Boiled Ham: Odom-Smith Family Recipe

Krystle Bos

The Odom-Smith Family was kind enough to share their sacred family recipe that has been passed down for generations.  Every Christmas Eve the entire family eagerly awaited the tradition of having “Granny’s” boiled ham.  After the death of their granny the technique was then passed down to the next lady of the household as a mother-daughter tradition.  Kim Odom-Smith has kept this tradition alive in her family by waking bright and early with her husband on Christmas Eve to prepare the ham.  The hock of the ham is saved to use for soups and stews in the cold winter months.  At 6:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve, Kim and her husband start by filling a large pot of water for the ham.  The ham must have just enough water to cover over the top portion with a full boil for about eight hours straight.  The family takes turns to ensure that the water level remains above the ham, adding hot water once the water line begins to recede.  Once done, the ham is sliced.  Christmas is the only time of the year when the Odom-Smith family prepares the boiled ham.


16-18-pound fresh ham with hock removed

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Place the ham fat side up into a pot of water.  Salt and pepper the fat side.  Keep the ham at a full boil, covered with water, for about eight hours.  When the water begins to boil down, add hot water to keep the water line above the ham at all times.  After eight hours, insert a thermometer to check for doneness.