April 6, 2011

Honey Baked "Ham" Chops

Here’s a quick reminder: No one is perfect.

Not me, not Mr. Perfect, not even that good looking celebrity that has a dozen or so helpers to make him or her seem perfect. Although, I’d give them the prize for getting the closest.

But it doesn’t hurt to try. Because in the effort to be flawless, you realize that your missteps are actually what make you amazing. (So there, porcelain-skinned celebrity).

Take these honey baked “ham” chops, por ejemplo.

Around Thanksgiving, a few of you sent me suggestions of traditional dishes that you wanted me to salt-free.

Like Uncanny Pecanny Pie

An update of some classic (aka, boring) green side dishes

And creamy, parmesan-ish mashed potatoes

I did my very best to recreate these recipes and I personally think, even though none of them were an absolute bullseye, that they all hit the mark. And their divergences from the originals made them more surprising to the palate. And my guests.

But then, there was honey baked ham.

Honey baked ham, by definition, is cured in salt, which forms that crusty, fatty layer on top and the flakey, brined skin underneath.

This was going to be a tough challenge and since November, I have tested multiple versions. Which means not only a lot of work, but a lot of pork. Not complaining.

The first attempt was a real fail. The meat was just too big. And this picture is pretty, perfectly ugly. No judgement.

I covered an entire pork butt (the cut of meat often used for ham) in sugar and molasses. The problem was that my hunk of meat was so large that it took an hour to cook and by the time I could safely slice into it, the pork was dry dry dry.

So I changed my game plan, and swapped a butt for a chop.

But this second attempt was just plain boring. It may have had a tasty sugar coating, but it wasn’t crisp or caramelized and again, the meat was too dry.

Finally, I switched to an even thinner chop and I used a glaze, not a sugar rub.

I basted, I roasted, I broiled, I smothered that chop with gooey love. And the result? A chop dripping with sweet juices. That looks nothing like ham. But has the sugary crunch you crave. Which deserves a second look.

So yes, just a reminder: I’m not perfect. Neither is this honey baked ham chop.

But if you want to talk about being impressive, then I won’t argue there. Cause cooking these chops will surely show you’ve got the chops.

And if you’re ready to make impressive low sodium meals, than one last reminder that you can join me this Thursday (that’s tomorrow) for a talk on living a limitless low sodium life put on by the Stanford Health Library.

Thursday, April 7th at 7pm at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center.

With a second lecture on Wednesday, June 22nd at 7pm at the Redwood City Public Library.

You can find more information about the series here: http://healthlibrary.stanford.edu/lectures/index.html

And please call 650-498-7826 to register for the event.

That’s all for today. I’m off to enjoy being positively not perfect.

Chow on.

Michelle April 6, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I think all three look awesome! I’m so impressed to tried to tackle honey baked ham. Thank you!!!

William Rose April 7, 2011 at 2:30 am

I concur, all three look beyond tasty. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Jan at Wassi's Meat Market April 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm

All look yummy. We sell alot of our salt-free sausage seasonings at our store. Good to see salt-free, low sodium recipes for other things out there. Keep up the good work!

sodium girl April 29, 2011 at 7:25 am

Thanks Jan! I am a big fan of Wassi’s salt-free sausage seasonings. Some of the first I ever used! Glad you found the blog and let me know if you ever need a gal to test some new salt-free products out! I know my readers would love it.

Christine April 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Am I simply missing the recipe? That pork looks sooo good, I wanna try it, but I do not see a recipe :o).

jessg23 April 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

Hi Christine! No, no recipe here as it is being saved for my cookbook (which is done, being edited, and coming out in early 2013!) But I hope to release a few of them early…so get your taste buds ready!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: