Atlanta Athletic Club Executive Chef Eric DaRin shares the secret to making his delicious homemade ham.

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Ham is meat that you can buy canned.

It is also a cut that you can treat at home.

The latter takes longer.

But in the kitchen, as in golf, good things happen to those who are ready to invest.

As the executive chef of the Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia, Eric DaRin is no stranger to efforts in the kitchen, efforts that yield all kinds of bonuses, including delicious homemade ham that plays a starring role in buffets. vacation.

With our stomachs rumbling, we phoned DaRin and asked him to prepare it with us: we asked the questions and he gave us answers on how to process and serve a ham, and what to do with leftovers (if you finish with any).

The cup

The word “ham” comes from the Old English “hom”, which means to bend the knee. This is a good indication of the cut you are looking for: the fleshy part of a pig’s hind leg. You want fresh ham, preferably bone-in. Good quality is essential. DaRin recommends going to a butcher for the best cut possible.

The treatment

There are several kinds of brine. DaRin is kept relatively simple: a base of curing salts, sugar and water, with a blend of herbs and spices, including cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, onion, brown sugar, rosemary and thyme. Inject the brine into the meat, as close to the bone as possible, then cover all the ham with the remaining brine and place it in the refrigerator to soak. DaRin’s rule of thumb is one brine day for every two pounds of meat.


After brining, if you don’t want things to be too salty, soak the ham in water for a few hours and then dry it. At the club, DaRin smokes his ham to deepen the flavors, using a blend of hickory, oak, and cherry granules as the heat source. It starts at low temperature (185-200 degrees), until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees. Then he increases the heat to around 225 to get a caramelized crust.


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During the last hour to an hour and a half of smoking DaRin applies frosting every 20 to 30 minutes, his choice is a mixture of bourbon, brown sugar, and apple juice.

Another option: cooking

You can still cook your ham instead of smoking it. Use the same brining process, then roast at 325 degrees, covered with foil, until the internal temperature reaches 130, then remove the foil and turn the oven up to 425 degrees and roast to that the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145-150 degrees. It will also help produce a nice crust. DaRin recommends adding a little chicken broth and Coke in the baking dish to help keep the meat moist. In the last hour, remove foil and frosting every 20 minutes. When cooking, DaRin uses a different glaze than it uses in the smoker: it brushes the meat with Dijon mustard and brown sugar, as well as cooking juices. Other frostings he enjoys include pineapple-chipotle and sour cherry. He has also had success with root beer and Dr. Pepper-based icings; sugar helps balance salt.


Let the ham rest for 30 minutes, then turn it into a centerpiece by cutting in half and leaving the rest whole. No need to garnish. Presented on a platter, says DaRin, your ham will make a mouthwatering display.


The classics should be enough.

Think mac and cheese (or truffle mac and cheese for a high turnover); roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta and caramelized shallots; green cabbage; and good yeast buns or cornbread.


There are countless ways to reuse ham. DaRin favorites include the devil ham salad and ham croquettes. The ham and bean (or ham and potato) soup is also superb, with a broth made from the ham bone.

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A golf, food and travel writer Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all GOLF platforms. His work has been featured in an anthology in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.