How to cook spiral ham?

How to cook spiral ham?

Understanding the Basics of Spiral Ham

Before we dive into the cooking process, it's essential to understand what a spiral ham is. Spiral ham is a pre-cooked and pre-sliced ham that's cut in a continuous spiral around the bone. This makes it easy to serve, as the slices practically fall off when it's time to eat. The pre-cooked nature of spiral ham means that you're really just warming it up and adding your own glaze or spices to make it your own. It's a great option for holiday dinners or large gatherings, as one ham can feed a lot of people.

Selecting the Perfect Spiral Ham

Choosing the right spiral ham is crucial for the perfect meal. Look for a ham that's labeled as 'fully cooked'. This means it's safe to eat without further cooking, but you'll be heating it to improve its texture and flavor. Also, consider the size of the ham. A good rule of thumb is to allow about 1/2 to 3/4 pound of bone-in ham per person. If you love leftovers, aim a little higher. Lastly, pay attention to the labeling. 'Ham with natural juices' tends to be the best quality, followed by 'ham, water added' and then 'ham and water product'.

Preparing the Spiral Ham for Cooking

Before we start cooking, we need to prepare the ham. First, preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. This low temperature allows the ham to heat slowly, preventing it from drying out. Next, remove all packaging and plastic from the ham. If the ham comes with a glaze packet, set it aside for later. Place the ham cut-side down in a baking dish. This helps to keep the ham moist as it cooks.

Creating a Delicious Glaze for Your Ham

One of the best parts of a spiral ham is the glaze that caramelizes on the outside. You can use the packet that comes with your ham, but making your own is simple and gives you control over the flavors. A basic ham glaze includes brown sugar, honey, and mustard. You can also add in spices like cinnamon, clove, or star anise for a festive flavor. Mix your ingredients in a saucepan and heat until it's syrupy. This will be brushed over the ham in the last part of the cooking process.

Cooking and Glazing the Spiral Ham

With your oven preheated and your ham prepared, it's time to start cooking. Cover your ham with aluminum foil and bake for about 12-15 minutes per pound. This slow, low-temperature cooking is what keeps your ham juicy and delicious. When your ham is about 30 minutes from being done, it's time to add the glaze. Remove the ham from the oven and increase the temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush your glaze over the ham, making sure to get in between the slices. Return the ham to the oven, uncovered, and bake until the glaze is caramelized and bubbly.

Serving Your Spiral Ham

Once your ham is beautifully glazed and heated through, it's time to serve. Let the ham rest for a few minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute. Then, simply slice off the pieces along the pre-cut lines. Serve with your favorite sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, or roasted vegetables. And don't forget to save the bone and leftover meat for a delicious soup or stew the next day!