One of my pet peeves is a dry ham. A fully cooked ham is FULLY COOKED. It should be warmed gently, not placed in a blast furnace for hours on end.
This is one of the reasons I wasn’t a big fan of spiral sliced ham, people overcook it and it is like eating jerky. By the way, a fully cooked ham doesn’t need to be reheated at all – it can be safely served cold or at room temperature.
- I just love learning new tips and tricks! America’s Test Kitchen has a great tip for perfectly moist spiral sliced ham that incorporates the use of a oven bag along with soaking the ham, still wrapped in it’s vacuum sealed packaging, for 90 minutes in hot tap water. Since ham should only be heated to an internal temperature of 120° and my hot tap water is about 120° plus the use of the cooking bag, which cuts down the cooking time by at least 30 minutes, the risk of a dry glazed ham is minimal. Brilliant!
- This is how it works:
Remove ham from refrigerator, leave it in it’s vacuum sealed plastic wrap. Place in a large container and cover with hot tap water. Allow to soak for 45 minutes. Drain the water and refill again with hot tap water and soak for another 45 minutes.
- After 90 minutes of soaking in the hot water, remove ham from packaging (including the plastic disk on the cut side of the bone) and place into a oven bag. Cut a couple of slits in the oven bag. (I suggest inserting a probe thermometer through one of the slits into the ham.) Bake at 250° for 10 minutes a pound or to an internal temperature of 100°.
- Increase oven temperature to 350° Open and pull back the oven bag. Brush the ham with your glaze, return to oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven brush with glaze again and allow to rest, loosely tented with foil, for 15 minutes. Carve and serve!
Reynolds Cooking Bags: One of the most under utilized items for heating ham! (No – they didn’t pay me to say that!) Why? Because they help keep the ham MOIST. Reynolds Kitchens recommends using the Large size cooking bags for roasts under 8 pounds. The Turkey sized bags should be used for cuts of meat larger than 8 pounds.
Ham and aluminium foil: I don’t know if this has ever happened to you but when a fully cooked ham is placed in a roasting pan and covered with aluminium cooking foil, some strange (icky) chemical reaction takes place. It can leave ‘foil’ residue on the ham. To avoid this, either use a large cooking bag or place the ham, face down in a roasting pan, add liquid (ginger ale) cover with a sheet of parchment and then with the foil to seal the pan. Cook as directed and you won’t experience that weird aluminium foil reaction.
I need to tell you up front that I personally am not a big fan of ‘sweet’ meat. I prefer ham to taste like HAM. But, I do make an exception for my ‘Honey Baked Ham’ knock off recipe, which I will share with you. It is a little more work than an ordinary ‘ham’ but there is a reason that these hams run hundreds of dollars!
So what is the secret to moist, flavorful, not too sweet ham? Ginger ale! Yes, you read that correctly. Moist heat produces moist meat and ginger ale is just the right thing to do the job correctly with ham. Don’t go using that diet stuff – get the real stuff, sugar and all. If using the above mentioned method soaking the sealed ham in hot water for 90 minutes you don’t have to add a lot of ginger ale, just enough to barely steam it.
Slow Cooker Ham on AllRecipes is the top rated slow cooker recipe.
Someone out there is going to ask about cooking their ham in a slow cooker. Personally, I don’t care for this method but it may work for you and if you really like sweet ham this might be the perfect recipe for you. It has 859 good reviews on Allrecipes and a great video to go with it so I think I might be in the minority as far as ‘sweet’ meat goes!
This recipe has you cooking the ham on low in a slow cooker for 8 hours with 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar. Please note that a spiral sliced fully cooked ham the cook time will be closer to 4 hours – I would do even less! Newer slow cookers cook a lot hotter than older models!
So what are you going to glaze / dip that ham in? I have a couple of suggestions!
Apricot Honey Ham Glaze by CAG on Allrecipes is wonderful. It is great dipping sauce or a glaze. A wonderful combination of Apricot jam, honey, mustard and marmalade. Maille mustard would be awesome in this!
America’s Test Kitchen offers 2 suggested glazes that you might want to check out. One for Maple Orange Glaze and another for Cherry Port Glaze.
Speaking of dipping – what goes better with ham than mustard! I would like to recommend Maille Mustard of France. A few of my fellow foodie friends have been working with them and they are a top notch product!
The USDA has some great information on all types of ham.
Cooks Ham – recommends gently reheating their fully cooked spiral sliced hams at 275° for about 12 – 15 minutes per pound. A bone in, half ham will take 20 – 25 minutes per pound at 325°
As always, if you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to comment or contact me via the Contact Me on my page. I will do my best to help you sort out the best method for your ham dinner!