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Roasting Whole Fresh Ham - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Roasting Whole Fresh Ham

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  • Roasting Whole Fresh Ham

    Ok, after reading through the posts regarding roasting and slow cooking pork, I still have a newbie question:

    The recipe posted from the Forno Bravo recipe page describes prepping the fresh whole ham as "Marinating" for 2-3 days.

    Does this marinating approximate curing? Is the meat more like a cured ham, pulled pork, or roasted pork?

    Would like to take a try at a whole ham for Thanksgiving coming up and I have a father-in-law to please and would appreciate any help.

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  • #2
    Re: Roasting Whole Fresh Ham

    I'm not familiar with any of the recipes, I tend to do my own thing. That said, I have done all 3 that you have mentioned, in my oven - cured ham, Mojo pulled pork as well as smoked, and "seasoned" roast pork. I have simply adapted my in house, grill, and smoker favorites to my outdoor oven. It all comes down to 'knowing' your oven and adjusting your cooking times. I have found you can cook a lot of things at higher temps without burning or drying out (I start my Thanksgiving turkey at nearly 500 degrees and it comes out 10 times more moist than an indoor oven). You can also go the 'low and slow' route, just like you would in a dedicated smoker. IT ALL works in a Pompeii oven.

    My advice is to practice with something you are familiar with and do well in your gas/electric oven to get a feel for how your WFO roasts.........THEN tackle Thanksgiving.



    • #3
      Re: Roasting Whole Fresh Ham

      I'm trying to think about the logistics of marinating a whole fresh ham. First of all, physically getting the marinade around such a big piece of meat, and then, since it's since it's so big, what flavor would ever get to the center of the roast.

      I just cut off the rind and sprinkle it with seasoned salt. About the only way to make pork taste bad is to cook it until it's dry.

      Since you're not going to make gravy from a pork roast, I just put it on the oven floor on a sheet of foil, for easy cleanup. It's another big advantage of having an oven with a self cleaning cycle every time you use it.
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


      • #4
        Re: Roasting Whole Fresh Ham

        Marinade is not the same thing as curing, although the technique can be similar. Most cured hams are brined if they haven't been smoked. Brining is letting the thing sit in salt water (very salty water!) until the salt has penetrated the meat which helps preserve it. (Salt pork is something else again - you don't want to know.)

        A marinade is a seasoned liquid that meat is allowed to rest in until it penetrates at least part of the meat (time marinating varies by marinade and meat). Marinades are usually discarded prior to cooking although they may sometimes be retained as basting. Basting is seasoned liquid that is periodically brushed or poured onto baking or roasting meat. (You can probably technically baste with water but no one does - it's a why bother sort of thing.)

        In that recipe you are just marinading the thing. What it doesn't tell you is that unless you vacuum seal the thing you'll need to turn the meat periodically during marinading so that you get even penetration. Maybe two or three times each day should handle it. When the meat goes in the oven it is still raw - that is not cured ham. Buy a meat thermometer and make danged sure it gets hot enough inside.

        It is roasted pork if done per the recipe. It's a fine line between baked and roasted but for this roasted is the more correct (they are often used interchangeably with ham).

        If you aren't big on the burnt skin version, you can try putting it in a big roasting pan and covering it with the lid or aluminum foil. That should protect the exterior longer. If you wanna get fancy, baste it with the liquid it's cooking in every hour or so as well*. Me personally I never bake ham w/o covering it because pork likes drying out and does so quickly (the searing it'll get if you leave it uncovered may slow that down). That said, I've never made that particular recipe or baked any ham in a WFO so your mileage may vary.

        *The better sealed the less you need to baste.
        Last edited by Archena; 11-07-2009, 06:23 AM.
        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

        "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka


        • #5
          Re: Roasting Whole Fresh Ham

          America's Test Kitchen did some tests with marinade and debunked most of what people think about marinade. First, a short marinade of 30 minutes is better than a longer one. The marinade penetrates only about 1/16 of an inch or so, if I remember correctly. (You Aussies will have to convert that to metric, but it's not much). Because it penetrates so little, a longer marinade just makes the meat mushy. Brining is a different matter. It does a different job than marinade.

          Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America

          My thread: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/j...oven-8181.html


          • #6
            Re: Roasting Whole Fresh Ham

            Thanks for the feedback from all. After discussing it more with my brother-in-law, he too called it roast pork, only it's a fresh ham. He warned the thing has to cook long enough to get to the bone, but even then it's still not going to look like it's done. I didn't realize it, but the ham he's always served at Christmas was a fresh ham, roasted.

            Since posting, my wife has sworn off a giant ham, and my oldest daughter is vegan, so... turkey for my wife, and a ton of bread for my daughter.

            I think if I make pizzas Wednesday night, bread Thursday morning, then stick a turkey in, I could let the oven fall and place a cured ham in at the front of the oven after the turkey has been in for a while. I don't think, let's say a pork loin, would roast well in the falling temps unless I a built another fire.

            Anyone know what temp range works well for a pork loin?
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            • #7
              Re: Roasting Whole Fresh Ham

              Check out my post on pulled pork... I used pork loin and it was incredible...

              Cheers Markhttp://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f25/...html#post71226