Anna Nurse's Baked Smoked Ham

Here is one of the most famous ham recipes anywhere, from Anna Amandolara Nurse, a truly lovely lady, generous and kind, and one of the greatest cooking teachers of all time.

You might not think of this as a particularly Italian-American recipe, but it is – maybe with an emphasis on the American. As Anna says, even at a traditional Italian-American Christmas this ham is always on the sideboard: “It may not be the main feature, but it’s always an extra added attraction.” When you put away all the perishable foods, the pies stay out and the ham stays out, ready for snacking at any time.

This ham has been the centerpiece of the James Beard Foundation fundraiser brunches that Anna has run for the last ten years. This recipe has also appeared in print many times, and there’s a reason for that: It’s the best! Anna uses Lundy smoked country hams from North Carolina because she likes their consistency-they’re never too salty, never too fatty.

Serves 8 to 12 as a main dish, lunch, or snack


  • 10-12 pound bone in ham
  • whole cloves
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 pound dark brown sugar
  • One 16-ounce bottle dark corn syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Place the ham in a shallow roasting pan. Score the fat and stud it completely with cloves. Pour the pineapple juice over the ham and bake for 12 minutes per pound.
  3. After 1 1/2 hours, remove the ham from the oven and carefully pat the brown sugar on top, completely covering the top of the ham. Gently pour the corn syrup over the ham, being careful not to disturb the sugar covering. Continue baking, basting every 15 minutes.
  4. When the ham has baked its allotted time, remove it from oven and continue basting until it is cooled-this gives it a beautiful glaze. The remaining syrup can be used again over a side dish such as yams, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes if you are serving the ham hot as a main dish. Otherwise, it can be left on the sideboard or kitchen counter at room temperature during the day for snacking purposes, then stored in the refrigerator for several days.
  5. Recipe printed from "Little Italy" by David Ruggerio. Artisan Books 1997

This recipe was featured on Season 10 - Episode 1010.

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Trish F

Hi everybody,
I wanted to tell everyone I made this recipe yestarday for my family Sunday dinner. I was a little taken back using a WHOLE bottle of corn syrup plus sugar, but it was truly wonderful, The ham was jazzed up with a nice glaze from the corn syrup, the meat was deliciously moist and the sauce from the ham, sugar and corn syrup was decadent. This is a must do. Want to find out more about this wonderful cook, and take her classes…Anna Nurse, you made my day, you turned a boring looking any day ham into a masterpiece….thanks


thank you!! for your Easter ham recipe I have been eating this exact one my whole life. It is absolutely wonderful. I just added pineapple rings and cherries just for presentation on the dinner table I would sjust put it under the oven broiler for a few minutes just long enough ti brown the edges ,so beautiful.




Where can I buy Lundy Country Ham?


Go to this website under ham and you will find Lundy smoked ham


Jennifer Bristol

My Sicilian grandma would make ham like this minus the corn syrup. Just basted with the pineapple juice and brown sugar. YUM!

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