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Hamicide Will Not Be Necessary

January 10, 2016

Cleanser is sprinkled in my bathroom sink, toilet, and bathtub, waiting for me to scrub things clean. Boxes are filled with Christmas decorations, stacked neatly by the attic door,  expecting to be put away. My bedroom, which looks like gorillas have been living in it, wails every time I walk through.

So what am I doing?  Writing about ham. And yes, you read that title correctly, it’s hamicide.

I just finished slicing some leftover ham to put in the freezer, and my rapture over how good it was is a little scary.

I know, it seems as though my love for pork knows no bounds. That’s true, although I do draw the line at fried pork rinds. And, no, the National Pork Producers Council is not paying me to say this, but the thing I love most about pork is that you can go so many directions with it:  Slow Cooked Pork Smothered in Sauerkraut, Stuffed Porkchops, Herbed Juicy Pork Roast, Pork Adobo, Pulled Pork, Split Pea Soup with Chunks of Ham — the list goes on and on. But today it’s Sweet Glazed Ham with Pineapple and Apricot Preserves I want to talk about.


Pineapple and ham, the perfect combination.

Years ago, my mom made ham with cloves, pineapple, Maraschino cherries, brown sugar and preserves, and slow-cooked it for hours, usually on Sunday mornings while we were at church.  I think a lot of people cooked it that way in the ’60s. Hers was great, so I took the recipe, made a minor tweak or two and  it still gets rave reviews today. It’s that slow cooking thing, it makes pretty much everything irresistible. HoneyBaked has been slow-cooking ham for years.

I am going out on a limb and  boldly stating that my mom’s ham is every bit as good as HoneyBaked and therefore hamicide is not necessary. That’s when your family goes to great lengths to destroy the store bought ham you brought home, so they can have a HoneyBaked ham.

HoneyBaked Ham is great, but I can’t afford it. So, instead, I wait until ham is on sale, buy an eleven dollar Farmer John half-ham, cook it and enjoy it and the leftovers for weeks. The ingredients are inexpensive and most people have them on hand anyway, so instead of paying the big bucks, make one yourself. As far as spiral slicing goes, that’s a great thing,  and probably worth it if you’re affluent,  in a time crunch, and throwing a party. But nothing sends me into raptures like a thick slice of juicy ham, so I’m a fan of slicing it myself.

IMG_5129If you know nothing about ham, here is a link to a blog that explains things like the difference between a shank end and a butt end called My Gourmet Connection. I also love that after you bake a ham and eat the leftovers for a couple of days, you can freeze the rest and reheat it and it’s great.  Plus, you can save the meat-laden bone and make amazing split pea soup with it.

And here’s a little ham trivia for you.   I was the voice of HoneyBaked ham here in California in 2006 or 2007.  I even wrote some local radio commercials for them called “Hamicide.” I thought they were darkly fun – but the owner chickened out on using them. You may recognize my voice and my kids voices in the spots. (And I wonder why they have twisted senses of humor.)  

I think all my introspection at the beginning of the year left me realizing that self-knowledge is nice, but knowing a great recipe for ham might be even nicer. Plus, it will save your family the tragedy of hamicide.

Mary Tunno’s Juicy Slow Cooked Ham (Tweaked by Fran)


This is what your ham will look like before you cook it.

1 fully cooked bone in half ham   (I prefer the butt portion) They’re usually 5 to 10 lbs.) I use Farmer John because they’re local here in So. Cal.

6 to 8 slices of canned pineapple packed in juice

1/4 cup juice from the canned pineapple

3/4 to 1  cup of brown sugar

15 to 20 whole cloves

6 to 8 Marachino Cherries  and about 1 oz of juice

9 oz. of Apricot Preserves

2 oz of Jacquin’s Rock N Rye

Remove the ham from the plastic packaging.  Don’t forget to remove the plastic plug they put on the end of the bone covering the marrow.  Get a large roasting pan and line it with lengths of heavy duty foil  so that it will completely cover the ham while it cooks. (I use Reynold’s wrap.) With a paring knife, make three rows of small slits on the top of  the ham at one inch intervals. Press the cloves into the slits using about 15 to 20 cloves.

Then take each pineapple ring and place it on top of the clove-studded ham. Secure each slice in place with a toothpick. (Be sure to remove them when you serve the ham!)

Take the brown sugar, hold it in your hand and press it against the top of the pineapple, clove studded ham, so it creates a crust about half an inch thick.  Then mix together the apricot preserves, the pineapple juice, the cherry juice and the Rock N Rye.  It should be liquid enough to pour over the ham. Pour it over the brown sugar topped ham. It will drip down, but that’s OK.

Cover the ham securely with the aluminum foil and bake it in a 350 degree oven for at least 3 hours.  If you go four hours, that’s fine.  It will still be juicy and fantastic. Remove the toothpicks, slice and serve it. (You might want to remove the cloves also, if you want – or just warn guests they are there.) There will be plenty of juice at the bottom of the pan, so collect some so guests can drizzle it over the top of their ham slices.





  • Reply
    January 14, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    I have NEVER cooked anything but an already-cooked ham steak from Costco (although I love slow-roasted pork loins). I may just have to try this as the closet Honeybaked is in Spokane.. You’ve got my mouth watering for spicy, juicy ham. It is times like these that I wish we were still close to one another as i’d be at your table in a flash. XOX.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      January 15, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      I have to tell you Linda, it’s awesome. And if the ham is on sale, it’s very economical. Plus you can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I wish you lived closer too! Guess I should move to Idaho. Miss you! xoxo

  • Reply
    January 10, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Hi Franny. Just wanted to thank you for hours of enjoyment this weekend. What I mean is that I caught up on reading your blog, and I do read everything! Comments. Recipes. All of it. And, as usual, I rode a wave of emotions. I wish we lived closer because I’d love to hang out with you. And cook. And drink wine. Will 2018 be the next time I see you?!! Until then, I’ll just enjoy your blog which I always do. Thanks Franny.
    P.S. Unless you’re visiting NY?

  • Reply
    January 10, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I LOVE how it all comes together in this post: your stories, your recipes, your voice work! Perfect way to start the year!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      January 10, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Awww Chuck, thank you so much. That is so nice of you. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. Feel free to tell your friends about it and thank you for taking the time to write. It means so much to me! I don’t have plans to visit NY any time soon, but will keep you in mind if I do! Take care and Happy New Year!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      January 10, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Nicol, you are a doll. I could not ask for a better or more supportive friend. xoxo

  • Reply
    Linda cappella
    January 10, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Fran, I too, have a ham fettish but it is totally different from most. To me, “ham” is a lunch meat, period! Never to be cooked as a main dish. Lol My Italian grandmother would serve ham on a small plate somewhere on the side, never center, of the dinning room table. I would glare at my daughter if she passed up all the homemade pasta and reach for the ham. I think I traumatized her at an early age. Lol My friends who know me well laugh their butts off about my views on ham. I was soooo hoping your story backed me up. Remember the Seinfeld episode when Elaine ‘s boss ate a candy bar with a fork and knife? Well, sad to say, that’s how giddy I feel when most eat a ham dinner. Lol. I hope you and your readers get a laugh from my views while I’m eating my ham sandwich! Lol

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      January 10, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      Linda, how funny your story is! I think my mom was a little more American in her thinking and loved ham or pretty much any meat. Hope you enjoyed your sandwich and I understand why you feel that way. I’m just glad I don’t! Thanks for writing!

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