• A Fresh Ham for Easter


Fresh Ham with Madeira-Cider Glaze

By Andrew Zimmern

This year instead of a cured and smoked ham, why not try a fresh ham? Fresh ham is butcher speak for an uncured rear pork leg. This cut of pork makes a beautiful mild roast, perfect for entertaining large groups. The marbling that is particular to this cut, makes it an ideal slow roasting dish. Basted with the apple cider-Madeira glaze and scored across the fat cap, this holiday centerpiece will get ‘oohs and aahs’ from your whole family. Purchase the shank or sirloin ends for smaller families, or the whole roast, which will feed a large group of hungry relatives!

Fresh Ham with Madeira-Cider Glaze



  • 5 liters coca-cola
  • 3 cups kosher salt
  • 24 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons pickling spice

The Roast

  • 1 bone-in fresh half ham with skin, about 8 pounds, rinsed and dried

Seasoning Paste

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup minced parsley
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves

The Glaze

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 3 cups Madeira
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste


Combine the brine ingredients and brine the roast, refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours.

Drain and pat dry the ham.

Combine all of the ingredients for the glaze, and simmer on the stovetop until reduced to a glaze consistency, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the seasoning in a food processor and grind to a paste. Score the skin to a depth of 1/3 inch in a checkerboard or diamond pattern. Rub with the seasoning mix.

Place the fleshy, wide, cut-side face down on a roasting rack if using the shank end, skin up if using the sirloin end.

Place the roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan.

Place in a 475-degree oven on lowest rack level. Cook for 10 minutes and lower heat to 300.

Cook for about 5 hours, brushing with the glaze every 40 minutes or so. Tent with foil during the last 45 minutes if needed. The internal temperature should reach 150 degrees.

Withdraw from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 45 minutes.

Carve and serve.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill. 

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