Chef John's Mini Christmas Hams

4 Reviews 3 Pics
  • Prep

    30 m
  • Cook

    20 m
  • Ready In

    2 d 50 m
Chef John
Recipe by  Chef John

“These cute, individually sized hams are firm, moist, and perfectly salty. Serve them over the holidays or for your next dinner party.”

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Adjust Servings

Original recipe yields 4 servings



  1. Combine 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, cloves, and bay leaf together in a large container; stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Place celery, onion, and garlic in a blender. Add 2 cups cold water and puree until smooth. Pour celery mixture into kosher salt mixture and stir to combine. Add 1 quart of water, or more as needed, to make a total of 2 quarts of brine. Place pork chops in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 2 days.
  3. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, Dijon mustard, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl and set glaze aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  5. Remove pork chops from brine and pat dry; discard used brine. Cut shallow slits along the sides of each pork chop, about 1/4 inch deep. Cut a crisscross pattern in the top of each pork chop, creating small 1-inch triangles.
  6. Heat oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over high heat. Cook chops in the hot oil until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Brush the crisscrossed top of each pork chop with about 1 tablespoon of glaze. Insert 3 whole cloves in the top of each pork chop.
  7. Transfer skillet to the preheated oven and roast pork chops until golden brown and slightly pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Remove pork chops to a plate and discard cloves.
  8. Using a small butane hand torch, brown the tops of the pork chops by making short passes over the tops with the flame not quite touching.

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Reviews (4)

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Canadian Guy

Canadian Guy

These turned out very well. Not the same boring ham one would traditionally have. I did add the 2 tsp of liquid smoke as the video showed. This made the taste much better. One more thing to not is make sure to stir or rotate the chops every night so that they coat evenly in the brine.



Very tasty! Just had them for dinner, and they're so cute too......although it was good, I'm not too fond of mustard glaze, so I think I'll make something sweet next time to offset the salt in the wasn't overly salty, but I think it needs something sweet to perk it up. One of the best things about them though is having no fat running through them, they're just nice and tender and meaty. I think these are going on my Valentines Day menu, with a raspberry brown sugar glaze, and I'll cut them into heart shapes and serve two per person...the scraps will be great for pea soup. Try this recipe, it's really quite good.



The ham's were moist and tender and we liked the flavors of the spices. But, it was way too salty. I did rotate the hams the first night and cooked them the second day. I don't know if reducing the salt would be the best or rinsing them off when you take them out of the brine. I used sea salt and did pat them as dry as possible. I suggest trying them before you use them for a special dinner.

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Amount Per Serving (4 total)

  • Calories
  • 790 cal
  • 40%
  • Fat
  • 21.8 g
  • 34%
  • Carbs
  • 61.9 g
  • 20%
  • Protein
  • 82.7 g
  • 165%
  • Cholesterol
  • 213 mg
  • 71%
  • Sodium
  • 13234 mg
  • 529%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet



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Chef John's Corned Beef and Cabbage


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Melt In Your Mouth Pork Chops