Photo: Melina Hammer; Styling: Iain Bagwell
Hands-on Time
30 Mins
Total Time
14 Hours 20 Mins
Chill Time
48 Hours
Yield
Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ask your butcher: While a holiday ham traditionally consists of a cured, brined, or smoked cut of pork from the hind leg, we're taking liberties with the word "ham" and choosing the best cut for this job: the shoulder. Order a skin-on fresh picnic ham, aka the picnic cut, a forgiving, economical joint that will give you the juiciest results.

How to Make It

Step 1

Make 1/4-inch-deep cuts 1/4 inch apart in skin of ham with a clean box cutter. (The sharp blades cut through the skin with ease and make straight edges.) Stir together salt and pepper; rub over ham, working into cuts in skin. Place ham in a very large bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 2 days.

Step 2

Remove ham from bowl. Brush salt from ham, and discard. Place ham, fat side up, on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan, and chill, uncovered, 8 to 10 hours to air-dry.

Step 3

Let ham stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Step 4

Preheat oven to 425°. Bake ham on lower oven rack 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°, and bake 2 hours and 30 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425°, and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until skin is crisp and a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 175°. Let stand 30 minutes before slicing. Serve with salsa.

Chef's Notes

Roast like a pro: First, plan ahead. A bone-in roast this thick requires two days of seasoning to allow the salt to penetrate to the bone. (That's as many days as ingredients required to flavor this budget-minded wonder.) Second, score the skin using a box cutter or razor blade so the fat renders as it cooks and the exterior turns potato chip crunchy. The right temp: Because we're talking shoulder, go for an internal temp of at least 175°, which will encourage the connective tissue to break down and intramuscular fat to melt.

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