Christmas ham recipe | Saint Lucia Loop

Christmas ham is a staple in almost every Caribbean household that eats pork. For Saint Lucians, baked ham is a special dish that is usually only prepared at Christmas.

There are many recipes for baked ham, but the flavorful cloves and sweet pineapple complement the ham perfectly in this traditional recipe. Remember that the heavier the ham, the longer it will take to roast in the oven.

Have fun and Merry Christmas!


Ham (smoked / bone-in)

5 sprigs of thyme

8 cloves

2 green onions


1 cup of pineapple juice

1 tablespoon of grated ginger

1/2 cup brown sugar (golden)

2 tablespoons of honey

pinch of cinnamon

Arrange the ham during the glaze …

5-8 pineapple slices

10-15 cloves

toothpicks for securing pineapple slices

Note: If you are using a shoulder ham with a fat cap on top, be sure to place that side up when cooking. As the fat melts, the ham will remain nice and juicy.


  1. Rinse the ham (smoked), then place it in a large saucepan. Add the green onions, cloves and fresh thyme and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. This will help remove some of the impurities from the smoke while infusing them with herbal notes.
  2. Prepare to finish baking in the oven after draining. Set your oven to 350 ° F and use the bottom rack. Wrap the ham in foil and place it in a roasting pan. You will need to cook for about 20 minutes on average.

* Please use a roasting pan with a grid so that you can add a few cups of water to the pan without the ham touching it. If you find that the water dries up before it is fully cooked, add a cup or 2 more. This will help keep the ham moist.

  1. Prepare the icing while waiting for the ham to roast evenly. In a saucepan, combine all the frosting ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low for about 5 minutes. Remember to whisk until the sugar dissolves and everything is combined.
  2. When the ham is done cooking, it’s time to dress it and start the glaze. Remove the skin and most of the fat (a little is good), then evenly insert the cloves. Secure the pineapple slices with toothpicks and coat liberally with frosting (you can use a paintbrush). Then return to the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Repeat the glazing process several times, brush and bake for 10 minutes. The ham will have a nice glossy finish, the pineapple slices will have nice caramelized edges and the whole kitchen will have a nice aroma. Remember to apply the icing evenly. Turn on the grill (around 450 – 500 F) and leave the ham in for about 5 minutes for extra color. Keep an eye on it as the high heat can quickly burn it.

* You can add as many layers of frosting as you want, but three layers are ideal.

  1. Let the ham rest (cover with foil) before slicing.

Michael M. Tomlin