Basic, (Boneless) Fresh Ham Roast

A pork roast is a basic delight. It’s easy to cook with next to no attention; it can be wonderfully glorified with almost no effort and will please everyone at the table. It can be accompanied by any sides, and with select condiments can be transported to various cuisines. The bonus is that leftover slices can make a great hearty addition to morning eggs, slathered with your favorite mustard joining a great cheese for sandwiches, or chunked and stir-fried with veg for dinner. What a treat Rich made with our leftovers: diced with celery and carrots, dressed with mayonnaise on sourdough for lunch—forget tuna! Get it on! (You need a good meat thermometer!)

Serves 6, with leftovers.
Total prep time: 5 mins.
Cooking time 2-3 hours.

5 pound fresh (boneless) ham
Coarse Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, making sure the oven shelf is low enough to accommodate the roast in your roasting pan. (optional: stud the roast with 1/4 slivers of garlic cloves pushed into small slits pierced into the fat.) Rub the roast very generously with lots of coarse salt. It is important to use lots of salt. It helps the meat and fat to form a tight ‘skin’ when the roast hits the high oven heat, sealing in all the juices so the roast won’t dry out in the long cooking. The salt also gives the surface fat that wonderful crunchiness that we love. Grind on some pepper and it’s ready for the oven. Place the ham, fat side down (seam up), on a rack in a large roasting pan. Put a half inch of water in the bottom of the pan, (as it evaporates add more.) Turn on the exhaust fan and put the roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. When it has begun to brown, turn the upside down. Let the fatty, (now) topside brown (15-20 minutes.) Then turn the oven temp down to 325 degrees. Stick the probe of your remote oven thermometer into the center of the meat and set the temp alert for 130 degrees. Check the roast every 15-20 minutes, basting with the pan juices. If you see a bit of blackening on the edges loosely cover the roast with foil. (When the internal temp reaches 130, optional glazing or flavoring of the roast can happen.) If you want to keep it simple just bring the roast the last 10 degrees to 140, remove from the oven and cover (or keep covered) to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Optional glazes: At 130 degrees take the roast out and quickly but thoroughly brush on a glaze. This can be as simple as jam or jelly diluted slightly with hot water to make it spreadable. An alternative great glaze is 50-50 honey and mustard diluted slightly with water so it’s easier to brush on. A savory ‘glaze’ could be your favorite herb mixed with a little olive oil and a touch of vinegar. Return the roast to the oven. At 135 quickly brush with glaze again return to oven and bring to 140, then rest as above.

Slice and enjoy!