Want to create to create a super-succulent ham that puts store-bought stuff to shame? Just in time for Easter Sunday, ChefSteps sent us the recipe for this showstopping, flavor-loaded centerpiece dish. Brined, cooked (sous vide), glazed and roasted, this homemade ham comes out golden brown and gorgeous. It’s bound to bowl over guests, who will henceforth revere you as the meat master you always knew you were.
Cut from the upper leg of the pig, shanks are small enough that you can serve them one per plate (personal hams!) at a decadent dinner party or prepare one or two for your family as part of a special Sunday supper. Don’t be afraid to brine a bunch at a time — leftover ham comes in handy as a delicious sandwich filler or as a breakfast omelet topping. And you can prep far in advance, knowing that cooked shanks last for two months in the fridge! Regardless, this is a dish that tastes as good as it looks. And damn, does it look good. Check out the instructional video and full recipe below. Warning: Watching may result in an immediate craving for salty meats.
Servings: 4 (2 mini hams)
2 pork foreshanks, about 2 1/5 pounds each
17 cups water
1¾ tablespoons Insta Cure No. 1
½ cup salt
2¼ cups honey
1¼ tablespoons Wright’s Applewood Liquid Smoke (optional)
- Combine all ingredients (apart from the shanks) in a covered container or a large, tightly zipped freezer bag.
- Submerge shanks in the brine and store in the fridge. Chill for at least 65 hours. As it brines, the meat will pull salt from the solution. To ensure even saltiness, give the liquid a good stir every day. If the shanks float, place a plate or other weight on top of them so that they stay submerged.
- Set a sous vide water bath according to time and texture preferences. Ham cooked at 149°F for 48 hours will be fork-tender and incredibly flavorful. If you’re short on time or want to serve in neat, old-school slices, cook at 194°F for six hours.
- Place shanks in a high-temperature sous vide bag and add about 300 grams of brine per shank. Vacuum-seal the bag or clip it to the side of the bath. Cover bath or wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
- When meat has cooked, prepare an ice bath. Gently transfer shanks to chill, preserving the cooking liquid. Once chilled, shanks will last for two months in the fridge.
- Optional: Score the ham by using only the tip of a sharp knife, cutting parallel lines along the length of the ham (go about three-quarters of the way through the skin). Create a second set of parallel lines at about a 60-degree angle from the first so that the lines meet to form diamond shapes.
- Put the cooking liquid into a pot and reduce it over medium-high heat, watching closely to avoid scorching. Continue reducing until glaze is thick and sticky — when it’s ready, it will coat the back of a spoon without immediately running off. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the surface of each ham, then paint the rest on with a pastry brush.
- Results will vary a bit depending on your oven, but we find roasting at 450°F for about 10-20 minutes works well.
- Serve! Place the glossy masterpiece atop a colorful medley of roasted vegetables, or nestle it in some steamed rice sprinkled with scallions and sesame seeds.
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