Russian Style Baked Fresh Ham (Buzhenina)

READY IN: 3hrs 30mins
Recipe by Witch Doctor

To me, a fresh baked ham is the most delicious cut of the hog available. The Russians serve it with any festive occasion such as Easter with a Kasha and Mushroom Casserole, a Sauerkraut Salad Provencal and Honey-Marinated Pears. Most Russians do not eat a gravy as such, but if you wish, degrease the pan juices, thicken with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour, and add a bit of beef stock.

Top Review by DM Davino

What a nice change from oversalted and nitrite-laced hams. DO NOT EXPECT it to taste like those hams. Don't even call it a "ham". It's more like a delicious huge pork loin. Here were my few adjustments to the original recipe: I brined the meat for 24 hours in an apple juice-based brine with a few bay leaves, garlic cloves and peppercorns. Gave the meat all the moistness in the world and a very nice, subtle flavor. I tented the meat as it cooked after about 15 minutes or all that beautiful glaze turns to charcoal. I am surprised it did not say that in the original recipe. I ended up using three bottles of beer and three cups of cider - each two cup combo added each hour as it evaporated or I would have had nothing left as a base for a pan gravy (that was fabulous!). As for the cooking time, boy, that needed adjusting. I took mine out of the oven after three hours and it was almost overdone. The thermometer read only 140. I was torn between serving the pork as it looked very done, and trusting the thermometer. I opted for my eye. The meat was delicious, very done, and actually almost overdone. had I not brined it, it would have been as dry as shoe leather, but the brining - as it always does - saved the day. I would say expect a 10 lb. fresh ham to be cooked in about 2 1/2 hours or so. Do check for doneness at the bone. The juices running clear are the best indicator. I did make a pan gravy with some of the basting liquid and a little cream. Yum. I would make this dish again, and the delicious pineapple casserole and kasha side dishes that the author suggests, but not the saurkraut salad provencal - it was horrible. Even I could not save it!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the ham in a diamond oattern.
  3. Mix together the mustard, brown sugar, and salt and spread all over the ham.
  4. Place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan, add the remaining ingredients, and roast, basting with the juices, until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees F or the juices run clear when you insert a skewer into the thickest part of the roast, about 3 hours.
  5. Let the roast stand, covered with foil. for 15 minutes.
  6. Carve into thin slices and serve with gravy, if desired.

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