Hancock's Ham Balm™ and Baked Ham

It is with joy that I share my greatest achievement with you.


I got a cheap water-logged ham as part of a discount deal at the grocery store. I've been putting off cooking it because I couldn't decide what to do with it; and I knew it would need some special attention since it's such a low-quality ham.

This morning I made bacon in the oven for breakfast and was left trying to figure out what to do with the bacon grease in the sheet pan.

One of the many benefits of baking bacon is that you’re left with a wealth of clean, un-burnt bacon grease.
— Me

Then I had my life's eureka moment and I think it puts Archimedes to shame. I made a paste of mustard, garlic, salt/pepper, lemon pepper, a bit of horseradish, and bacon grease. The mustard makes a beautiful, thick emulsion with the grease that sticks to the ham really well.

I removed the ham from it's packaging, rinsed and dried it, and massaged the sweet, sweet Hancock's Ham Balm™ around all sides of the ham. I placed it on the same sheet pan with the bacon residue on it, tented it, and stuck it in the oven to bake per Serious Eats's well-considered method.

I stepped back to look upon what I had done, and I saw that it was good.

Ingredients for Hancock's Ham Balm™

  • 1/4 c mustard
  • ~1/4 c bacon grease
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1+ tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish
  • dash garlic powder

Also, one unsliced, bone-in shank-end ham.


Preheat your oven to 250 °F with the rack toward the bottom.

Mix all of the in Ham Balm ingredients, except the bacon grease, together in a bowl with a fork until combined. Add liquid bacon grease one tablespoon at a time and blend until the emulsion reaches a good consistency: thick enough that it won't run off the sides of the ham and thin enough that it's easy to massage onto the meat.

Rinse and dry the ham with paper towels. Roll up your sleeves and rub the Ham Balm all over the ham, including the cut surface.

Place the ham cut-side down on a lined backing sheet, tent it with foil, and bake in the oven until the center reaches 120 °F.

Remove the foil, crank the oven up to 450 °F and bake the ham for another 5 minutes or so while keeping an eye on it. You want the surface to dry out and brown just a little bit without flat-out burning.

Remove the ham and let it rest until ready to slice. Kenji provides some great instructions on slicing the ham in his full recipe at Serious Eats.

Yeah, I carved and sliced it with a filet knife. That's weird, but it worked well.