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How To Cook a Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam and Cloves

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How To Cook a Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam and Cloves and served with an orange and maple syrup reduction! Out of this world delicious.

Apricot-glazed Smoked Ham: a Savory Celebration

Introduction to Smoked Ham Leg

There’s a special kind of joy we find in the kitchen, especially when it involves preparing a smoked ham leg glazed to perfection. The aroma and sizzle are signals of a celebration, be it Easter, Christmas, or any festivity deserving of a culinary centerpiece. In this piece, we will share our adventures with a traditional ham recipe that transcends the ordinary, the apricot-glazed smoked ham leg. You’ll learn about selecting top-notch ingredients, the nuances of oven-roasting, and the art of crafting a luscious glaze that transforms the ham into a succulent masterpiece. But the delight doesn’t end there; alongside the roasted treat, a homemade sweet sauce adds an irresistible layer of flavor.

Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam & Cloves, the perfect blend of sweet and savory

Main points to remember about How To Cook a Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam and Cloves:

  • Ingredient Selection: Discover how using high-quality smoked ham leg and natural ingredients elevates the dish.
  • Glazing Mastery: Learn the techniques for a perfectly broiled and glazed ham with a delightful sweet sauce.
  • Serving Suggestions: Pair the ham with ideal sides for a complete, palate-pleasing meal worth sharing with loved ones.

Quality Ingredients for the Perfect Ham

We always emphasize the importance of quality ingredients when preparing this apricot-glazed smoked ham leg. This starts with 3.5 pounds of premium smoked ham leg, opt for a version that has been minimally processed to avoid that undesirable plasticky texture. Your taste buds will thank you later when the ham retains that sought-after tender and juicy characteristic.

For the glaze, natural apricot jam is a must, it should boast a rich fruit flavor without artificial sweetness. As for the cloves, they’re not just any old spice; their distinctive aromatic quality can elevate the ham to new heights of festive indulgence.

Your selection has a direct impact on the dish’s success. High-quality meat ensures a succulent texture, while the purity of the apricot jam enhances the flavor without overpowering the ham. Natural cloves are the pièce de résistance that tie everything together, ensuring each bite is a harmonious blend of smokiness, sweetness, and spice.

Preparation Steps

  1. Begin by Preheating: Set your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Prepare the Ham: Place the 3.5-pound smoked ham leg in a large casserole, and pour in roughly 1½ cups of water.
  3. Initial Baking: Cook the ham for about 2 hours until it’s cooked through and soft.
  4. Remove the Skin: After baking, take the ham out of the oven and carefully peel off the skin.
  5. Apply the Glaze: Generously spread apricot jam over the surface of the ham.
  6. Add the Cloves: Insert cloves into the ham at even intervals, according to your preference.
  7. Broil for Perfection: Place the ham back in the oven, and broil until the glaze is beautifully caramelized.
  8. Rest Before Serving: Let the ham stand for a few minutes to retain its juiciness before carving.

The Art of Glazing

Applying the apricot jam glaze to the smoked ham leg is where the magic happens. First, we spread a generous amount of jam over the ham, coating it evenly. The glaze clings to the meat, creating a delectable layer that will caramelize under high heat. We discovered a creative way to maintain this coating by placing an ovenproof dish beneath the meat. The raised angle prevents the jam from sliding off as it warms up and turns into a perfectly sticky coating.

When we slide the glazed ham under the broiler, the heat performs a spectacular transformation. The sugars in the apricot jam begin to bubble and slightly darken, infusing the ham with a rich, sweet, and slightly tangy flavor profile. This broiling step is critical, as it turns the glaze into a crisp, caramelized crust that contrasts deliciously with the tender, juicy meat beneath. Watching the glaze bubble and hearing the sizzle assures us the ham will emerge with a flavor enhanced beyond the ordinary roast.

Sweet Sauce on the Side

While crafting a festive ham, we felt a sweet sauce would be the perfect complement to the rich smokiness of the meat. Thus, we created a sauce on a whim, using just a handful of ingredients. We started by sautéing half to a quarter of an onion, sliced into fine slivers until they turned glossy. To this, we added approximately three-quarters of a cup of orange juice with pulp, for a citrusy tang, and about 50-75 milliliters of maple syrup, imparting a deep, sweet flavor. We cooked the mixture, stirring continuously to allow it to reduce and thicken into a luscious sauce.

This impromptu concoction proved to be an outstanding addition. The subtly spiced and caramelized notes of the orange maple sauce played off the saltiness of the ham, enhancing its flavor profile and adding layers of complexity. Together, the sauce and ham melded into a symphony of tastes that celebrated the savory and the sweet in each magnificent bite.

Round Off with Perfect Sides

We always serve this apricot-glazed smoked ham leg with classic sides that complement the sweet and savory main dish perfectly. Potatoes, either roasted to a golden crisp or mashed with a touch of butter and cream, offer a hearty, comforting element that anchors the meal. Green peas, bursting with sweetness and a pleasing pop of color, bring a light freshness to round off the plate. Together, these sides create a harmonious balance on your table, enhancing each bite of the tender, juicy ham with their contrasting textures and flavors. Such a pairing not only satisfies your hunger but also turns a simple gathering into an occasion to remember.

Final Touches to Your Festive Feast

We wrap up our kitchen adventure feeling triumphant, the fragrant aroma of apricots and cloves still lingering in the air. This smoked ham leg, tender and juicy with its perfectly broiled glaze, stands as a testament to the simple joys of cooking a meal that is bound to impress. From the careful selection of ingredients to the thoughtful preparation, every step has led to this moment: a festive feast ready to be shared with loved ones.

We encourage you to don your apron, embrace the sizzle and pop of the oven, and embark on your culinary journey with this delectable recipe. Imagine the smiles, the toasts, and the shared stories around the dining table as you all dig into the succulent ham complemented by sweet sauce and hearty sides.

Your experiences, twists on the traditional, and moments of shared happiness are precious. We invite you to tell your story in the comments below, let’s inspire each other and celebrate the profound connection that food brings to our lives.

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an image of a Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam and Cloves in various stages of cooking

How To Cook a Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam and Cloves

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  • Author: EsmeSalon
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings depending on size 1x


Craving something deliciously smoky and sweet? Try this Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam and Cloves, a perfect blend of flavors that will tempt your taste buds.




  • ± 3.5 pounds of Smoked Ham Leg (use the best quality you can get, not the overprocessed version, which is rather plasticky in texture)
  • ± 7-10 tsp Apricot Jam
  • ± 20-30 Cloves


  • 1/4 to 1/2 onion, finely sliced in slivers
  • ± 3/4 cup of orange juice with pulp
  • ± 10 tsp (50-75 ml) of maple syrup



  1. Place ham leg in a large casserole with ± ½ cup of water and cook for ± 2 hours at 350F / 180C.
  2. Once cooked through and soft remove the skin.
  3. Spread Apricot jam (you decide how much)
  4. Spike with Cloves (you decide how much)
  5. Return to oven and broil until you have the perfectly toasted topping (as per your preference)
  6. We placed an overproof dish below the Smoked Ham Leg to raise the fatty portion with the jam to make sure the jam does not drip off (it will melt) but most should remain on the ham.
  7. We had this 3.5-pound Smoked Ham Leg in the oven for roughly 3 hours in total (cooking as well as roasting time) and it was so tender and still so juicy.
  8. Served with potatoes and green peas.


  1. We also prepared a sweet sauce, but this was done by the seat of our pants, no real measurements taken and NO recipe used, we winged it:
  2. Sauté the onions in a large enough pot until glossy.
  3. Then add the juice, and maple syrup and cook while continuously stirring to reduce and until it starts to thicken.
  4. Serve over the meat.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 636
  • Sugar: 14.7 g
  • Sodium: 178.9 mg
  • Fat: 25.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.8 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.8 g
  • Fiber: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 78.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 248.7 mg
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an image of a Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam and Cloves in various stages of cooking
Bring a pleasure-loving touch to your table with our Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam & Cloves

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6 thoughts on “How To Cook a Smoked Ham Leg with Apricot Jam and Cloves”

  1. Ooh this sounds so good! We made a huge batch of apricot jam over the summer and I’ve been eating it so much lately. So good to cook with!!! I have an SA chicken and apricot recipe in my lineup… you know, the one with Italian dressing and onion mix? No one knows it in these parts!

    • Love a good homemade jam, made lots of it in the past, but now that it’s only two of us, I do not do jams anymore. That SA chicken and apricot recipe sounds awesome. Looking forward to it.


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