Baked Canadian Ham Shank

Baked Canadian Ham Shank

When I put a column together it sometimes comes with the memory of the first time I was exposed to the food item and its recipe as so in this instance. It was the early fifties and at five years old my father a hotel chef handed me my first set of cooking whites complete with cloth bag hat and apron. Actually this was a form of day care during my childhood years.

I recall this one day I watched my dad pick up the pace running back and forth filling the now hot ovens with a batch of whole roasting chickens and a large ham shank. While I got set up to peel some potatoes my dad was cleaning the fish he got that morning and was also receiving the daily hotel staples from the different suppliers. First to arrive was the JM Schneider’s team of horses pulling a rubber tired big blue and orange metal ice box filled with swinging meat. My dad called to me to quick get some carrots for the horses. I stood at the front of the Clydesdale team and there were four eyes staring me down. Boy, they sure new that a treat was in store and were chomping at the bit. I gave old Smokey the first one and Big Red got the next.

Back then the bread and milk was also delivered by a team of horses pulling a commercial wagon. I enjoyed feeding all the delivery men’s horses. My dad was standing at the back door of the ice box and the driver was coming out shrouded in a foggy mist with this big shank portion of smoked ham over his shoulder.

It was closely inspected by my dad and the man said it was pork raised on a St. Jacob Mennonite farm. Dad said to me that it was fed grains and hay rather than just corn and it was also naturally cured and smoked. It was equivalent to today’s non medicated organic hams. My dad would say that if the ham is naturally cured and smoked it was not necessary to use lots of salt brine to age it artificially.

I sourced this non medicated naturally smoked pork ham product at a Port Alberni BC farm and found that it is sold at Heritage Meats in Langley. I must say it taste just like the Ham I ate as a kid.

This Baked Ham recipe is one that I would make for our Christmas Dinner.










6 lb. Ham Shank

1 tbs of whole cloves


4 oz of ketchup

1 oz of cider vinegar

1 oz of Dijon Mustard

2 oz of honey

4 oz of crushed pineapple and its juices

Heat and blend all glaze ingredients together in a sauce pan and set a side.

Wash the portion of ham under tap water removing any salt and sediments.

In the sink fill with cold water and soak the ham for several hours. Repeat once more for a least 2 hours!

This will set up the ham and get rid of the curing salt making the meat tasty tender!

With a sharp knife make five cuts along the fat caps width about one inch apart.

Do the same lengthwise making a checker board effect.

This will aid in releasing the fats while baking and give you some pork crackling.

Insert about two to three dozen whole cloves into the various fat seams for flavour.

Place into a large roast pan and a preheated 300 degree oven.

Depending on the weight of your ham I suggest after being in the oven for one hour add a half hour cooking time for each pound. So a six pound ham shank will take about four hours.

Cooking at this low temperature will prevent loss of moisture shrinkage and scorching the glaze.

After the ham has been in the oven for three hours it is time to brush on the glazing sauce.

Brush on the glaze liberally over the entire surface of the ham and continue to bake for the last time period.

Remove and cover with aluminum foil and let rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

Side with some scalloped potatoes, baked yams and almond buttered green beans.

Toast with your favourite wine.