Carve the Roast Beast!

“And he.. he himself! The Grinch carved the roast beast!”

These last few days before Christmas, the stress of the season really starts to get to me. Sermons, articles, home visits, impromptu meetings, podcasting, and a dozen other things seem to fill my schedule. There never seems to be enough time to shop, wrap, write, visit, and prepare for the celebration of Christmas. If I don’t keep myself in check, and blow off a little steam along the way, it isn’t terribly difficult to drift into “grinch mode,” hating “who”-ever and the whole Christmas season.

Every December, the week before Christmas (give or take a day or two), I get to blow off a little steam as my wife and I host our annual Board/Staff Christmas Party. We open our home to those brave folks from our congregation who have partnered with me in the ministry of the Gospel, either working as volunteers or paid staff members. The days prior to the party we work hard to decorate the house; trimming the tree and dusting off the family heirlooms that we bring out each Christmas. The children clean the house, my wife prepares desserts and other dishes, and I have two tasks which I greatly enjoy.

First, I set out the bar, in all its glorious wonder. I drag out an inordinate number of bottles of every kind of booze and set up a respectable bar in my study. Occasionally I get to introduce a new cocktail or party punch for our revelers, which takes me back to my college bartending days. This year I did two punch bowls: my Grandfather’s Champagne Punch and Scarlett O’Hara Punch (a few years ago I made the classic Tom and Jerry).

Once the bar is set, I move on to the pièce de resistance: my Triple-Glazed Jameson Ham.

The Triple-Glazed Jameson Ham is a work of love. To feed 30+ people, requires a 20+ lb ham, and to properly prepare this ham requires around 4 or 5 cups of Jameson Irish Whiskey. Cooking it is an investment of time as well as copious use of one of Ireland’s finest exports. But in the end, this ham of my own creation, and the second and third helpings from our partygoers, is worth every bit of effort.

One of life’s simple joys is the ability to gather around the table with those whom you love. And a meal shared amongst family or friends, provides a joyous backdrop to lively conversation, laughter, and the simple realization of God’s precious blessings! Food is such a vital part of our lives and the opportunity to slow down, amid a busy season, brings clarity to the blessings that God gives to us each day, especially the gift of Christ the Savior born for us on Christmas.

A few weeks ago, in my daily devotions, I read these words, “The spokes of human life have always revolved around the table. There is hardly a more fundamental human activity than eating. From the tree of Life, to Passover, to the Lord’s Supper, God has sanctified the table. He feeds, we eat, and thereby we partake of His blessings in this life, even as we await the wedding feast of the Lamb in His new creation.” (“Unveiling Mercy” by Chad Bird, pg. 335)

I shared Chad’s words at our Board/Staff Christmas party because I believe now, more than ever, it is important for God’s people to gather around the table in fellowship with one another, partaking in the blessings of this life, waiting in hopeful and expectant anticipation of the feast of victory that comes on the Last Day.

This Christmas, you will have to eat something. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to gather around the table with your own family or friends, maybe you won’t. But this Christmas eat something special. Sit at your table and feast, but feast to celebrate the gifts of God, given for you, especially His Son, Jesus Christ and enjoy “who”-ever God has blessed around your table.

If you’re still looking for a menu option, I highly recommend my Triple-Glazed Jameson Ham. By popular demand, here is the recipe. Consider it my Christmas gift to you! 

What you need:

  • Spiral Cut, bone in ham ranging from 12-22 lbs.
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Mustard (I use 3 – French’s Yellow, Maille Old Style -w/ mustard seeds, and a Dijon mustard)
  • Brown Sugar

Preheat oven at 325 – 350

Before baking, score the top of the ham with a sharp knife (diagonal lines) so you can get some nice grooves to hold the seasoning.

Slowly pour 1-1 ½ cups of Jameson onto the ham, making sure that the whiskey gets into all the cracks and crevices. (You can also use an injector to inject the ham with Jameson, but I did that once and had an oven fireball.. oops)

Cover the ham with aluminum foil and bake. You’ll cook the ham 15-20 minutes per pound (bake it with the fat side up). For the first hour, you will leave it alone. Ham is baked covered until the last 30 minutes.

The FUN part – Jameson Whiskey Glaze:

While the ham is baking in a saucepan combine:

  • 1 cup of Jameson Whiskey
  • ½ -1 cup of Brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Old Style whole grain mustard seed mustard (there are some great Irish options of mustard seed with stout or whiskey as an alternative)

Stir ingredients well with a whisk and slowly bring to a simmer. You are reducing the liquid until it starts to get sticky and syrupy (be patient, this takes time and can get messy). You can add more mustard or brown sugar during this process if necessary (taste it a few times during the reduction, but don’t burn yourself).

The first round of this reduction I usually leave a bit watery.

At the one-hour mark, baste the ham first with liquid from the baking pan and then cover the ham with the whiskey glaze reduction. 

Cover and continue to bake.

From this point on, you will be basting the ham every 20 minutes with the run off.

I typically make the Jameson Whiskey reduction 2 more times, following the above instructions. When there is about 30 minutes left to bake the ham (you’ll need to judge based on temperature of the ham, not necessarily time cooked, you want the ham to be 140 degrees) I add the second reduction, this one is stickier (like watered down syrup) and bake uncovered (watch the ham so it doesn’t get overly done on the edges during this phase).

When the ham reaches the 140 degree target, I take the ham out and apply the third and final glaze, this one is very sticky (thick like honey). I let it rest for 15-20 minutes, then slice, serve, and enjoy. 

We usually set around an assortment of fancy mustards (chipotle, brown, horseradish, etc) and buns so that folks can serve themselves and make little ham sliders if they like.

When you stand above your masterpiece, pause for a moment to give thanks to God for all His good gifts, and then joyously carve your roast beast and bask in the fellowship of those whom God has gathered around your table!