This orange honey-glazed ham recipe is made with fresh ham and is naturally sweetened. Freshly squeezed orange juice and honey mixed with other spices create a perfect sweet and savory balance.
The glaze can be used on any regular ham you buy at the store that isn’t already pre-flavored or glazed. The combination of orange and honey gives a sweet flavor without any refined sugars.
I wanted to try a fresh non-cured ham. Most grocery stores don’t carry fresh hams on hand, but most can order one for you. You can also contact a local butcher or meat supplier to order a fresh ham. Around the holidays you can usually find a good price. I found my fresh ham for the same price as a pre-cooked spiral cut. The price I was able to get was $1.59 per lb. The ham in these images cost $20.32.
I trimmed some of the fat off but left some on for flavor. A fresh ham looks paler pink like a pork loin in color. I brined this ham for 24 hours because it wasn’t pre-cooked or cured.
DO YOU HAVE TO BRINE THIS ORANGE HONEY GLAZED HAM RECIPE?
No, you do not. This doesn’t replace the curing process. I simply use a brine for a lot of meats that I cook to preserve the juiciness and infuse it with flavor. I always have good results of juicy, tender, and flavorful meat when it has been brined.
This is the go-to container that I use for brining meat only. It is a durable plastic with handles and a cover. I always use a brine bag, then place it in this container and put it in my refrigerator. You can use any durable plastic bucket to hold meat that is in a brine bag to refrigerate.
Originally, I didn’t use oranges in the recipe which is why they didn’t make it to the photos. I eventually did add two whole sliced oranges to the next brine and fresh orange juice to the glaze. Adding orange to the recipe made a huge difference, so it became an orange honey glazed ham.
HOW TO BRINE A FRESH HAM
Usually, a brine recipe uses water, salt, sugar, and spices to infuse moisture and flavor into the meat. Basically soaking the meat overnight, or up to a few days. The meat in the brine does need to stay refrigerated either in a refrigerator or cooler of some kind.
For this recipe, I didn’t want to use any refined sugars in this recipe, so I omitted the sugar and stuck with honey for the glaze.
This is what I put into this brine:
- 1 sliced white onion
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 1 tbsp whole cloves
- 2 oranges sliced into thin circles
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 tbsp dried mustard powder
- 5 garlic cloves crushed
- 5 Thyme sprigs
To start, I placed the salt and mustard powder in a ceramic pitcher that can handle boiling water. I poured hot water into the pitcher and stirred to dissolve the salt and mustard. Then added the rest of the ingredients and stirred it up as well. Again, the oranges didn’t make it into the photo.
Then, place the brine bag in the plastic container. Add the ham, pour the brine mixture into it and add additional water until the ham is completely submerged in the brine. Tie the bag into a knot or tie with twine to secure the liquid in the bag.
To prepare a brined ham, take the ham out of the brine and pat it dry. I scored the ham and placed whole cloves in the center of the diamond shapes.
Once I added the whole cloves I put it on the rack of a roasting pan, brushed it with some glaze, then topped the ham with oranges. I poured some water in the pan under the rack so any ham drippings wouldn’t burn. Then I covered the entire ham with foil and placed it in the oven.
A fresh whole ham appears more like a loin cut but is actually really soft and wiggly. It was hard to cut into a perfect pattern.
DO YOU HAVE TO REDUCE THE GLAZE?
Reducing a glaze is when you lightly boil a sauce or glaze at a medium-high temperature to thicken it as it reduces down. This is an optional step in this recipe. I have made the glaze and simply whisked it up and added it to the ham with good results. I prefer to reduce the glaze because I did notice that it coated the ham better.
If you do reduce the glaze sauce, be careful not to burn it in the saucepan. When reducing a liquid, a low heat simmer won’t reduce it. You need the mixture to remain at a boil for about 5-7 minutes to reduce down and thicken. It is a balance between not too high and not too low.
WHEN TO ADD THE GLAZE TO A HAM
A lot of instructions say to add the glaze only in the last hour of baking. Most recipes suggest that for a pre-cooked ham that you are reheating and you don’t want it to dry out. Usually, for this method you keep it covered with the fat layer on the top to keep in the moisture while it heats up.
You can wait until the last 1 hour of baking to add the glaze if you like, especially if you are using a pre-cooked ham. This ham was raw and I glazed it throughout the cooking process and it didn’t dry out. I did keep it covered after brushing with glaze which helped keep it moist.
This ham was brushed with glaze, covered with foil, and slowly cooked at a low temperature. Every hour or so I reglazed the ham with a pastry brush. In the last hour of baking, I removed the foil, added more glaze, and continued to monitor the temperature of the ham.
I waited until the ham was close to the temperature to slice it more. I removed the orange slices and sliced along one side of the lines already scored to mimic a spiral cut ham.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FRESH AND PRE-COOKED HAM?
Most hams found in your local grocery store are pre-cooked and are either smoked or cured. A fresh ham will appear to look more light pale pink like a pork loin cut. The curing process and nitrates are what give the store-bought ham its bright pink appearance. When you buy a pre-cooked ham you are really just reheating it.
WHY TRY A FRESH HAM?
Why not? Fresh is always best!! Just as with any processed meats, most pre-cooked long cured hams contain a lot of nitrates.
CAN YOU MAKE THIS ORANGE HONEY GLAZE HAM RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes, you can make the ham and glaze ahead of time. For the glaze, I would suggest combining all of the ingredients and keeping it in an airtight container, and refrigerate for about a day or two. Cooked ham should be kept airtight and refrigerated for a few days. You can reheat the ham with the glaze in the oven when you are ready.
Orange Honey Glazed Ham
- For the ham
- 1 large ham
- A small jar of whole cloves
- For the glaze
- 1 cup of juice from a fresh-squeezed orange
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp spicy mustard or ground mustard powder
- 1 tsp horseradish
- 5 cloves pressed or diced garlic
- 1 tbsp diced thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Take the ham out of the brine or out of the fridge about an hour before preparing to let it warm to room temperature.
- While the ham is warming to room temperature prepare the glaze.
- OPTIONAL: In a small saucepan, add all glaze ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil on high while stirring. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and continue to boil, stirring occasionally for a 5-7 minutes or until it reduces a little and thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- If you choose not to reduce the glaze simply whisk it up and let it sit while ham is warming.
- Once the ham is warmed to room temperature, brush it with glaze and top it with orange slices.
- Continue to monitor ham while it cooks brushing it with glaze every 30 to 60 minutes or so.
- When the ham is almost at temperature, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F and place the ham back in the oven for the remaining hour to finish cooking.
- A pre-cooked ham is done when it reaches 145 degrees F, a fresh ham is done when it reaches 160-170 degrees F.
- When ham reaches temperature remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
- Scoring or cutting the ham is optional. You can leave the fat layer on, cover, brush with glaze while cooking, then cut it once it’s done cooking.
- If you don’t have a roasting pan with a rack simply place the ham in a regular roasting pan or deep oven-safe dish that the ham fits in and reduce the amount of water added.
- Typically you want to heat the ham for 20-30 minutes per pound. Always follow packaging label instructions. I slow cook it at a low temperature and increase the temperature for the last hour of cooking.
- See the post above for tips on how to brine.
- A pre-cooked ham is considered done when the inside reaches 140 degrees F. A raw/fresh ham is considered done when it reaches 170 degrees F.
Anyone else’s husband try to get their hand in the photos??