Pig on Coke

Christmas Day is my day for cooking, what I consider, I large meal for my family of about ten. It usually involves pork of some sort.

I watch far too much food-related TV and came across America's Test Kitchen show on fresh, brined ham. Perfect!

The receipe has an "alternative" brine option that calls for cola instead of water which I chose. With the glaze du jour: Spicy Pinapple-Ginger

First, the quest for the perfect fresh ham. Our regular source for all things meat is Dittmer's (in Mt. View) which for some reason was closed on Dec 23. We headed down to Dreyger's in Los Altos where we grabbed the last bone-in shank - a whooping 16 lbs.! I am a baker, not a cook so when I receipe calls for a 6-8 lb. fresh, shank ham, that's what I'm going to get. Tom assures me that this mammoth pig will do fine. Hmph.

6 liters of cola (not diet)
3 cups of Kosher salt
2 heads of garlic, pealed and slightly smashed
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup of cracked peppercorns

You can brine for as little as a few hours or as long as 24; I went for 24 just because I had other stuff to cook the day of. I used a medium-sized cooler, lined it with a plastic garbage bag and poured in the brine and pork. I threw this in my extra refridgerator (or just use ice packs at the bottom of the cooler and store somewhere cool) for the night. Scoring the ham was quite a challenge for me; this receipe calls for this to be done before you brine.

First step is to take the ham out of the brine, rinse and dry it throughly and let it sit out for about an hour.

I used fresh sage, parsley, garlic, salt and olive oil to make a nice rub for my ham. Then I glazed it about every 45 min. Oven should be at 500 degrees for 20 min. and then at 350 degrees. Cook until internal temperture of the ham is around 150-160.

Spicy Pinapple-Ginger Glaze
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups packed dark or light brown sugar
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated (I used a bit more cuz I like it)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Bring all ingredients to a boil in small nonreactive saucepan over high heat; reduce heat and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about 1 1/3 cups, 5 to 7 minutes.

I stand by every brined fowl or foe I've eaten; brining wins hands down for producing flavorful, moist meat. Try it next time you're making a lovely chicken, turkey or HAM!

Posted by carol on January 03, 2003 | TrackBack

I'll heartily second the brining recommendation - but i've never tried it with Coke! That sounds so weirdly appropriate for a fresh ham - Russell has been drooling over the idea since you posted. You'll have to help me cook one - i'm oddly intimidated by fresh hams. What else did you serve with it?

Posted by: meriko on January 5, 2003 9:21 PM

this is a divine receipe. my family insist that the 'pig' must be on 'coke' at least one time per year. the brine give flavor to every bit.

the best eating is the leftovers and the bone makes a tasty soup.

you can not go wrong with this one!

Posted by: DrBev on November 23, 2005 2:10 PM
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