Growing up, our protein of choice for any holiday seemed to be turkey, That always suited me just fine, since homemade turkey gravy is one of life’s tastiest pleasures. When I got married though, I learned my wife had a personal vendetta against the big bird, or she just found it bland and boring. Who can remember which anymore?
My love of turkey got satisfied at family dinners with my parents, while the times that we were on our own called for her favourite holiday staple; ham.
Now, I’m not sure I ever used a recipe for any ham I ever made, which may account for my hit-and-miss record when it comes to ham, but one ingredient is a must: sugar.
Ham and sugar go together like peas and carrots but taste way better. That sugar, in whatever form you choose from white sugar to honey, molasses, brown sugar, or even Canada’s national sweetener, maple syrup, it is essential in creating that shiny, luscious exterior that ham lovers crave so much.
I was lucky enough to attend a class at Duchess Provisions recently about the French Canadian tradition known as the sugar shack and at the end of the class, we feasted on this Maple and Beer Baked Ham, among many other French Canadian delights.
It was one of the best hams I’d ever had, and luckily I got permission to share the recipe with you here.