How to cook a country ham in a cooler experiment

Discussion in 'Food Preparation, Camp Cooking and Recipes' started by pentail, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. pentail

    pentail Bacon Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2002
    Savoring the smoke
    How to cook a country ham in a cooler experiment.

    So one of my favorite country ham preparation methods is known as the Lard Can method because hams were traditionally placed in a metal lard can and covered with water. Once the water came to a boil, the can would be removed from the heat and covered with blankets, towels, sleeping bags, whatever could be found to insulate, and left for 12-24 hours. This year, Michaela and I thought we could try to replicate the results with a modern twist.
    We placed the soaked ham in a super-insulated, rotomolded cooler, covered it in boiling water, and left it alone for 12 hours. We were shooting for a finished temp of 150-155, and we hit it perfectly with 154.6 or so in the thickest part of the ham.
    At this point, the ham is cooked, but it isn't the most appealing in color and texture.
    To fix that, we mixed a glaze of Uncle Josh's Sorghum, bourbon, and orange juice, cooked it to reduce and thicken, then poured it over the skinned ham. We then placed the ham in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour to set the glaze and crisp the fat. Once the ham has soaked overnight, you can remove the skin. Since I like to cook the skin in small bits for chewy snacks, I diamond scored the skin, then used a fork to peal each piece away from the ham and down into the cooking pan. If you don't plan on eating the skin, simply peel it away in large pieces before baking the ham.

    1 Use a damp cloth to wipe away the mold from the ham's surface (Mold is common on country hams. In fact, expected. I wouldn't trust a ham without a bit of mold)
    2 Soak the ham in clean water in the cooler. We did 3 water changes over 36 hours, adding a bit of ice after each water change.
    3 Dry then warm the cooler by placing a pot of boiling water on a cutting board inside the cooler and closing the lid for 30 minutes or so.
    4 Place the soaked ham in the warm cooler and cover with boiling water (We used 4 large stock pots of boiling water, have plenty going so you can pour it in quickly)
    5 Close the cooler and leave it alone for 12 hours. Don't open the lid.
    6. Check temp, shoot for 150-155 degrees unless you know your ham has been cured for over 9 months. If it has, slightly lower temps are fine.
    7 Score and remove the skin
    8 Mix 1 cup of good Sorghum with 1/2 cup bourbon and the juice of 1 large orange (or 3 Cuties if that is what you have)
    9 Bring the glaze to boil until it has reduced by about a third and thickened. Pour or brush over the ham.
    10 Bake the ham at 350 for 1 hour. Cover with foil and let cool for 30 minutes
    11 Slice thinly just before serving.

    Photos in order for full process
    cch1.jpg cch2.jpg cch4.jpg cch5.jpg cch6.jpg cch7.jpg cch8.jpg
    barney and drakeshooter like this.
  2. pentail

    pentail Bacon Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2002
    Savoring the smoke
  3. keith meador

    keith meador Got the Spotted Fever

    I've consumed enough food today to put me just short of a food coma. I'd hit that right now!
    barney, Feedman, redjackson and 2 others like this.
  4. kyoutdoorsman

    kyoutdoorsman 12 pointer

    Jan 19, 2016
  5. hossamassey

    hossamassey 6 pointer

    Jan 18, 2006
    I thought my ham was good....that looks amazing.
  6. bgkyarcher

    bgkyarcher 12 pointer

    Aug 23, 2011
    That looks great. I always cook my ham in coca cola, unless I plan to make red eye...
  7. rcb216

    rcb216 12 pointer

    Sep 25, 2005
    Robertson Co.
    I’m drooling
  8. JDMiller

    JDMiller 12 pointer

    Jun 12, 2005
    " Between the Rivers "
    The lard stand method is how I’ve eaten a country ham at Christmas for the last 31 years. As it’s the only way my FIL will fix a ham.

    Which he puts the ham in a lard stand (big stock pot will work) and bring it up to a hard boil and usually boils the ham for 30 minutes or more afterward pending size of the ham. Then turns off the heat and places the pot with lid into a box then crams old blankets around it & on top to act as an insulator. Which he let’s set over night and basically the ham will continue to slow cook in the hot water and blankets acting as insulation.

    Next morning.... he will pull the ham out of the water & grease ... clean the ham up and slice.

    it’s absolutely the best country ham you ever eaten cooked this way.
    bondhu likes this.
  9. AllDodge

    AllDodge Spike

    May 20, 2019
    South Central, KY
    I like it, nice write up
  10. High Rack

    High Rack 12 pointer

    Dec 21, 2009
    in the hills
    Fogettttabouuuutit.........That's pure money right there.
  11. Chessie202

    Chessie202 6 pointer

    Nov 15, 2004
    Harrison Co.
    I've used the cooler method a few times. I soak mine for 2 days in 50/50 coke and water changing once, then boil in fresh coke and water for about 30 minutes then pour it into a cooler. I then tape the cooler lid shut all the way around and wrap in a big sleeping bag. 12 hours later I skin and glaze with crushed pineapple and brown sugar. I think I will try Ale-8 instead of coke next time.
    pentail and bondhu like this.

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