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By: Pat Downs, Sweet Yellow Cornbread

My family would gather each Sunday to have a Sunday meal together. I grew up the seventh child out of seven. My mama would cook the standard three meals a day for as long as I can remember. However, Sundays were always special. All the siblings would gather around the table and fight over those famous cathead biscuits. The challenge was to see who could grab the middle biscuit first.  I did not stand much of a chance, since I was much younger than the rest.

Easter was a big celebration in our family. The table was always set with the ham to be the centerpiece of the table. We could not wait until it was time to eat. Afterwards, we would take our baskets and head to the Easter hunt. You can imagine growing up with six older siblings, how many eggs there were to find.

It was a tradition for us to boil and dye our own eggs. My mama loved to hard boil and dye eggs in all the colors. She would purchase a few of the plastic eggs to hide dollar bills in them. A few months later, we would always get a big stink of a surprise. You guessed it; we did not find all the eggs.  Mama and daddy would forget where they hid all the eggs. Such great memories we all must pass along stories to our children and grandchildren today.

Fast forward the clock and the tradition of the Easter Sunday ham still exists. I still enjoy making the ham the centerpiece of the table.  The aroma of the ham basting in the oven brings back all the memories I had as a youngster waiting for it to get done.

I always trust Petit Jean Meats to deliver the best quality smoked spiral ham for the center of my table.  Petit Jean Meats is located right here in my home state of Arkansas. Each of their Ozark Hickory Smoked Spiral hams are hand trimmed and seasoned and smoked in an old-fashioned smokehouse. The hams are smoked using hickory chips for at least 16 hours.  The smoky flavor is rich, moist, and tender.  

I love to create my own glaze recipes to baste my ham for warming up. An Easter favorite at my house is the Maple Brown Sugar Orange Glaze. This glaze is delicious and is easy to make.  The orange flavor combined with the sweetness of the maple brown sugar is divine. The ham sparkles as it sits on the table.

This year we had an early Easter Celebration with some friends. I chose the Petit Jean Spiral 7-9 pound ham.  This ham feeds around 15 people.  The smoky flavor combined with my glaze is a big hit.  I served it “charcuterie” style.   The ham was the centerpiece along with a beautiful spinach, apple smoked bacon salad filled with dried cranberries, and maple pecans.  I layered a variety of cheese on top that were cut with little pig cookie cutters.  Of course, I brought back the tradition of the “cathead” biscuits to the charcuterie platter.

Maple Brown Sugar Orange Glaze


  • 1 - 11 ounce can of Mandarin Oranges (You will use the juice)

  • 1/2 cup of Maple Bourbon Syrup

  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar

  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice (No Pulp)

  • 1 Teaspoon of Organic Cinnamon

  • 3 Tablespoons Orange Marmalade 

  • 2 Teaspoons of Corn Starch

Directions for Maple Brown Sugar Orange Glaze

In medium saucepan:

  1. Pour in the juice from the 11 oz can of Mandarin Oranges – (you can save the oranges for eating later)

  2. Add maple syrup to saucepan.

  3. Whisk in corn starch, orange marmalade, and orange juice. 

  4. Whisk in 1 /2 of the cup of light brown sugar.   Reserving the other 1/2 cup for basting ham

  5. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, whisking often.

  6. Remove from heat and cool slightly before glazing ham.

How to Glaze Spiral Ham

The Petit Jean Meats Spiral Ham is fully cooked when you purchase it from 

Therefore, you will just be reheating with the glaze to create a delicious holiday ham.

Instructions for Baking Ham:

  • Preheat oven to 325° 

  • Set your ham out on the counter to rest for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. 

  • Unwrap and drain ham. Place on a clean baking sheet.

  • Brush or rub 1/2 cup of reserved light brown sugar all over ham.

  • Pour and brush Orange Maple Glaze all over ham and in between slices. 

  • Cover with foil and bake about 10 minutes per pound until internal temperature reaches about 140 degrees.   (About 1 – 1.5 hours for the 7–9-pound ham.)

**Note:  Spiral hams should be double wrapped in foil prior to heating to retain moisture.

Visit for ideas on Easter tablesettings.
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