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Marsha McBride's Easter Fresh Ham
Owner/Chef Cafe Rouge, Berkeley, CA

"The Best thing my mother ever made was fresh ham and she always made it at Easter. I love pork and it's so good at this time of year. I have wonderful childhood memories of bulbs in bloom and fresh ham and I recreate both every year for my own family."

  • 15 lb. bone-in pork leg (skin is preferable)
  • 5 gallons water
  • 2 tsp. curing salt
  • 3 lb. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 lb. kosher salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 allspice berries, whole
  • 1 Tbs. coriander seed, whole
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3 whole chili pods
Dissolve salt and sugar in boiling water. Cool completely. Add spices and curing salt. Prick pork leg with ice pick thoroughly all over. Rinse well with cold water. Place in non-reactive container (i.e. crock, plastic bucket). Pour cooled brine over leg. Weigh down with ceramic plates and put in a cool place (38-42 F) for five weeks.

Check every week to make sure brine isn't cloudy or smelly. If it is, rinse pork leg well and cover with new brine. After five weeks, rinse pork leg in cold water for a few hours. Pat dry and smoke for five hours. Spit roast or cook whole ham in low oven (325F) until 140 internal temperature.

Make a glaze of
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup honey
Smear over entire leg 1/2 hour before finishing cooking.

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