Posted in - Pork, Holiday Good Eats

Honey Smoked Ham

As you know Turkey is the star of Thanksgiving as Ham is to Christmas. Instead of spending nearly $80 on an overpriced honey baked ham, fire up your smoker and cook one yourself. As some of you may know my husband & I are the kings of DIY! We tried this recipe out this year and it’s better than anything you can buy. Delicious!

Go and buy 1 – 10lb. Naturally Hickory Smoked Spiral Cut Ham (the brand we bought was a Target Market Pantry).

These hams are precooked as you know; if you notice the directions it simply says to reheat the ham in an oven for a couple of hours until it reaches an internal temp of 140 degrees. It is perfectly fine to reheat it this way, but if you want to turn the ham into something spectacular, use your smoker and this recipe.

To create the “Honey Baked” effect on the outside of the ham I use two things: a Honey glaze and a seasoned sugar rub.

Honey Glaze

  • ½ cup Orange Juice
  • ½ cup Apple Juice
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Honey

Whisk these ingredients together over Med. High heat until it reaches a low boil. Reduce the mixture for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.

The first step in the process is to baste the outside of the ham with the glaze. I use a squirt bottle but you can simply brush it on the outside with a pastry brush. This step can get a little messy, so it’s best to have the ham in a shallow dish or aluminum pan.

Now it’s ready for the Seasoned Sugar Rub. Here’s the recipe:

Seasoned Sugar Rub

  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Natural Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado Sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (cinnamon ginger nutmeg allspice)
  • ½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika (Spanish will do if don’t have smoked)

Combine these ingredients in a ziplock bag. Then rub the sugar blend to the outside of the ham. Once the outside of the ham is covered with the seasoned sugar rub, it’s ready for the smoker.

Smoking Directions: To cook the ham the smoker needs to be between 275-300 degrees. We use a mild fruit wood like cherry or apple for the smoke. Since we’re essentially “double-smoking” the ham you want to stay away from stronger woods like Hickory or Oak. These will easily overpower the flavor.

Place the ham on the smoker and check it every hour. If the outside starts to look a little dry, use some of the glaze for basting. The entire cook is only going to take about 2 ½ – 3 hours.

The ham needs to reach an internal temp of 140 degrees before serving, but you don’t want it to get much hotter than that or it will dry out.

You can tell when the ham is ready because the slices will start to separate slightly and the outside will have that caramelized look. When it reaches this point, remove the ham from the smoker and loosely tent with aluminum foil.

Serving: It’s ready to serve after a short rest, but you can keep it warm for a couple hours by placing it in a dry cooler with a few old towels.

Carving a spiral sliced ham is easy. They’ve done all the work for you, just make a cut along the bone and free all the slices.

Be sure not to throw that bone away because it will flavor a pot of beans or can even be used for making pork stock.

Hope you enjoy this DYI “Honey Baked Ham”. Merry Christmas!!!

Posted in - Pork, Breakfast

Birchwood Cafe’s Savory Waffle

Asparagus, Cheddar and Quinoa Savory Waffle with a Fried Egg, Lemon Pepita Butter, Rhubarb Jalapeño Marmalade, & Bacon Lardons

Photo credit: Plate Magazine

Recipe adapted from Chef Marshall – Minnesota’s Birchwood Cafe’

Yields: 6-8 servings

Waffle Ingredients:

  • 1/2Lb asparagus
  • rice bran oil, as needed
  • 1/2C quinoa, uncooked
  • 1C brown rice flour
  • 1C quinoa flour
  • 1/2C potato starch
  • 1/4C arrowroot starch flour
  • 1T xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1T baking powder
  • 3C buttermilk
  • 3 eggs, large, lightly beaten
  • 1/2C cheddar cheese, shredded

Waffle Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut asparagus into 1/4-inch pieces and toss with just enough rice bran oil to coat. Spread out asparagus on a baking sheet and roast until nicely browned and crisp around edges, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small skillet set over medium heat, toast 1/4 cup quinoa, shaking pan occasionally, until light brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Cook remaining 1/4 cup quinoa in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain it.

In a large bowl, stir together rice flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, arrowroot, xanthan gum, toasted quinoa, salt and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 6 tablespoons rice bran oil, buttermilk and eggs.

Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and stir until smooth. Batter will be thick. Stir in cooked quinoa, cheese and asparagus.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Heat up waffle iron and lightly brush cooking surface with rice bran oil.

When waffle iron is ready, pour in 1 cup batter. Cook until waffle is lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep it warm, uncovered, in oven until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter.

Lemon Pepita Butter

Yields: 1/2 pound

  • 1/2Lb butter, room temperature
  • 1/4C pepitas, toasted and chopped
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • salt, as needed
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor and reserve refrigerated until needed.

Rhubarb Jalapeño Marmalade

Yields: 2 1/2 pints

  • 5C rhubarb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2C lime juice
  • 4 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • As needed salt
  • 6 1/2C sugar
  • 1 each pectin, box

Place rhubarb, lime juice and jalapeños in a large saucepan and set over high heat. Stir as it comes to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Stir in pinch of salt, sugar and pectin and bring to a fast boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim off foam and pour into clean jars and seal. Process jars, following manufacturer’s directions, or reserve in refrigerator until needed.

Bacon Lardons

Yields: 8 servings

  • 1LB Slab or Thick Cut Bacon sliced into ½” strips and cut into batons

Preheat your heavy based frying pan until it sizzles when you add a drop of water

No need to season this meat as the cure will of done this for us.

Don’t overcrowd the cooking base, add the diced bacon and toss in the pan being careful.

Cook over high heat turning regularly until a rich, caramalization takes place then reduce heat to medium to continue cooking until golden and cooked through.

Note: The meat will become more firm as it cooks, gently press with your thumb, the more spring back you get the hotter the protein cells have expand which means the more well done your meat is.

Serve hot.

Sunny Side-Up Egg

  • 6-8 eggs
  • 1 T. olive oil (for 6-8 eggs)
  • large eggs
  • Toast, for serving, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over low heat until slightly shimmering, about 5 minutes. Crack an egg into the skillet; repeat with the other eggs, adding it to the other side of the skillet. Cover with a tight lid and cook, uninterrupted, until the whites are completely set but the yolks are still runny, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Slide the eggs out of the skillet onto the waffle.

Serve waffles with a dollop of pepita butter and marmalade, and a sunny-side up egg and bacon lardons.

Posted in - Pork, Breakfast

Savory Stuffed French Toast

Need a great Christmas Day brunch recipe?! This French Toast is perfect for that salty-sweet fix. The savory stuffed french toast is jam-packed with ham, swiss, scallions, and cooked in a slightly sweet custard.

Savory Stuffed French Toast

  • 1 loaf French bread, cut into 2-inch thick slices
  • 8 ounces ham
  • 4 ounces Swiss cheese
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, for cooking
  • Maple syrup, for serving


Chop ham into small cubes. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add ham and cook until it’s browned in spots, just a few minutes.

Let ham cool slightly and then stir together with grated cheese and scallions.

Whisk together milk, eggs, and cinnamon with a pinch of salt in a square baking dish.

Cut your French bread into large 2-inch slices. Using a serrated steak knife, cut each piece of bread down the middle, being careful not to cut entirely through the bread. Use the knife and your fingers to make a pocket in the bread.

Stuff each piece of bread with the ham and cheese mixture. Try to be careful not to tear through the bread, but you can also use a heavy hand on the stuffing. The bread can hold it.

After you’ve stuffed all the pieces, heat a griddle over medium heat.

Dunk the pieces of bread, one at a time, in the milk and egg mixture. Leave it in for a few seconds on each side so it absorbs the mixture. Don’t leave them in so long that they get soggy though.

Melt butter on griddle and add stuffed french toast pieces. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side until the toast is golden brown. Err on the side of cooking them for longer over lower heat. Also, be sure to stand the toast up on the two long ends for a few minutes also to really sear the French toast on all sides.

I like to cut each piece in half after it cooks to show off the stuffing and also make it easier to eat.

Serve stuffed french toast with syrup!