Sweet Tea–Brined Ham

Sweet Tea–Brined Ham

Put a spin on your Easter ham with this sweet tea- and molasses-flavored recipe.

Sweet Tea–Brined Ham
Makes 10 Servings
  • 2 gallons water
  • 15 black tea bags
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar dark molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 (2×1-inch) lemon zest strips
  • 1 (6- to 7-pound) semi-boneless pork butt or smoked ham shank, scored if desired
  • 8 cups cold water
  • Garnish: lemon wedges, fresh bay leaves, fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. In a large stockpot, bring 2 gallons water to a boil over high heat. Stir in tea bags, molasses, brown sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, and zest strips. Turn off heat and let stand, about 1 hour. Discard tea bags.
  2. Place ham in a large container. Pour tea mixture over ham and add 8 cups cold water to cover. Chill for 12 hours. Drain ham, reserving 4 cups brine mixture.
  3. In a 13×9-inch baking pan lined with foil, place ham, cut side down. Let stand until ham comes to room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium Dutch oven, bring 4 cups reserved brine mixture to a boil until reduced by half, 30 to 45 minutes. Pour hot brine mixture over ham.
  6. Cover and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Uncover and bake 1 hour more, basting with brine mixture every 30 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from oven. Using carving forks, carefully turn ham, fat side up. Bake 1 hour more, basting every 30 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 140°. Let cool in brine mixture before serving. Garnish with lemon, bay leaves, and parsley.



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