Roasted Pork Leg: Part of a Southern Christmas Dinner

This recipe is part of a Southern Christmas Dinner.

It is adapted from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table (Artisan).


1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Leaves from 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 bay leaves
Leaves from 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 dried chili peppers
2 tablespoons coarsely ground fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Fresh ham, fat trimmed and aitch bone removed, about 14 pounds
1)Toast the juniper berries in a small, dry heavy skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan periodically. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2)Meanwhile, add all the other ingredients, except the pork, to a large pot with 2 gallons of water. Put over medium-high heat. Stir periodically until it comes to a simmer and the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat, let cool and refrigerate until chilled.

3)Put the pork in the chilled brine and refrigerate 24 hours turning the pork over halfway through. Remove the pork from the brine wipe, dry and put in a large roasting pan at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.

4)Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

5)Put the pork in the oven for about 3 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 145 to 150 degrees. Remove and cover loosely with foil for 30 minutes before carving. Serves 10.

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