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Maple Mustard
Glazed Smoked Pork Shoulder
By Charlie Burke

Click here for printer friendly version of this recipe

Pork shoulder, also called picnic ham or pork butt, has less meat and more fat
and connective tissue than hams made from the hind leg, but, because of this,
they are moist and tender, which is why I prefer
fresh shoulder for a slow roast
and smoked shoulder for ham.

We are fortunate to have high quality smoke houses in northern New England,
and just about all offer smoked shoulder. They may be a little pricier than
supermarket hams, but their quality reflects the close attention and care used in
their smoking. They also provide several meals, including great sandwiches,
and the bone is essential in making old fashioned pea soup.

We buy from
Fox Country Smoke House in Canterbury, New Hampshire which
is a short drive from our home. All New England smoke houses ship their
products, and locally smoked meats make memorable family meals as well as
holiday gifts.

Our home came complete with a sap house and wood burning evaporator, so
for the first few years we tapped a fair number of maples and gathered sap from
several long runs. It is hard work, and, boiling sap for long hours, there were
days I heard evening repeats of morning programs I had already listened to on
New Hampshire Public Radio.

We have given the trees and ourselves a rest the last few years, but we still have
a few pints of our own syrup in the cupboard, so I thought I would use some to
glaze this smoked shoulder. Mixed with dry mustard, the sweetness of the
syrup was balanced by the heat of the mustard, and both worked well with the
smoky saltiness of the ham.

One 6 – 8 pound smoked pork shoulder, skin on
¾ cup maple syrup, preferably grade B
2-3 tablespoons dried mustard, such as Coleman’s
1 cup dry white wine or water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the syrup and dried mustard, adding more
mustard to taste. Brush the ham with half the mixture.

Place ham, skin side down, in an oven proof baking dish just large enough to
hold it. Pour water or wine into the dish and cover the ham with aluminum foil.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes per pound. Approximately 30 minutes
before the ham will be done, remove the foil and turn the ham skin side down,
generously brushing the remaining syrup mixture over the ham. Continue
cooking until the internal temperature is 150 degrees. Remove and let the ham
rest, uncovered for 15 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 155
degrees.

This preparation could not be simpler, but it reminded us how good a well
smoked ham can be. Although the shoulder is naturally moist, adding liquid to
the baking dish and covering the ham for most of the cooking ensures a truly
moist result, and turning it and adding more glaze for the final cooking left a
substantial layer of flavoring on the meat. When we had sandwiches a day or
two later, a little syrup was mixed with Dijon mustard to recreate that great mix
of flavors.

It is definitely worth the effort to find local smoke houses. The product is
superior, and you are supporting a local business and local farmers, as well.
Check with your state department of agriculture for locations near you.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather
Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
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Photo by Charlie Burke
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