From Chapters 29 & 31 of the House of Roses
Baked Ham (Below)
Pasta Salad (Page 2)
Deviled Eggs(Page 3)
Iced Tea (Page 4)
Strawberry Short Cake (Page 4)
LONG & SLOW HAM
In the south Sunday Supper is mandatory. No matter what's going on in everybody's little world, it's the time when the whole family settles down to eat and talk. Generally the timing is after church and the event can last hours depending upon the number of people and amount of food involved. As a kid growing up, ham was most often the star of this meal. Mama cooked it long and slow, putting it in the oven to bake while we were all at church. And the slow part is the secret. Hams are already cooked so most folks just put them in the oven long enough to warm them up, which is fine, if plain old ordinary ham is your goal. But if sweet, juicy and maximum flavor is what you're looking for, then do it Mama's way. And this is really easy. I know, because Josie's already taken over this meal. You'd get a kick out of seeing her proud face when she serves this up on Sundays!
Heat your oven up to 250 degrees. That's right 250 - not 350. This is what makes the slow part. Double wrap your ham in heavy duty foil. Make sure it's tight. I don't put anything on the outside of the ham. No honey, no pineapples, no mustard, no nothing. In my mind this just dilutes the ham flavor which is, after all, the whole point. Put your ham wide side (cut side) down in a baking dish and put it in the oven for at least 3 hours. That's the long part. You can keep it in there for another hour or so depending upon how your schedule is running. The tight foil will keep the meat from drying out. Pull the ham out of the oven, remove the foil wrapping and slice it up. You are going to be shocked at how moist this is.
Now which cut of ham should you use? That all depends on what your after use is going to be. If you're like me and love your southern sides, you'll use the shank portion with the bone in it. After carving for Sunday Supper make sure to leave the bone with fairly good size chunks of meat attached and don't forget to save all of the scraps. Put it all in a baggy and freeze for when you get the hankering for a big pot of black eyed peas or collard greens. If left over ham for sandwiches is all your after, use the butt portion. This makes not only for easy slicing, but your ham pieces will be a little more regularly cut and eye appealing.