If you don't have room in your refrigerator, you can brine the ham in a large insulated cooler or a small plastic garbage can; add five or six freezer packs to the brine to keep it well cooled.


  • For the Roast:
  • 1 fresh half ham, bone-in with skin, 6 to 8 pounds, preferably shank end, rinsed
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar or light brown
  • 5 whole cloves
  • For the Brine:
  • 4 cups kosher salt or 2 cups table salt
  • 3 cups packed dark brown sugar or light brown
  • 2 heads garlic cloves, separated, lightly crushed and peeled
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup whole black peppercorns, crushed
  • For the Garlic and Herb Rub:
  • 1 cup fresh sage from 1 large bunch, packed lightly
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley from 1 bunch
  • 8 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


Carefully slice through the skin and fat with a serrated knife, making a 1-inch diamond pattern. Be careful not to cut into the meat.

Bring the cider, brown sugar and cloves to a boil in a small nonreactive saucepan over high heat; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about 1 1/3 cups, 5 to 7 minutes. (Glaze will thicken as it cools between bastings; cook over medium heat about 1 minute, stirring once or twice, before using.)

In a large (about 16-quart) bucket or stockpot, dissolve the salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon hot tap water. Add the garlic, bay leaves, black pepper and 1 gallon cold water. Submerge the ham in the brine and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours.

Set a large disposable roasting pan on a baking sheet for extra support; place a flat wire rack in the roasting pan. Remove the ham from the brine; rinse under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place the ham, wide cut ide down, on the rack. (If using the sirloin end, place ham skin side up.) Let the ham stand, uncovered, at room temperature 1 hour.

Meanwhile, adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 500 degrees F. In the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the sage, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and oil until the mixture forms a smooth paste, about 30 seconds. Rub all sides of the ham with the paste.

Roast the ham for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to roast, brushing the ham with glaze every 45 minutes, until the center of the ham registers 145 to 150 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 1/2 hours longer. Tent the ham loosely with foil and let stand until the center of the ham registers 155 to 160 degrees F on the thermometer, 30 to 40 minutes. Carve and serve.

Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.

RecID 8511

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