’s skin from left to right from the wide end of the ham to the knuckle end. The slits should be about an inch apart and roughly 1/2 inch deep into its fat. Rub the ham with the remaining 1/4 cup salt and 3 tablespoons black pepper, taking care to get down into the slits. 

Roast the ham: Place the ham, skin side up, on a roasting pan and slide that into your oven. Roast uncovered for roughly 5 hours, or until an instant read thermometer or the probe on your oven reads 165 degrees. Bring the ham out of the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. The skin should be crispy and irresistible. 

Serve slices of ham and skin drizzled with maple vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Yield: 12-15 servings