Reading Draft Premium Reserve Soda ROOT BEER. Photo by Lauren A. Little (Photo By Lauren A. Little/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
Root Beer Is The Key To A More Satisfying Ham Glaze
By Kalea Martin
It's not uncommon to see soda used in cooking, especially with meat dishes. When cooking pulled pork with soda, Coca-Cola is the most common, but if you're cooking pork in the form of ham, root beer is actually the better choice.
Ham glaze utilizes many of the same warm spices used in root beer, such as sassafras, sarsaparilla, ginger, licorice, and dandelion. Above all other ingredients, the sarsaparilla in root beer makes a traditional ham glaze better since it is sweet yet sharp, similar to licorice, and adds a unique layer of flavor that highlights the meat and any aromatics you add to it.
When you cook down soda, it reduces into a thick sugary syrup with a perfectly balanced sweetness. You can simply pour a can of it over the top of your ham, but the New York Times Magazine recommends first using it as a braising liquid, then heating it in a skillet until it's completely reduced before pouring it over the cooked ham.