Published November 1, 2007.
Ham is appealingly simple but often comes out dry and jerkylike. Here's what you need to know to produce a top-notch glazed ham that is always moist and tender.
Throwing a ham in the oven, slathering on some glaze, and waiting often yields dried-out, leathery meat with a sticky, saccharine exterior.
Ham should be moist and tender, with a glaze that complements but doesn't overwhelm the meat.
Eight answers produce a road map to producing great ham:
-We favor bone-in hams that have been spiral-sliced. As a rule of thumb, allow about 1/2 pound of ham per person. Unless you are feeding a very large crowd, we recommend a half ham.
-Avoid labels that read "ham with water added" or "ham and water products." Hams labeled "with natural juices" taste best.
-Whole ham is the entire leg of the animal. Half hams are available in two cuts: shank (the bottom part of the leg) and sirloin (the portion of the leg closer to the rump). We've found the sirloin end to be meatier and less fatty, although a bit harder to carve.
-You don't have to cook the ham, but most people prefer a warm ham, often with a glaze. We found the ideal serving temperature is between 110 and 120 degrees—any higher and it can dry out.
-To keep the ham moist, soak the ham in warm water for 90 minutes before roasting, then roast it in an oven bag in a 250-degree oven.
-We've found that oven bags produce the moistest ham in the least amount of time. If you don't have an oven bag, you can wrap the ham in aluminum foil, although this will require a longer roasting period.
-For glaze, don't use the stuff in the packet that may be attached to the ham; make your own and follow our instructions.
-A 15-minute rest raises the internal temperature by 5 to 15 degrees, allowing you to reduce the baking time—and less oven time means a moister ham.list of recipes