Alton Brown's City Ham

READY IN: 5hrs 30mins
Recipe by SharleneW

From Food TV's "Good Eats". Cook's note: A city ham is basically any brined ham that is packed in a plastic bag, held in a refrigerated case and marked "ready to cook", "partially cooked" or "ready to serve". Better city hams are also labeled "ham in natural juices". Posted in response to a request.

Top Review by Rocco Gibralter

This was my first attempt at cooking a ham. I love ham, but my partner does not care for it. It is an exercise in futility to bake a ham for one. But this past Easter, I volunteered to bring a "real ham" instead of the honey baked thingy that we usually have and noone really enjoys. It was a smashing success. Not one bit of leftovers. I remembered seeing this episode on Food Network. The name of the episode was called "Ham I Am". He is quite clever with the puns. He did the first half of show on Country ham, not my fave...too dry and too salty. Second half was "city ham" which is basically baked ham as most of us know it. I was so happy to find this recipe. But for anyone who has not made this, you can see the actual video on youtube from the following link The city ham recipe starts at the 3:00 marker. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a cooking video is worth a million. Make it and wait for the copious praises you will receive.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Remove ham from bag, rinse and drain thoroughly.
  3. Place ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan.
  4. Using a small paring knife or clean utility knife set to the smallest blade setting, score the ham from bottom to top, spiraling clockwise as you cut.
  5. (If you are using a paring knife, be careful to only cut through the skin and first few layers of fat).
  6. Rotate the ham after each cut so that the scores are no more than 2-inches across.
  7. Once you have made it all the way around, move the knife to the other hand and repeat, spiraling counter clockwise.
  8. The aim is to create a diamond pattern all over the ham.
  9. (Don't worry too much about precision here.) Tent the ham with heave duty foil, insert a thermometer, and cook for 3 to 4 hours or until the internal temperature at the deepest part of the meat registers 130 degrees F.
  10. Remove and use tongs to pull away the diamonds of skin and any sheets of fat that come off with them.
  11. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  12. Dab dry with paper towels, then brush on a liberal coat of mustard, using either a basting brush or a clean point brush (clean--as in never-touched paint).
  13. Sprinkle on brown sugar, packing loosely as you go until the ham is coated.
  14. Spritz this layer lightly with bourbon, then loosely pack on as much of the crushed cookies as you can. NOTE: A small empty spray bottle from the drug store is perfect.
  15. Insert the thermometer (don't use the old hole) and return to the oven (uncovered).
  16. Cook until interior temperature reaches 140 degrees F, approximately 1 hour.
  17. Let the roast rest for 1/2 hour before carving.

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