Wilkes County, located high in the mountains of North Carolina, produces some of the greatest country hams in the entire South, and without question the best in the county hang in Clayton Long’s ham house at Glendale Springs, about ten miles from West Jefferson. Like his daddy (“Mr.
Scrub the ham well with a stiff kitchen brush under running water, then position it in a large, deep, oval pan. Add cool water to cover and let the ham soak for 12 hours at room temperature, changing the water twice.
Remove the ham from the pan, rinse the pan well, return the ham to the pan, and add enough fresh water to come halfway up the sides. Add the molasses and brown sugar to the water, stir as well as possible, then add enough cider to just cover the ham. Add the onions and carrots and bring the liquid to a very low simmer. Cover partially and simmer slowly for 3 hours. Let the ham cool completely in the liquid.
Place the ham on a work surface, remove the skin and all but ¼ inch of the fat, and score the fat in diamonds with a sharp knife. Rinse the roasting pan well after discarding the contents, then place the ham in the pan on a rack fat side up and coat with the bread-crumb/brown-sugar mixture, pressing down with your fingers.
To serve, position the ham on a large, heavy wooden or ceramic platter and carve into thin slices with an electric or serrated knife.
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