Look What I Made Wednesday: Honey Baked “Ham” Chops

Here’s a quick reminder: No one is perfect.

Not me, not Mr. Perfect, not even that good looking celebrity that has a dozen or so helpers to make him or her seem perfect. Although, I’d give them the prize for getting the closest.

But it doesn’t hurt to try. Because in the effort to be flawless, you realize that your missteps are actually what make you amazing. (So there, porcelain-skinned celebrity).

Take these honey baked “ham” chops, por ejemplo.

Around Thanksgiving, a few of you sent me suggestions of traditional dishes that you wanted me to salt-free.

Like Uncanny Pecanny Pie

An update of some classic (aka, boring) green side dishes

And creamy, parmesan-ish mashed potatoes

I did my very best to recreate these recipes and I personally think, even though none of them were an absolute bullseye, that they all hit the mark. And their divergences from the originals made them more surprising to the palate. And my guests.

But then, there was honey baked ham.

Honey baked ham, by definition, is cured in salt, which forms that crusty, fatty layer on top and the flakey, brined skin underneath.

This was going to be a tough challenge and since November, I have tested multiple versions. Which means not only a lot of work, but a lot of pork. Not complaining.

The first attempt was a real fail. The meat was just too big. And this picture is pretty, perfectly ugly. No judgement.

I covered an entire pork butt (the cut of meat often used for ham) in sugar and molasses. The problem was that my hunk of meat was so large that it took an hour to cook and by the time I could safely slice into it, the pork was dry dry dry.

So I changed my game plan, and swapped a butt for a chop.

But this second attempt was just plain boring. It may have had a tasty sugar coating, but it wasn’t crisp or caramelized and again, the meat was too dry.

Finally, I switched to an even thinner chop and I used a glaze, not a sugar rub.

I basted, I roasted, I broiled, I smothered that chop with gooey love. And the result? A chop dripping with sweet juices. That looks nothing like ham. But has the sugary crunch you crave. Which deserves a second look.

So yes, just a reminder: I’m not perfect. Neither is this honey baked ham chop.

But if you want to talk about being impressive, then I won’t argue there. Cause cooking these chops will surely show you’ve got the chops.

And if you’re ready to make impressive low sodium meals, than one last reminder that you can join me this Thursday (that’s tomorrow) for a talk on living a limitless low sodium life put on by the Stanford Health Library.

Thursday, April 7th at 7pm at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center.

With a second lecture on Wednesday, June 22nd at 7pm at the Redwood City Public Library.

You can find more information about the series here: http://healthlibrary.stanford.edu/lectures/index.html

And please call 650-498-7826 to register for the event.

That’s all for today. I’m off to enjoy being positively not perfect.

Chow on.



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6 responses to “Look What I Made Wednesday: Honey Baked “Ham” Chops

  1. Michelle

    I think all three look awesome! I’m so impressed to tried to tackle honey baked ham. Thank you!!!

  2. I concur, all three look beyond tasty. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. All look yummy. We sell alot of our salt-free sausage seasonings at our store. Good to see salt-free, low sodium recipes for other things out there. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Jan! I am a big fan of Wassi’s salt-free sausage seasonings. Some of the first I ever used! Glad you found the blog and let me know if you ever need a gal to test some new salt-free products out! I know my readers would love it.

  4. AnnieOH

    No! I clicked all over the place and I did not find a recipe for that chop. Is it going to be in your cookbook? How long do I have to wait for that? I bet I could put that glaze on all kinds of things. Like bread. Low-sodium bread of course. Is there a recipe somewhere that I’m overlooking?

    • Hey Annie! The pork chop is going to be in the book….so you’ll have to wait for that glaze! But for the time being, one of my favorite ways to spice up pork is to us grilled peaches or nectarines. Or even plop on some warmed up jam on top. Fruit pairs super well with pork!

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