With my wife out of town for work, I thought it was the perfect time for a second pass at a recipe from the Western Dubuque Marching Band Cook Book – canned ham. The first time, I had to modify the recipe because the ham came in a plastic tub. This time, I found I canned ham wthat was all can.
1. Modify the recipe: the original recipe calls for a 3-5 pound ham. The biggest ham I could find in a full can was a 1lb ham. So, I would need to reduce the amount of barbecue sauce and maple syrup. But that was not until later on.
2. Pierce the can: the first step in the recipe is to put 4-5 holes around the sides of the can using a can opener.
3. Bake: 325 for an hour.
4. Check the oven: about 45 minutes into the first bake, just as I was wondering about the prudence of subjecting a can to heat (even if it did have 4-5 air holes in it) I heard an explosion. Well, not an explosion. It was more like someone threw a basketball at the oven door. I turned off the heat and opened the oven.
There was ham everywhere. My biggest fear was that the can had exploded. Fortuntately, that was not the case. But, it did seem that steam from within the ham had forcibly ejected the meat out of the can. Extrusion, was the word I kept whispering to myself.
I discovered that the loud bang I had heard was a large quantity of extruded ham being projectiled at the over door. It then slid to the oven floor. It was gross – pretty much what you’d expect from ham being forced through a small hole at a high rate of speed and temperature.
5. Clean up: I let everything cool so that I could clean out the oven and clean off the baking tray that I had used to attempt to collect any ham can drippings. At first, the can seemed stuck to the can. When I finally did get it off, you could see the outline of where the can was baked. And I swear I can see Jesus in it.
With the top now open, I could see the ham in all its glory. For some reason, it reminded of the Canyon of the Crescent Moon from Indiana Jones.
Cutting through this ham was odd. The meat is really spongy, but not unlike the last time I tried to make canned ham. I tried to get out all of the ham from the can. But some of it near the air holes just wasn’t ever going to release.