Grilled Ham with Honey Bourbon Glaze

Grilled Ham with Honey Bourbon Glaze

My wife’s family is coming over for Easter. And my wife, the ham fanatic, insisted on a double smoked ham from Sherman Provision.

Lucky for her, I ordered two - one for Easter dinner, and another for this blog post. One of the weird side effects to blogging is you get two holiday meals - the actual holiday, and the one you cook a few weeks ahead of time for the blog.
This is a problem when the recipe doesn't quite work and I have to cook it a few times to get it right. "Daaad, do we haave to have Thanksgiving turkey agaaain?"

This time I got it right. My wife and kids started circling as I brought the glistening ham in from the grill. I had to beat them back with my grill spatula to get the pictures for this post - they kept trying to pick pieces of the crust off while I was setting up the camera. Once I had my pictures, I started carving, and for a while I couldn’t keep up with them. About a quarter of the ham disappeared from the cutting board before I put the knife down and asked if we could actually sit down to eat. They slunk off and set the table.
When I turned my back, my wife grabbed another piece of ham.

So, here is my easy grilled ham, glazed with honey, bourbon, and mustard. Cook it low and slow until the ham is reheated, brush it with a few layers of glaze, then carve and serve.

Recipe: Grilled Ham with Honey Bourbon Glaze

Dad Cooks Easter Dinner 2014

I have to confess. My Easter tradition is ending our Lenten fast with a charcoal grilled steak after midnight mass, accompanied by the best bottle of red wine we have in the house. Or, should I say, that was my tradition. We’re a 7:30AM mass family now - with the kids, we have not gone to midnight mass in over a decade.

That doesn't mean I gave up on my Easter Eve steak. This year? A thick cut ribeye with asparagus, baked potatoes, and my last bottle of 1997 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
And, with that bottle, I'm out of great wine. Someday I’ll get back to wine country. Until then, it’s cheap wine for me.

For Easter itself, the main course comes down to: are you a ham or lamb person? Either makes a great centerpiece for the dinner table. Here are some of my recipes:

PicOfTheWeek: Thin sliced peppers and onions

PicOfTheWeek: Thin sliced peppers and onions, ready to top a steak on the grill. (Recipe coming soon.)

Grilled Chicago Char Dog

I visit Chicago fairly often - my aunt and uncle live in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Every time I’m there, I make sure to get some Chicago dogs. Superdawg drive-in was my favorite, but I’m not picky - I’ve never met a true Chicago dog that I didn’t like.

Then I went to Chicago for IACP14, and found out about char dogs at Downtown Dogs. You people! You were holding out on me! Grilled hot dogs instead of boiled? Of course I want one.

When I got home, I had to make my own char dogs. Now, Chicago hot dogs have a very specific set of ingredients and toppings, which make up their “dragged through the garden” style:

An all beef hot dog with natural casing - Vienna Beef hot dogs are the gold standard - in a poppy-seed bun, with a kosher dill pickle spear and tomato slices laid alongside the dog. Top with mustard, diced onion, pickle relish (Chicago style relish glows green like Marvin the Martian), sport peppers, and sprinkle with celery salt.
Never ketchup. Ever. I’ve warned my kids: if you order ketchup on a dog, they will drive you to the city limits and dump you in Evanston.

It was a pain to find all of these ingredients in Ohio - see the notes section - but it was worth it. Normally, when I make a “blog meal”, the kids all groan in unison. But not on char dog night - they were hopping with excitement.

Thanks to Meathead at, a native Chicagoan, for his informative Chicago Hot Dogs post.

Recipe: Grilled Chicago Char Dog

Spring 2014 Cookbook Roundup

My "to read" stack is growing...

It’s spring, and flowers aren’t the only thing blooming. Spring also brings cookbooks. Most years, the spring batch of cookbooks has a lot of grilling selections, but not this year. Still, I'm looking forward to a bunch of cookbooks over the next couple of months…

Weber’s Big Book of Burgers by Jamie Purviance

Weber’s annual cookbook covers burgers this year - and, as usual, I can’t wait to see the recipes Jamie has for me.
*Note: Weber gave me a pre-release copy of this book when I visited a month ago. Thank you, Weber!

Gastro Grilling by Ted Reader

Ted Reader is Canada’s barbecue expert, and Gastro Grilling is his new cookbook about year round grilling. I was whining a lot about our winter…but a Canadian book about grilling year round? I know when I need to learn from the experts.

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz is known for his dessert recipes (and his fantastic blog). I’m not much of a dessert cook; I follow his blog for the stories about Paris and the occasional traditional French recipe. That’s exactly what this book is about - French home cooking and stories.

Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces by Marisa McClellan

Food In Jars is my favorite canning site, and Marisa McClellan has published a new cookbook, focused on smaller batches for people who work in smaller kitchens.
(Marisa was at the IACP conference in Chicago, and I was lucky enough to get a signed copy.)

Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient by Michael Ruhlman

Put an egg on it has become my motto. Michael Ruhlman has a book out on all the different ways an egg can be used in the kitchen? I’m there.

Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything by Donald Link

Mr. Link is a New Orleans chef, and an expert on Cajun food, but he’s branching out in this book. He explores traditional Southern food ways, from gulf seafood to Kentucky bourbon, and everything in between.

Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys by Steven Raichlen

Steven Raichlen leads guys from the grill to the kitchen. That’s the path I took - my obsession with food started on the grill, and exploded from there - so I can’t wait to see what Steven has to show us.

What do you think?

What cookbooks are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.

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