Vivian Howard's Fresh Ham with Cracklin' Skin and Warm Maple Vinaigrette

For a Southern take on a one-pot meal, turn to Vivian Howard, chef and author of Deep Run Roots. This recipe for maple-vinaigrette ham comes just in time for the holiday season, when Americans take home more than 300 million pounds of ham. Howard suggests you buy the ham skin-on and bone-in because it'll be more moist. And when you reheat it, keep your temperature around 325°F to avoid drying out the meat. 

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1 (15 lbs) Fresh bone-in ham (skin attached)
1/4 cup (plus 1/2 tsp) Kosher salt (divided)
3 tbsp Ground black pepper
4 tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Minced red onion
2 tbsp Fresh ginger (grated on a microplane)
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Cider vinegar
2/3 cup Maple syrup
1/2 cup Honey

Make the vinaigrette: In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the red onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are soft and translucent. Throw in the ginger, nutmeg, and vinegar. Bring it up to a boil and add the syrup and honey. Reduce by half. Serve immediately or store it in the fridge for up to a week and heat before serving.

Prepare the ham: An hour before you’re ready to roast your ham, bring it out of the fridge so it can come to room temperature. Position the rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat it to 300 degrees. Using a box cutter or a very sharp knife, cut slits in the ham’s skin from left to right from the wide end of the ham to the knuckle end. The slits should be about an inch apart and roughly 1/2 inch deep into its fat. Rub the ham with the remaining 1/4 cup salt and 3 tablespoons black pepper, taking care to get down into the slits.

Roast the ham: Place the ham, skin side up, on a roasting pan and slide that into your oven. Roast uncovered for roughly 5 hours, or until an instant read thermometer or the probe on your oven reads 165°F. Bring the ham out of the oven and let it rest for 15 mintues before carving. The skin should be crispy and irresistible.

Serve slices of ham and skin drizzled with maple vinaigrette. Enjoy!