Most smoked hams are sold fully cooked, so "why bake them again?" meat master Bruce Aidells asks, before answering his own question: to improve the texture and add a homemade glaze—in this case, one made with Dr Pepper soda and prunes—for extra flavor. After the ham is cooked, Aidells reduces the pan juices and tosses in prunes to make a sauce. "Glazes flavor only the outside of the ham," he says. "But you can spoon pan sauces over every slice."
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One 10-pound, bone-in smoked ham, skin removed and fat trimmed to 1/4 inch
3 cups Dr Pepper (not diet)
2 cups water
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/3 cup yellow mustard
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 325° and position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Set the smoked ham in a large roasting pan. Score a 1/4-inch-deep crosshatch pattern into the fat at 2-inch intervals. Pour 2 cups of the Dr Pepper and the 2 cups of water into the pan and roast the ham for about 2 1/2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the ham registers 120°. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, simmer the prunes in the remaining 1 cup of Dr Pepper until they are plump and the liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prunes to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Whisk the mustard, brown sugar and vinegar into the liquid in the saucepan and boil until very thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.
Drizzle the syrupy glaze over the ham and roast until glossy, 20 minutes. Carefully transfer the ham to a cutting board.
Pour the pan juices into the saucepan and spoon off the fat. Boil the sauce until reduced to 2 cups, 10 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and the prunes and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce until thickened, 2 minutes. Slice the ham and serve with the Dr Pepper sauce.
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