February 04, 2023

Country Ham

Back to the Good Eats project after a brief holiday + dieting hiatus. Originally I had planned to make Country Ham the finale to the season, but I’ve been having a tough time getting a bone-in chuck roast, so I thought we should get things moving again and do the ham now and the chuck roast last.

Getting a cured and smoked country ham here in Massachusetts appears to be next to impossible, so I ended up ordering one from Benton’s Country Hams. The smallest I could get was a 16.5 pound ham, which I have to say was way bigger than I ever thought I’d need from a country ham.

It arrived wrapped in paper, in a mesh bag:

ham in a mesh bag

I began by cutting off the hock with a hack saw like Alton did in the episode.


After that I popped the ham into the cooler. I began this on Thursday morning, and up until I prepared it for cooking on Saturday, I changed the water once in the morning and once again in the early evening.

On cooking day, I put the ham in a disposable roasting pan, filled it up about half-way up the met with Dr. Pepper, then added some sweet pickle juice to top it all off.

ready to cook

Like the recipe said to, I started it for the first 30m at 400 degrees, then put it down to 325 for the next 1h 30m. After this, I turned the ham and let it go for another 1h 30m. After that, the temperature at the thickest part was about 120 degrees, so I bumped the oven up to 350 and gave it another 30m to get to temp.

I then got the ham out of its Dr. Pepper bath and used my brand new electric knife to start slicing thin pieces off the ham.


Once it was sliced we gave it a try and … it was 100% inedible. It was like eating a piece of salt water. It was so bad I spit it out. I have no idea what went wrong with this, but it was a complete and absolute failure. I don’t know if it’s just what to expect with country ham, or if for a 16 pound ham you have to soak it for days longer, but there was no way were going to eat this. I had planned a whole dinner around the ham, and instead I ran out and grabbed a rotisserie chicken. It was just unspeakably horrid.

It’s too bad, and I can’t really say what went wrong. Usually my last recipe of each season had gone well, so I’m glad this on wasn’t to finish off season 4. Now I’m on the hunt for that bone-in chuck roast…

Country Ham

  • Crowd: 1/5
  • Ease: 2/5
  • Used a 16.5 pound country ham from Benton's Country Hams
  • Soaked for 2.5 days, changing water twice a day
  • Added an extra 30m at 350 to get it up to temperature
  • It could have been the ham itself, or maybe for 16.5 pounds you need to soak it longer, but it was completely inedible.