Tips for the Perfect Ham

Posted on
Sliced perfect ham

It is almost Easter and I can’t help but think of ham when it comes to Easter lunch. I have my fair share of hams and watched my mother, grandmother, and in-laws make perfect hams all my life. I asked for their tips and looked online at my go-to sources, now I have put together some of the best tips so that you can make a perfect ham this Easter.

What Ham to Buy

There are a couple different options when you go to buy your ham, city ham and country ham. A country ham is an uncooked ham that has been cured with salt and sugar rubbed straight onto the ham, these are not the typical hams you find in the store. City hams are pre-cooked that have been wet cured in a brine, then smoked and cooked. Most of what you will find in the stores will be city hams.

The package should say ‘fully cooked’ or ‘cook before eating’. It also should say Ham or Ham in Natural Juices. Ham is just that with nothing added, these are harder to find and are usually more expensive. The natural juices are mostly water but there is only 10% or less water by weight in these. If you see a ham that says Ham Water added it has anywhere from 11% to 49% of water in it (it will tell you on the label), which means the meat won’t have the same texture, there are also hams that say Ham and Water product that is up to 50% water and I would recommend not getting one of those.

Spiral Cut or Whole?

A spiral cut ham has its convenience of already being partially cut, but it also has its drawbacks. As it cooks it could dry out since the meat is exposed and your slices are the same and mostly thin. A whole requires more work to carve the whole ham, you get to decide the thickness of your slices, though. This is more of a personal choice, I have had both and prefer a whole bone in ham.

Tips to Cook you Perfect Ham

The Perfect Ham

What I and most people are used to having is a City Ham that is in natural juices. And for this, I am saying there it is a bone in ham.  These will have cooking directions that may vary slightly by brand, follow what the package says. Here is the most common method.

Print Recipe
The Perfect Ham
The Perfect Ham
Cook Time 2.5 hours
Servings
ham
Ingredients
Cook Time 2.5 hours
Servings
ham
Ingredients
The Perfect Ham
Instructions
  1. Score the fat/skin layer in a cross hatch pattern. This will help with the absorption of the glaze and makes for a prettier presentation.
  2. Place the ham with the bone side down on a rack in a roasting pan. Add in 1/4 inch of water and cover tightly with foil.
  3. Cook at 325°F for about 15 minutes per pound. It should take about 2 1/2 hours.
  4. When the thickest part reaches 130°F it is time to add the glaze. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F, brush your glaze over and return to oven. Baste every 10 minutes until the temperature is at 140°F for precooked an 145°F for cook before eating hams. The Ham should look glossy and the glaze should have carmalized nicely.

I’m going to share with you two glaze recipes. The one that I grew up with that my Nana and my Mom make. And the one that I have been introduced to since meeting my husband that his Dad has always made. They are both amazing and I love them each for different reasons.

Print Recipe
Pineapple Glaze
The ham glaze that I have grown up with. My sister I think could live off the pineapples.
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
ham
Ingredients
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
ham
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Lay the pineapple slices over the whole ham after scoring. Bake as directed in Ham recipe.
  2. Combine pineapple juice and brown sugar in a small pan. Heat until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes.
  4. Apply to ham as directed.

 

Print Recipe
Molasses Ham Glaze
Hubby's family ham glaze recipe.
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
ham
Ingredients
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
ham
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients and simmer until it has reduced and is slightly thickened,
  2. Apply to ham as recipe directs.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *