Grass fed lamb or goat ham is a great variation on the classic pork, and can easily be done at home with a smoker.
Historically, making a ham was a way to preserve meat over the winter, and, as the fresh meats and root cellar vegetables grew more scarce, having protein ready to use during the cold months was a necessity in places that experience a cold winter. Come Spring time, the hams were ready to be used, and, likely needed to be.
With Easter right around the corner, our farmers and Chef Bergo got together to test and design a ham recipe for ham using either grass fed lamb or goat so that if you’d like to try making one sometime, you can. It takes a little refrigerator space, but it’s a great do-it-yourself variation on pork ham for the family, during Easter season or anytime.
Of course one of the best parts of a good ham is a glaze, so there’s one included made from maple syrup sourced close to our Farm in Wisconsin, and a little mustard. That being said, if you don’t feel like glazing them ham, or don’t have access to a smoker that can control temperatures, you could easily just bake the ham in the oven, or cook it in water or stock with vegetables as you would corned beef, until tender.
This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a veteran of the culinary industry, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef.
For the brine
- 3 quarts water
- 260 grams salt (roughly 1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
- 1 oz pink curing salt (sodium nitrite)
- 3 Tablespoons pickling spice
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1 bulb garlic, halved horizontally
For the maple-mustard glaze
- 5 cups maple syrup
- ¾ cup Dijon mustard
- Combine the ingredients for the brine and bring to a simmer in a stock pot. After the mix boils, chill completely, then immerse the lamb in the brine and weight it down in a container large enough to fit the ham. Keep the leg of lamb in the brine for 6 days, then remove.
- Remove the lamb from the brine and chill overnight, uncovered (optional). Before smoking, lightly score the surface with ¼ inch crosshatches using a sharp paring knife. Transfer the lamb to a 200F smoker for 3 hours. From here, the ham can be chilled until the day it will be served, and will keep refrigerated for 5 days.
- To serve the ham, heat the ham in a 225 degree oven for 1.5 hours or until a hot throughout, or until a thermometer reads 150 F. Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze, then baste the ham while it cooks as often as you can remember, preferably using a brush.
- When it’s time to serve, turn the heat up to 450, basting every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes, or until a rich, glossy glaze has formed. Allow the lamb to rest for 15-20 minutes while you heat up any side dishes, then bring to the table, carve and serve.