Root Beer Glazed Ham

CS,B: When I was in col­lege I met a stu­dent whose great-great-grandad invent­ed root beer. Phar­ma­cist by the name of Charles E. Hires. If you hap­pen to bump into him, tell him I said thanks.


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  • Ingre­di­ents:
  • 10- to 12-lb. ful­ly cooked bone-in spi­ral cut ham
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 12 cup mustard
  • 1 16-oz. bot­tle of root beer
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

First and foremost:

  1. Do: Get a good root beer, one that’s actu­al­ly brewed (A&W, Hires, IBC, Hen­ry Wein­hard’s, etc.). If you try glaz­ing your ham with Shas­ta or Refreshé or some oth­er hor­ri­ble brand, some­one needs to take your ham away until you prove you can be a respon­si­ble ham owner.
  2. Don’t: Get a diet root beer. This is a glaze, not food coloring!

Pre­heat oven to 325°. Place ham in roast­ing pan, cov­er with foil and bake at 325°.

While the ham’s get­ting up to speed, put the root beer in a saucepan and bring to a boil.


When you’re boil­ing root beer (or beer or Dr Pep­per or any oth­er car­bon­at­ed bev­er­age), be advised: It can go from “Okay, it’s start­ing to sim­mer now” to “Aw SHIT; it boiled all over every­thing!” faster than you can blink. The only thing worse than clean­ing sticky root beer off of every­thing is clean­ing scream­ing hot root beer off of everything.

Bot­tom line: Treat hot car­bon­at­ed bev­er­ages like nitro­glyc­erin until you’ve dri­ven out all the car­bon­a­tion. Heat it slow­ly and gen­tly, and don’t turn your back on it until it’s sim­mer­ing like a nor­mal, well-behaved liq­uid and not leap­ing out of the saucepan like a chest-burst­ing alien.


Now that you’ve tamed your root beer, add the brown sug­ar, mus­tard and vine­gar; whisk until the brown sug­ar is com­plete­ly dis­solved and bring to a boil again.

Reduce heat to low and sim­mer, stir­ring fre­quent­ly (it’ll burn almost as fast as it can boil over), until reduced to a glaze; usu­al­ly about 30 min­utes. When the glaze sheets across the back of a spoon, it’s ready.

Once the ham’s been in the oven for about 90 min­utes, take the foil off and brush on some glaze. Put it back in the oven, uncov­ered, and glaze it again every 15 min­utes or so until done.

Cov­er with foil and let it rest 15 min­utes before serving.