Though deli meat ham is a lunchtime treat in its own right, nothing beats a beautifully lacquered, whole baked ham – except maybe the next day’s leftovers. Though many of us think of ham as a smoky, pink-colored holiday staple, this porcine cut has other sides, too. Master ham’s versatile nature and experiment with rubs, glazes, baked dishes and more before spring’s gatherings beckon.
Choosing the Right Ham
Are you a bone-in fresh or pre-cooked spiral-cut type?
- Fresh ham is uncooked and unsmoked – essentially a more glamorous pork roast. Select the shank side cut for a classic ham shape.
- Precooked ham needs only a warm up in the oven to make it to the table – a weeknight workhorse or easy option for entertaining.
- Bone-in ham will need longer in the oven than boneless ham and takes a bit of finesse to slice, but the bone adds additional flavor and helps to retain moisture.
- Spiral cut ham is a dream for entertaining and guests, working equally well for make-your-own-sandwich affairs and more buttoned-up dinners alike.
Whatever your preference, you’ll rest easy knowing our hams are from pigs raised to meet our high quality and animal welfare standards.
- No antibiotics and growth hormones.
- No animal byproducts in the feed.
- Raised without gestation or farrowing crates.
- Certified to the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program.
- No added nitrates or nitrites, no artificial ingredients or preservatives and no added water.
Cooked to Perfection
- Fresh ham does well with a spice rub, and depending on the size of your ham, you may need to cure the cut for up to four days before cooking.
- Score the skin of fresh and precooked ham for visual appeal and to allow any rubs and glazes to seep in more deeply.
- Allow the ham to sit at room temperature for up to an hour before baking to ensure the cut will be cooked through.
- You may need to add a liquid to the baking dish when heating precooked hams to guarantee a moist end result.
- Save glazes for the last hour of cook time as any sugary component of the glaze could burn if in the oven too long.
- Plan for 1/4 to 1/2 pounds per serving for a boneless ham and 1/2 to 3/4 pounds per serving for a bone-in ham.
- Cooked ham is a repurposing all-star. Add diced ham to sautés, pasta dishes and frittatas.
- Slip slices of cooked ham between biscuit halves or on top of toast points.
- Thread cooked ham cubes or slices on to toothpicks or skewers (with accompanying vegetables and dips) for extra fast hors d’oeuvres.
- Don’t forget the bone! Save ham bones to flavor bean soups.
What’s your favorite way to feature ham? Do you have any showstopping leftover concoctions?
Visit our spring gatherings site for more expert tips on what to cook and how to cook it, being the host- or host-ess with the most-est and fun ideas for cooking with kids.
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