The Daley Question

Hamming up the holiday with Dr Pepper

Recipes for popular ham glaze sought by reader

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Holiday ham

Holiday ham -- it's even better with a good glaze. One reader seeks recipes using Dr Pepper. (Bill Hogan / Chicago Tribune)

Q: Do you need a holiday Daley Question? I'm wondering if there is an actual recipe for ham with a Dr. Pepper glaze.

--Claudia Perry, Evanston

A: Yes! I always need holiday Daley Questions, my friend, so thank you very much. What struck me on researching your question is just how many recipes for ham call for Dr Pepper. It was almost enough to make me back away from my computer terminal, take a deep calming breath, and crack open a bottle of ice-cold ... Fresca. Just kidding!

There are recipes on a number of websites, including one from Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, David Leite of Leite's Culinaria using a Cook's Country magazine recipe, and even Alton Brown, the television personality and cookbook author, braising a country ham in a liter of Dr Pepper.

I checked in with the folks who make the iconic soft drink, Dr Pepper Snapple Group of Plano, Texas, and asked if there was an "official" recipe. Chris Barnes, corporate communications director, sent me a recipe that has appeared on company-owned websites. He's not sure of who developed it. See the recipe below.

I'm also offering two more recipes, Drummond's version of a proper glazed ham from her website, and a glaze recipe one from the folks at Gepperth's Market, the Chicago butcher shop, which can be made either with Dr Pepper or a cola; your choice

None of these three recipes have been tested by me, so stay a bit alert in using any of them. I can tell you my own ham glaze is closer to the Gepperth's Market recipe, with soy sauce and orange juice providing the liquid base for the glaze instead of Dr Pepper or cola. I also tend to zap it in the microwave until bubbly and thick; it's a snap.

Dr Pepper's ham with Dr Pepper glaze

Here's the recipe that's appeared on company-owned websites, according to Chris Barnes, director of corporate communications for Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

One 3-4 pound ham

whole cloves

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 12-oz. cans Dr Pepper

1.Cook ham according to package directions.

2.Glazes are usually applied about 1 to 1¼ hour before the ham is done. At that time, skin the ham, remove the surplus fat, score as desired and insert the whole cloves

3.Sprinkle and pat the brown sugar over the surface and gently pour the Dr Pepper over ham.

4.At frequent intervals in the remaining baking time, baste with the liquid in the pan.

5. The oven temperature for baking is 325 to 350 degrees, depending on browning desired.

Gepperth's ham glaze

Prep: 5 minutes. Cook: 5 minutes

"We make our own glaze," Jerry Sikora the now-retired butcher of Gepperth's Meat Market told the Chicago Tribune in story published April 8, 2009. "It's pretty much just brown sugar and soda -- some people like Coca-Cola, and some people like Dr Pepper. You just warm it on the stove and pour it over and you've got a nice glaze." This recipe is adapted from one used by the market's owners, Otto and Dianna Demke.

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup each: red wine vinegar, cola or Dr Pepper

1 teaspoon brown mustard

Dash ground cloves

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple with juice, optional

1.Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until mustard has dissolved; heat to a boil. Use to baste a ham during final 30 minutes of baking.

The Pioneer Woman's glazed ham

Prep: 20 minutes. Cook: 3 hours. Makes: 18 servings

This recipe is found on the website of Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman. She describes herself as a "moderately agoraphobic ranch wife and mother of four" but most people know her by her web presence, her cookbooks, and her Food Network show, "The Pioneer Woman."

1 whole Fully Cooked Bone-in Ham (15-18 Pounds)

Whole Cloves

3 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup spicy brown mustard

1 can Dr Pepper or Coke

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1.Score the surface of the ham in a diamond pattern about 1/8-inch deep. Place cloves in the middle of each diamond. Place the ham in a large roasting pan with a rack, tent it with foil, and bake in a 325-degree oven for 2 to 2/12 hours---or longer, depending on the package directions. (Some hams may require 3 to 3 1/2 hours at a lower temp; just check the package.)

2.Heat the brown sugar, mustard, soda and vinegar in a small saucepan until bubbly. Cook until reduced and a bit thicker, about 15 minutes.

3.After about 2 hours of baking time, remove the foil and brush the glaze on the ham in 20 minutes intervals (put the ham back in the oven, uncovered, in between) until it's nice and glossy. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 15-20 minutes before carving.

Do you have a question about food or drink? E-mail Bill Daley at: wdaley@tribune.com. Snail mail inquiries should be sent to: Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 60611. Twitter @billdaley.

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