Holiday Roasts with the Most
As a substitute for the traditional whole pig, we opt for easy-to-find pork butt (over pork belly or a pork belly–wrapped pork loin) since it cooked up evenly and offered the right balance of meat and fatty richness. To season and flavor the meat thoroughly and evenly, we cut slits in the meat every few inches; coated it with salt and an intensely flavored paste of garlic, rosemary, and fennel; and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. For quicker cooking and more presentable slices, we cut the roast into two pieces and tied each into a compact cylinder. We used a two-stage cooking method: First, we covered the roasting pan with foil, which trapped steam to cook the meat evenly and more quickly and also helped keep the meat moist. We then uncovered the pan and returned it to a 500-degree oven to brown and crisp the outer layer of the roast.
Why do so many people serve ham for the holidays? A better question might be, why do people serve anything else? A salty-sweet spiral-sliced ham is precooked (just heat, glaze if you like, and serve), sliced for easy carving, and feeds a crowd. These hams are big, easy, and delicious. But with so many products on the market, which one should you buy?