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Not Your Usual Easter Ham

May 22, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Las Vegas 0 Comments

Not Your Usual Easter Ham

Easter is one of the most important religious holidays on the Christian calendar. Families come together to celebrate their beliefs and continue their cherished family traditions, which usually include food. In many ways, these family gatherings are just as important as the religious observations the day brings.

One of the most common Easter traditions is the Easter ham. Not to disrespect this venerable American tradition, but isn’t it getting just a little bit old? You know, the same old ham every year. Where’s the surprise? Where’s the new ways to enjoy our classic meals? Where’s the school of culinary arts approach of treating familiar ingredients with a unique twist?

Well, if you want to break out of the mold, but don’t want to stray too far from the ham you and your family know and love, then try the recipe below for a refreshing change.

Brown Sugar Glazed Coca Cola Ham

Yes, you read that right. It says Coca Cola. Before you make a “yuck!” face, you must try it. Coke is just another way to get that extra sweetness into your ham, just like if it was honey glazed. It may sound odd, but trust us, it’s delicious. Culinary schools in Nevada teach many ways to use sugar as both a sweetener and preservative. This recipe uses the Coke as both a sweetener and a braising liquid that can be used for a delicious pan sauce.


  • 1 - 5 to 7 lb bone-in ready-to-serve ham (Avoid spiral-sliced or country hams. They will dry out when prepared this way.)
  • 1 lb of light brown sugar
  • 1 - 20 oz bottle of Coke (Not diet!)
  • ¾ cup yellow mustard
  • ½ oz whole cloves
  • 15 to 20 maraschino cherries (optional)
  • 1 can of pineapple rings (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • Place the ham cut side down in a large non-stick roasting pan. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, then line a regular pan with foil. It will help in clean up. The sugar and Coke stick like cement
  • Score the ham in a checkerboard or diamond pattern with a large knife
  • Insert the cloves at the intersections of the cuts
  • Coat the ham with the mustard. It will be the glue that holds the brown sugar in place
  • Pack the brown sugar onto the coated ham
  • Pour the Coke into the pan
  • Make a tent over the ham with foil
  • Cook the ham according to directions until it reaches an internal temperature of about 130 degrees F, about ½ hour per pound
  • Baste with the Coke and juices about every 20 minutes
  • With about 20 minutes left to cook, remove the ham and secure the cherries and or pineapples to the surface with toothpick. Put the ham back in the oven to finish cooking
  • Once the ham reaches temperature, keep it covered and let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving

Make a pan sauce from the Coke and drippings while the ham is resting. Remove the juices to a sauté pan and add 2 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of chopped shallots and 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley. Simmer until the ham is finished resting. Pour the sauce over the sliced ham upon serving.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Las Vegas, Nevada. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Las-Vegas for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures. Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.


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