Aretha Franklin's Queen of Soul Ham

Aretha Franklin once said to an interviewer that soul "could be many things to many people, because it is a feeling. Painters and artists have soul. Even a chef has soul." This recipe for glazed ham is a longtime favorite of the Franklin family, prepared for holidays, celebrations, or whenever the urge to cook it strikes. Aretha makes her ham the centerpiece of almost all her family gatherings, which are usually served as a buffet with each relative and friend contributing a dish.

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  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) fully cooked, bone-in ham
  • Cloves
  • 1 (16 ounce) box light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons French's mustard
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 (12 ounce) ginger-ale (preferably Vernor's)
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple rings
  • Baker's coconut for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a paring knife, score the ham, creating a diamond pattern. Insert cloves into the corners of each diamond.
  3. Place the ham on a rack set in a 12 x 15-inch roasting pan.
  4. Cover loosely with foil, and bake until ham appears juicy, about 30 minutes.
  5. Place brown sugar and mustard in a medium bowl, and stir to combine. Gradually add ginger ale to brown sugar mixture until a pourable consistency is achieved; you may not need the whole can.
  6. Remove ham from oven and remove foil. Pour brown sugar mixture over ham, and, using a pastry brush, coat the sides.
  7. Cover ham with foil, return to oven, and cook for 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes. Remove foil for last 20 minutes.

Serves 12.

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