Pig for the Win!

Thanksgiving.

In my family, Thanksgiving consists of lunch at my parent’s house. My mom’s family and my siblings + offspring invade the house from noon till dark. Everyone consumes way too much food, stories and jokes are swapped, and strategies for 5 a.m. shopping are planned for the following day. Each year I fail to recognize several cousins, because last year surely they were still infants. Staples like chicken and dumplings, broccoli and rice casserole, the ever-present turkey and some form of green beans and white rolls are always present.

At the risk of sounding avant-garde, turkey is not my protein of choice. Meat rarely finds itself onto my plate, and when it does it has to be really, really good. Like free-range, grass fed organic good. My tastes/preferences/food awareness has expanded such in the last couple of years that traditional thanksgiving food has lost its once hallowed luster. I have huge aspirations of revamping thanksgiving dinner.

But thats more of a dream and less of a reality.

However, my mother purchased a ham for this Thanksgiving, and happily turned it over to my willing hands. I love a nice piece of pig, and I feel that it is quite the overlooked fare. I will now bodly assume that most people just get a ham, pop it in the oven, and expect it magically turn out good without doing anything to it. Perhaps they assume that the (presumably) underpaid worker who packaged their meat treated and smothered their ham with something delicious, and it will not turn out bland and dried from improper cooking? (shudder)

That kind of thinking is exactly what I want to run fast away from. Sprint away from actually, wearing metallic-gold shoes. Thanksgiving is the one holiday dedicated to the blessings that the merciful Lord has provided to us in the form of food, and I feel that culinary prowess is put aside way too often for the convenience of the overly-processed.

However. That can be avoided when you use The Glaze to turn a ham into The Pig.

That is the only picture of The Pig that made it. It was gobbled up (HA. thanksgiving pun.) really fast and left only the Pig Bone. What made this Pig so tasty was The Glaze. The. Glaze. Wow. I really enjoy things that taste good, but this was on the side of staggeringly good. I’m sure it would be great with pork loin, or a nice addition to a pulled-pork sandwich. Either way, this will make people who don’t even like Pig (otherwise know as ham) really like it.

I can’t remember how I came up with this recipe. It was a result of some internet skimming, word-of-mouth from my mother, and a conglomeration of things we had on hand and past experience. Regardless, this is so. good.

Pig Glaze

1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 orange

juice of 1 can + half the fruit of a can of pineapple

2-3 tbsp of dijon mustard

1/2 tsp of ground cloves

1/3 cup of fruit preserves (I used cantaloupe + mint jam I found in the fridge)

Put everything in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Let everything boil a couple of minutes, then turn off the burner. Use an immersion blender (I’m sure a food processor/regular blender will work fine, you just might want to let it cool first) to blend the bits of pineapple. Store in the fridge till ready to smother The Pig with.

Cook The Pig according to the directions indicated for its size. We had a “whole” ham, the equivalent of about 8 pounds. Otherwise, follow these: Cook Pig covered for 1 1/2 hours at 275 degrees. Take The Pig out, put 1/2 of the Glaze on Pig. Back in the oven, uncovered, for 15 more minutes. Remove Pig, then baste in its own juices. Put the rest of the Glaze on the Pig and cook for another 15 minutes.

By this time everything should be nice and flavored. I’m sure basting again, and leaving in a warm oven for more time couldn’t hurt anything.

This Pig was enjoyed, make sure you save those tasty drippings for other delicious things!

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