In Recipes

Chef Mark Hittle. Photo courtesy of Bobby Q.

Can you even believe Christmas is in just 3 days?!?! I am not sure how that it is even possible but boy, do I have a great gift for you!

Tips and tricks for cooking the perfect holiday ham or juicy roast beef that will wow your friends and family! I recently had the chance to pick the brain of meat master, Mark Hittle, Executive Chef at Bobby Q Great Steaks and Real BBQ. Bobby Q has been serving up some of the Valley’s best steaks, smoked and grilled meats and ‘que and the man behind the deliciousness is sharing a little bit of expertise. Check it out.

Yay Baby!: What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when preparing a ham or Christmas roast?

Chef Hittle: I have learned that the biggest mistake people make when preparing their food is having too much food in the oven. Sometimes patience is required when cooking and while it may be faster to put a lot of food in the oven, it will take longer for everything to cook and can affect the quality and texture. To ensure you don’t make this mistake, cook in batches and put in the extra time… it will be worth it.

Yay Baby!: Do hams need a glaze or can you get buy without one?

Chef Hittle: I like using glaze with my ham. I always advise people to make their own and avoid those pre-made glazes. One of my favorite glazes I have made has a little bit of cinnamon whiskey mixed into it. I encourage everyone to get a little creative with their glazes this holiday season. Make sure you don’t burn your glaze, so apply it about 20-30 minutes before taking it out of the oven.

Yay Baby!: Should hams or roasts be prepped or marinated/brined before cooking like a turkey is?

Chef Hittle: I always brine turkeys before cooking them, but I don’t find that necessary for hams. However, I do like to pre-season roasts for a few hours to make sure that it catches all of the flavors I want it to have.

Yay Baby!: Will you share a few tips for cooking the perfect ham?

Chef Hittle: When cooking ham it is to make sure you understand how long your ham needs to bake ahead of time. The cooking time of a ham can vary based on its weight, cut, and whether it is cooked or uncooked. EXPERT TIP: Loosely cover your ham with foil to help ensure that it doesn’t dry out and will cook evenly.

Yay Baby!: How about some tips for cooking the perfect roast?

Chef Hittle: When cooking a roast, I have learned that it is great to utilize vegetables. Layer vegetables on the bottom of the roasting pan to keep the skin from becoming soggy, and to help impact the flavor of the roast throughout. Now, as far as seasoning goes, make sure that if you want to marinate your roast, you do it a couple of days in advance so the seasoning can penetrate past the surface of the meat. You can get creative with your seasoning and combine different flavors to create a unique and flavorful combination.

Yay Baby!: What side dishes and/or accompaniments are a must for ham/roast dinners?

Chef Hittle: A holiday dinner is not complete without its sides and my favorites are a good sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, and fire roasted corn.

Yay Baby!: What will be served at your holiday gathering?

Chef Hittle: This holiday season I will be celebrating with tamales, pierogis, and of course, some cervezas!
Well, there ya have it folks, some advice from a meat authority! May your holiday feast be delicious, appreciated and shared with those you love the most.

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