I woke up yesterday morning and the first thing I thought was “CHRISTMAS STARTS TODAY!” We drove up yesterday to Morehead City to join my sister Genevieve and her boyfriend Naoise home from Ireland, my sister Lauren and her husband Bradley home from New Orleans, my brother Ryan, and my parents. That begun two weeks of seeing a ton of friends and family and all the puppies, and I am so excited. I love this time of year!
Before we headed out I stocked the car fully with provisions- namely a case of wine and a smoked ham. I know how Christmas goes, y’all. We smoked an uncured “green” ham packed with brown sugar and cayenne, which gives an end product somewhere between a pork tenderloin and a pork shoulder. Today it’s on the menu along with freshly grilled local salt water oysters, boudain from New Orleans, and a North Carolina clam chowder. It’s a feast, Eastern NC style.
This is a time where I always find myself reflecting and looking inward and right now I’m basking in the incredibly love of my family and feeling overwhelmingly thankful for the communities that have been there for me this year, both online and in person. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to spend the last few weeks of 2014 with people that I love eating delicious food and enjoying each other’s company. Salud!
This post is in partnership with the North Carolina Pork Council.
Brown Sugar Smoked Ham
12-15lb ham shank, uncured
3 cups brown sugar
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp sea salt
Smoker with hickory wood chips
Optional: Bourbon brine
Heat your smoker to 200F. Coat each side of your ham with brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Place on a tray, fat side up. Smoke for 3 hours, keeping the temperature steady and adding wood chips to your smoker as needed. After 3 hours, turn the ham and smoke an additional 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Allow the ham to rest 1 hour before serving.