Coca Cola Ham is a holiday classic at our place. Which holiday? All of them! Usually Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, but this is the way we usually eat ham, any occasion will do!
I first saw this recipe from Nigella Lawson on her TV series Nigella Bites, which is just a variation of an American way of making ham (with clever marketing). I admit I was skeptical at first, Coca-Cola Ham? How does that work? I assure you it doesn’t taste at all like Coke, but adds a subtle sweetness to the ham and keeps it nice and moist. Maybe it’s just the onion that throws you off the flavor of Coke, but whatever the reason, this recipe works perfectly.
How to Cook Coca-Cola Ham
This is a question that depends on your ham, and the different ways hams are prepared around the world. Gammon, which is an uncooked, cured pork which needs to be cooked. Ham is a cooked, dry cured pork which is ready for eating. When you cook gammon, it becomes ham. However, its commonly called Ham in the US, regardless if it’s cooked or not (but most of the time is already cooked).
The ham needs to be cooked in the biggest stock pot you have. This could be problematic if your ham is too big. Most hams here in Australia are sold with a large joint attached. This barely fits in the stockpot, and it’s not entirely submerged in the Coke. After cooking the ham for almost 2 hours, I then flip over the joint upside down, add more Coke and cook for another 30 minutes.
Other people buy a Spiral Ham, or a Ham that has the joint cut off, so it fits easily in the pot. I have even used a regular shoulder ham, which was easier to manage in a stock pot. Any ham you use will work great in this recipe.
Coca-Cola Ham Glaze
Nigella uses a glaze with mustard powder and treacle syrup, and it looks beautiful for any dinner table. Scoring the fat of the ham into diamond shapes, allows the glaze to penetrate when it crisps up in the oven. Placing the whole cloves inside each diamond adds extra flavor and looks beautiful to serve.
Treacle Syrup can sometimes be hard to find. Treacle is made from the refining of cane sugar. It’s commonly known as Golden Syrup (which is lighter) or as a Black Treacle (which is like Molasses). Molasses has too strong of a flavor for this recipe. Just mix 50/50 molasses and corn syrup. This will give you something similar to treacle syrup.
After carefully spreading the treacle over the ham, sprinkle the mustard powder and dark brown sugar mix on the treacle mix. As it roasts in the oven, the mustard powder mix melts into the treacle to make a wonderful glaze.
What Kind of Sauce is Serve with Ham?
There are many different sauces that can be served with ham. Some people love eating it with a mustard. Some eat it with a creamy Honey Mustard Sauce. Others make a ham gravy or even make a pineapple sauce.
My favourite way to make a Ham sauce is a Spicy Sweet Mustard Sauce. Take sweetened condensed milk and mix with Hot English mustard, creating a super sweet hot sauce with a mustard kick – the type that wasabi provides. Even my kids enjoy this hams sauce. Taste and adjust the Hot Mustard to your liking.
This sauce is perfect with ham, but don’t use regular American mustard, that wouldn’t work. It must be Hot English mustard, which works really well with ham. After all, this isn’t a hot dog, this is just a variation building on that taste tradition.
Coca-Cola Ham is easy to make, and a fun conversation starter at your dinner table. We don’t miss a Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter without a Coca Cola Ham on our holiday table. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Coca Cola Ham
Coca-Cola Ham is fun and easy to make! A classic American recipe. We don't miss a Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter without a Coca Cola Ham on our holiday table.
- 2 litres Coca-Cola
- 1 onion peeled and cut in half
- 1 bone-in ham
- 2 tablespoons Treacle Syrup
- 2 teaspoons Mustard Powder
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- whole cloves
In a large pot or dutch oven, place the ham, onion and pour the Coca-Cola over top of the ham.
Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for approx 1 hour per kilo (2 pounds) of ham. Cover loosely with a lid. I rotate the ham so it's even cooked in the cola. If Ham is pre-cooked, I simmer for about 2 hours. Allow ham to cool before proceeding to the next step.
Remove the skin, leaving a layer of fat. Score the ham in a diagonal pattern, placing whole cloves in each diamond. Using a brush, glaze with the treacle. Mix the Mustard Powder and Dark Brown Sugar together. Sprinkle the mustard mixture overtop of the ham so it sticks to the treacle glaze.
Bake the ham for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 400°F/200°C until the skin crisps up.
To prepare the Spicy Sweet Mustard Sauce, Mix together some sweetened condensed milk and hot English mustard together, until the mustard is mixed evenly and not lumpy. Adjust to taste.
Optional - Can add 2 Star Anise Seeds to the Coca Cola mixture for a different twist.