I call this dish watermelon ham because it is so tender and juicy it is like eating watermelon.
This is a 2 part adventure. Part one is the cooker and part two is the ham recipe. This dish is quite involved but it is so worth it. It has been about 20 years since I have done one of these hams, now that I have, I wonder why I waited so long (it was really yummy). When I was in scouts we would pack in a ham and cooker to take on camping trips. It was a fun project and everyone got involved. We would take turns attending the ham as it took 5-6 hours to cook the 20+ lb. ham. Later it was a favorite at picnics, family reunions and other social events. This project brought back so many fond memories, it is a real pleasure to share it with you. I hope many of you will try this and I sincerely hope you will enjoy the experience. I am quite certain you will enjoy the ham. I used a 7.67 lb. shoulder for this instructable. It only took 1:58 to cook, that is 0:35 quicker than in a conventional oven. Ok lets get started with the cooker.
Step 1: The Cooker
What you will need.
- 18" wide aluminum about an 8' piece.
- Fresh tie wire (no rust and do not use galvanized wire) about 12' piece.
- 4 pieces #3 rebar about 30" long.
- 1 piece of #4 rebar about 24" long.
- 4 pieces of 1" chicken wire about 12" X 7" (4 holes wide).
- Wire cutters
- Pliers.(to help form chicken wire)
- Tin snips or shears.(to cut chicken wire as needed)
Step 2: Charcoal Baskets
- After cutting the chicken wire to size, roll it into a tube.
- Twist the ends together, 2 turns, with fingers or pliers.
- Fold down one hold high on one end of tube.
- Continue until all holes are folded down with lose wires overlapping.
- Tie/twist lose wires together to secure end of tube.
You will need to make 4 baskets.
Step 3: Setup the Cooker
I made a video for this but the file got corrupted so the pictures are kind of reverse engineered but they will still work.
- Place an 18" square of foil on the ground shiny side up.
- Drive a piece of #3 rebar in each corner keeping it as straight up and down as possible.
- Tie the piece of #4rebar (horizontal) to the tops of the #3 rebar at opposite corners.
- Add a piece of tie wire to the top of each post run it down 3 inches and bend it up to form a hook to be used to hold the baskets.
- Wrap a piece of foil (shiny side in) around the four post and secure by using a piece of tie wire to pierce the foil, while moving it in and out, in a vertical direction.
When disassembled the charcoal baskets can be flattened to store for another time.
Step 4: Starting and Maintaining the Cooker
I like to use match light charcoal to get the cooker started but you can use whatever you are comfortable with.
- Add 5 bricks of match light charcoal to each basket.
- Hang the baskets inside the cooker on the hooks and light from the top. (if you light the bottom it will self extinguish).
- Allow to burn down to coals before adding the ham.(can also be used to cook chicken...)
- Check every 15-20 minuets shake down and/or add plane charcoal as needed (do not use match light for the rest of the cooking process). Try to maintain 4-5 bricks at all times. If you are using a drip pan, remove it before adding charcoal or shaking down the coals. A little ash in the drip pan is fine. Just don't want big blobs.
NOTE: This cooker will scorch the ground so pick a place where that will not be a problem.
WARNING: Only use cooker in well ventilated area. Never use charcoal indoors or in a tent.
Step 5: Let's Get Redy to Yumble!
What you will need for up to 10lb. ham.
- 20oz. can pineapple slices.
- 16oz. jar of maraschino cherries.
- 1 cup dark brown sugar.
- 1/2 cup mustard.
- 1/8 cup cloves.
- Tooth picks.
- Ice pick.
- Small pan to catch drippings off the ham. (must be oven safe)
- Wire cutters.
- Tie wire (DO NOT USE GALVANIZED)
- Basting brush.
- Cooking thermometer.
Prepare the glaze:
- Open the pineapple and cherries and pour the juices into a 1qt. bowl.
- Add the mustard and brown sugar and stir well. There will be small clumps of mustard and that is ok.
- Set aside for later.
Step 6: Secure the Ham for Cooking.
- Cut a 7' piece of tie wire and arrange into a single loop creating 4 arcs of approximate same lengths.
- At the intersection wrap one wire around the other creating a loop.
- Repeat this with the other wire creating a second loop.
- Holding the top of the loop and the ends of both arcs create a basket to place the ham in.
- Place the ham I the basket and twist the wires together at the top of the basket until the ham is secure.
- Bend over the excess wire at the top to create a hook that will be used to hang the ham in the cooker.
- When placing the ham in the cooker it may be necessary to remove one of the charcoal baskets to make room for inserting the ham.
Step 7: Preparing/cooking the Ham
- Start by placing a pineapple ring on the side of the ham.
- Using toothpicks spear a cherry (not through the existing hole) and use it to pin the pineapple ring to the ham. best to use 4 cherry/toothpicks for each ring. Repeat until all of the pineapple us used up.
- In every square inch of area not covered by pineapple rings place a whole clove by stabbing the stem of the clove into the ham. In the skin area use an ice pick to puncture the skin so you can add a clove to that area.
- Coat the ham with the glaze prepared earlier.
- Place the ham in the cooker and adjust the charcoal baskets to center on the ham.
- Place an oven safe drip pan under the ham.
- Check every 15-20 minuets, remove drip pan, shake the charcoal baskets and add more briquettes as needed. (ideally maintain 4-5 coals at all times) replace drip pan and pour more glaze over ham
- Occasionally recover reduced glaze from drip pan and add back to other glaze.(leave glaze in drip pan for the last 40 minuets of cooking).
- Cook for 15-16 minuets /lb. or until the internal temperature reached 155°
- Remove ham and let stand for 15 minuets before carving.
- To remove the basket cut each wire top and bottom and slide wires out. Do not attempt to untwist the basket.
- Recover the reduced glaze from drip pan and pour over carved ham and serve.