Being from the South, I can't remember an Easter Sunday without ham. My mom made the best ham; she'd bake it for hours and it would always be so delicious. Sometimes, she'd use pineapple and cherries to garnish the outside for very special occasions. That was when you knew you'd better be on your best behavior! My mother rarely used recipes and it is such a shame I didn't get this one from her before she passed away. Here's my version of my mom's Sunday ham.... with a little bourbon to put my own stamp on the original. Happy Easter and many blessings to you and yours!

Bourbon Baked Holiday Ham Martie Duncan



1 fully cooked bone-in ham about 10 pounds for a crowd

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup bourbon

2 tablespoons ground mustard

1/2 cup pineapple or apple juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon whole cloves (optional)

dash of cayenne or Tabasco sauce


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Whisk the brown sugar, bourbon, ground cloves, mustard, cayenne, and pineapple juice together and let it sit. Next, prepare the ham.

I usually cook my ham in tin foil on a baking sheet like my mom but you can use a baking pan and a rack if you prefer. Put the ham, fat side up, onto a large piece of tin foil, large enough to make a tent over it-- meaning you close it up but don't let the foil touch the ham when you close it for baking... like a tent.

You don't have to do this next step, but it makes for a nice presentation. Use a small knife to cut a diamond pattern into the top layer of the fat. Just cut on the diagonal one way, then cut another diagonal going the other way to make the diamond shapes. Put a whole clove into each diamond. Or you could decorate the outside with pineapple like my mom did.

Next, brush half of the brown sugar mixture over the ham. Close and bake for an hour.

Open and brush on the remaining brown sugar. Add a 1/2 cup water, pineapple juice, or bourbon to the bottom of the pan. (if you use bourbon, make sure you are not near an open flame when you add it because the fumes can ignite!!) Close it up and bake for another hour or until the temperature reaches 140 degrees. Let the ham stand for at least 15 minutes before carving or it will fall apart.