Fresh Holiday Ham Recipe

Fresh Holiday Ham

[[Note: This recipe includes using sodium nitrate (pink salt) which is essential in curing meat but can be harmful in large quantities. After much research, I discovered although it has a bad reputation it is safe if used as instructed.]]

This recipe is VERY important to me! Every year for the holidays, I cure a ham for my sous chef and kitchen crew to thank them for all the hard work they've done and continue to do. This year is the 5th year running and it gets better every year! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do! 

Merry Christmas from my kitchen to yours! 






1 large injecting syringe

5 gallon bucket (room in fridge for 5 gallon bucket)

Probe thermometer

Pastry brush or new not used paint brush


1 bone in fresh ham leg (skin off)

240 OZ water

3 T Pickling spice

3 Cups salt

3 Cups Brown Sugar

8 T pink salt #1 (amazon) sells it 

4 cloves garlic

.5 Cup soy sauce



.5 Cup honey

.5 cup brown sugar packed

1/3 cup bourbon plus one shot for you!

½ of a pineapple puree

3 cloves garlic

1.5 cups water



1. In a large stock pot add all the ingredients except the leg and bring to a boil. Once it’s reached a boil turn it off and cool immediately you will not be able to start curing until that liquid is 41 degrees.

2. Once the cure is cooled unwrap the leg and give it a good rinse. For every 5 pounds of meat you will reserve 1 cup of the liquid to inject into the meat, in my case its usually 3 cups.

3. INJECTING ok so the point of injecting is to make sure the bone dose not rot while it’s in the liquid cure. The liquid cure will not penetrate to the bone before the bone go’s bad so as a safe guard we inject the ham all along the bone. So take your liquid and start drawing up full syringes of cure and injection all over close to the bone. (Be careful I have bent 2 needles trying to rush through this process. I also like to inject really thick parts by putting the needle in and slowly drawing out while injecting.

4. Once you have used up you measured amount of cure the rest will go in that 5 gallon bucket along with the ham make sure it’s completely submerged if not I take a gallon ziplock filled with water to weight it down.

5. Refrigerate for 10 days, on the tenth day you will need to soak the ham which draws out some salt and blood. Rinse the ham and discard the excess liquid out of the bucket and fill the bucket back up with fresh water. Put the ham back in the bucket and soak for 2 hours do this 2 times for a total of 4 hours changing the water in between.

6. Once your ham has soaked you will be ready to cook. Pull the ham out of the water pat it dry with a paper towel and let it come to room temperature. Heat your grill/Smoker or oven to 250 degrees.

7. Once your ham has got the chill off of it and the oven is warm put that bad boy in the oven and cook until you reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees in the thickest part stay away from the bone. When you reach 130 degrees start brushing on the glaze every 20 minutes until it’s reached our target temp of 145.


The Glaze:

1.  Puree the pineapple in a blender and add the rest of the ingredients blend until smooth

2.  Simmer the puree in a small sauce pan for 2 minutes reserve the glaze for the last 10 degrees of the cooking process.

Please comment any questions you have or email them to me at:! 



© Nello's Ahwatukee. All rights reserved.

(480) 893 8930 | 4710 East Warner Road, Phoenix, AZ 85044