For most, the centerpiece of the Christmas meal is ham. Unless you are a seasoned professional in the art of ham baking, you may have some questions. Below you'll find some helpful information.
Step one in cooking a ham, is choosing one. Most commonly what you will find in the market are precooked, spiral cut ham, also known as a "city ham". These are the most highly popular hams available. They are soaked in a seasoned brine and smoked with a variety of different woods, just like bacon, and are pre-cut for easy carving. We reccomend bone-in.
Another type of ham that is a southern favorite is called "Country Ham". Country hams are famous for being richly flavored, notoriously salty and are cured over a long period of time. They are sold cooked and uncooked.
How much you should buy is dependent on what type of ham you buy. Since country ham is so salty, it is usually served in smaller portions. Martha Stewart reccomends 6 oz for a main course, for a city ham, she reccomends 8-10 oz for a main course per guest.
If your ham is un-cut it will benefit from being scored along the skin and fat in a diagonal pattern. As the ham bakes, the skin begins to render down and the fat absorbs into the meat. This also is where the glaze can seep into the meat making the ham more flavorful.
If your ham came with a pre-made glaze packet in the packaging, throw it out or find another use for it. There are tons of super simple yet thoroughly delicious ham glaze recipes out there. Find a few of ours here!
There are two very solid ways to cook your holiday ham: oven-bake it or slow-cook it. Oven-baking takes less time and gives you a little more control over the viscosity of the glaze, while slow cooking leaves room in your oven for other holiday meal prep and makes for a ridiculously tender ham — but it does take about twice as long to cook.
Oven-baking takes 20 to 30 minutes per pound for a total for 1 to 2 1/2 hours depending on the oven temperature.
Slow-cooking takes 4 to 5 hours depending on the weight of the ham.