Alton Brown's City Ham

"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."
Alton Brown's City Ham created by jfcarey99
Ready In:
5hrs 30mins



  • Heat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Remove ham from bag, rinse and drain thoroughly.
  • Place ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan.
  • 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.
  • (If you are using a paring knife, be careful to only cut through the skin and first few layers of fat).
  • Rotate the ham after each cut so that the scores are no more than 2-inches across.
  • Once you have made it all the way around, move the knife to the other hand and repeat, spiraling counter clockwise.
  • The aim is to create a diamond pattern all over the ham.
  • (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.
  • Remove and use tongs to pull away the diamonds of skin and any sheets of fat that come off with them.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • 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).
  • Sprinkle on brown sugar, packing loosely as you go until the ham is coated.
  • 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.
  • Insert the thermometer (don't use the old hole) and return to the oven (uncovered).
  • Cook until interior temperature reaches 140 degrees F, approximately 1 hour.
  • Let the roast rest for 1/2 hour before carving.
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  1. Melanie.carlson
    I have a 9.5 lb. Spiral sliced ham, hickory smoked. Can it be used for this recipe?
  2. Hollis J.
    I'm forced to make this twice a year for 5 years now. I keep everything the same except I use honey mustard. I borrow from the Country Ham recipe and cook the ham in a pool of Dr. Pepper that I constantly pour over the ham every 30 minutes for the first 3-4 hours @ 250, then discard it when I add the glaze.
  3. Kevin H.
    Been making this recipe for years. Family loves it and won't let me make anything else. I do a whole 20 lb city ham and it always comes out delicious!
  4. Ali P.
    Alton Brown's City Ham Created by Ali P.
  5. Kelly M.
    I am not a ham fan. Pretty much any other part of a pig I love but just haven't been into ham. Until my son, who is an Alton Brown fan, made this. Now it is the only way we cook ham. I will even get the ingredients and bring them to my son to cook for me! I don't know how many times I've shared this recipe - it is the best!

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