How I Baked A Cheap Ass Ham

Before Christmas, we acquired giant, cheap ass ham.

It lived in our fridge for a month, where it was neglected, with the exception of a few, curious pokes and tentative pats. Was it local and organic? Had our pink monstrosity spent its first life roaming free and dining on acorns?

Who knows?

In the spirit of most ham tasting delicious, I cooked my cheap ass ham.

The Chowhound thread The best way to bake a cheap ass ham? directed me to Monte’s Ham Recipe from Saveur. Saveur’s recipe calls for a 15 pound ham. I have no idea how heavy my ham was, but followed the glaze recipe, word for word, and was left with about two extra cups. You could always cut the recipe in half.

Because my ham was most likely smaller than 15 pounds, I reduced the cooking times in the most unscientific way. As long as you bake your ham at each cooking temperature until heated through, it will be most likely taste fine.

We felt ambiguous about our ham and wondered if the glaze would taste too sweet. Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised when it became tender and juicy. The sweet glaze perfectly offset the meat’s saltiness.

Monte’s Ham Recipe
15 pound smoked ham, on the bone
1 1/2 cups orange marmalade (could sub apricot, or, really, any other type of jam/jelly/preserves)
1 cup Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
A handful of whole cloves
Optional: Cayenne pepper


1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.

2. In a bowl, mix the orange marmalade, mustard and brown sugar until smooth and set aside.

3. Trim your ham of excess skin and fat, if necessary. Place in a large pan, cut side down.

Nude ham.  Look away!

4. Mark criss-crosses in the surface of the ham.

5. Bake the ham naked and unglazed for two hours or less, depending on its size.

6. Remove the ham from the oven and increase the temperature to 350 degrees F. Insert whole cloves into as many of the criss-crosses as you please.

7. Glaze the ham and bake for another 1 1/2 hours, glazing occasionally.

8. When the ham is heated through and lacquered with sugary glaze, allow it to rest before carving.

I served my ham alongside a trail of roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower.

Hot ham water, anyone?


  1. Amy

    Ha! This post cracked me up! Congrats on successfully mastering “The Cheap Ass Ham.” I hope you have some bucket list stashed somewhere to check that off of!

  2. Jen

    thanks amy! looking forward to the 20food gathering:)

  3. Thrifty Mom In Boise

    Okay, that’s just funny! Sounds delicious too!

  4. Lisa

    So was it good? I bought an 11-pound cheap ass Farmer’s John ham at Safeway and am trying this today. Was the hot ham water (yumzers) in the bottom of the pan?

    • Jeni

      It was SO delicious! Honestly, I’ve never had not delicious ham, though. And yes, there was a little hot ham water mixed with glaze:)

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