Orange & Rosemary Braised Carrots Plated. Used in Whole Baked Ham. Used in Whole Bakewith Scalloped Potatoes and Baked Ham

Whole Baked Ham

Our favourite way to prepare a whole ham for Easter dinner or anytime you want to feed a large group.  Thanks James Beard for the inspiration (he used a whole bottle of Madiera!)  We normally use a smoked pork picnic when we don’t need a whole ham. It’s dead-easy, juicy and the Marsala permeates the meat with a wonderful flavour.  Don’t throw that bone away, you can make pea soup.  I don’t care for pea soup but I freeze the ham bones to use them to make baked beans!

For the Ham:

1 whole bone-in ham with rind
½ bottle of Marsala or Madiera
1 cup or so, Demerara sugar

Equipment: A roasting pan with a rack.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place ham on an oiled rack and place into the roasting pan; pour the Marsala over. Cover completely with tin foil. Place in oven and roast 10 minutes per pound. Remove from oven. Remove foil. Remove the rind when cooled enough to handle. Trim excess fat. Score remaining fat into diamond shapes; pat with demerara sugar to cover. Voila it’s ready!

No messy mustard glazes or nasty tinned pineapple slices involved, sorry Mom!  When I told Mom about cooking ham this way, she tried it and never went back!

Note:  If you want to use a smoked pork picnic, I find the best method is to pre-cook the ham, covered,  for 1 hour in simmering water.  Remove from the water and continue with the recipe.  This process removes a lot of excess saltiness from the ham.




  1. we followed your baked ham recipe using port with vegetables for the basting and brown sugar at the end. It was a lot easier that we thought it would be and it turned out fantastic. We served 10 and had some leftovers from a 5.5 kg bone in ham which made an excellent soup. The only thing was, with a tempermental stove, it took much longer than expected, 4 hours at 375 F. So thank you very much for helping make the main course so successful.

    • I’m so happy to hear the ham was a success! The ham is covered in foil & steams with all the flavour of the port permeating the ham. No basting is required. Sorry to hear about your oven. It should only have taken 10 minutes per pound so should have taken around 2 hours! Was dinner too late?

  2. we started at 1:00 for a 5:00 pm eating time, I used a meat thermometer to check the inside temp which finally got to 140 / 145 F at a few minutes before 5. then we did the diamonds, brown sugar and let it stand for 10 – 15 minutes and we were serving it at 5:30 so just made it as the guests were just a little late. It was really good for first time. thanks.
    phil & yve

    • Thanks for the reply Phil. Next time you really don’t need the thermometer bit, just make sure it bakes/steams for the 10 minutes per pound and it will be perfect!

  3. Mom’s way was to soak the ham in water overnight. I’ve done this and have received compliments on how juicy and less salty the ham is.

    • I think at that time everyone did the overnight soaking. The hams nowadays are cured differently, using a lot more water, so they are quite wet. I probably would do the soaking if I was using a Virginia type ham, which is dry cured & so would be saltier. My Mom used to do the soaking thing with smoked pork picnics, which do seem saltier but what she did is put the ham into simmering water for 1 hour; remove & continue with the preparation of the ham. This is what I do when cooking pork picnics.

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