If you’re wondering how to cook a ham, I’ll tell you up front the easiest way is to buy the pre-cooked ham and follow directions. However, if you’ve already bought your ham and it’s not cooked, or only partially cooked, there are a few things you need to know.
If your ham is frozen, start by thawing it out at least two days before Christmas. Keep the ham in it’s original wrapper, but place on platter/plate or in a container in case contents leak. No one needs ham juice running down the refrigerator shelves!
You need a meat thermometer. They are inexpensive and indispensable!. Never let the thermometer touch the bone of any meat you’re cooking since it will give a false reading.
The USDA recommends a an internal temperature of 160*F before it’s done.
You need to bake your uncooked ham for for 20 to 30 minutes per pound at 375 degrees F.
The simplest way is to place your ham lean side down in a tin foil lined pan. This enables the juices to flow downward for a moister ham.
If you choose to glaze your ham, remove it from the oven a half hour before it’s done and turn it over….glaze and return to oven…lean side up this time.
If you are making a precooked whole ham, try scoring the top in a diamond shaped pattern and inserting cloves in the cuts. You need only cut 1/2″ deep if you do this. You can add whole pineapple slices and a maraschino cherry and pin with toothpicks for a festive look.
Glazing a ham is simple…there’s a ton of recipe’s for ham glaze but sometimes the easiest is the best. Remember to add glaze the last half hour of cooking.
Mix 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 3/4 cup of honey together for a sweet and mild glaze. Or use this one for a bit more flavor.
3/4 cup maple syrup ( not imitation syrup )
1 -1/2 Tbs cider vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard…or similar mustard. Mix together and baste.
Be sure to baste your ham 2-3 times during that last half hour!
You can do an internet search for ham glaze and probably find a 1000 more recipes!
Remember if using a raw ham, you need to take the same precautions and clean up the way you do after handling raw chicken!
Ham is actually rather simple to cook and beautiful to serve so try not to stress too much! It takes a lot of effort to mess one up!