The holiday ham is almost as well-known as the Thanksgiving turkey, but it’s much easier and faster to prepare. Perhaps you’ve started thinking about how you’ll prepare the star of your dinner table, the ham, for whatever special occasion you have coming up soon. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place.
You’ll learn in this article all you need to know to properly cook an award-winning thanksgiving ham. With all the tips and suggestions we’ve also outlined, your guests will definitely be craving more of the resulting ham you’ll end up serving.
Ham Nutrition Facts
Tips for Cooking Thanksgiving Ham
When cooking a Thanksgiving ham, you’ll be needing these really helpful tips to ensure that you come out with outstanding results at the end of your cooking:
Ham options to choose from – Precooked hams, which are ready to eat as soon as they’ve been reheated, are a good option if you’re short on time. They also work when you are planning to feed a large group of people or simply want to cook at an easy pace in the kitchen this holiday season. Precooked hams, like raw hams, can be glazed with sticky, delectable glazes.
On the other hand, buying a fresh ham allows you to cut any excess fat before cooking and, overall, manage the sodium content of your meat.
The right quantity of ham to cook – For a normal bone-in half ham, plan on serving roughly ¾ pound of ham per person. You can raise this amount to 1 pound of ham per person if you want a lot of leftovers after everyone has finished eating the meal.
Choose between a rub and a glaze – Because hams must be rubbed with herbs, seasonings, and other ingredients before being cooked (or heated through), you’ll have to decide on whether you’ll use a rub before putting it in the oven.
If you’re going to use a glaze on your ham instead, take the meat through two cooking stages: first, cook the ham without the glaze and then cook with it. If you put the glaze on at the start of the baking process, you stand at risk of scorching the sugars in the outside layer of the ham.
Whether you use a rub or glaze on your ham, make holes in the fat atop and around the ham and stuff whole cloves or spices into the slits. As the meat cooks, it will acquire those warm, smokey tastes.
When cutting, use parallel slices – Slicing a ham is not as simple as following the leg, breast, and wing bones, as it is with a turkey or chicken. Try cutting parallel to the longest side of the ham to get thin, equal slices. Allow the meat to fall over the center bone, then remove the slices by intersecting them.
How to glaze properly – At the end of the day, no matter whatever ham variety you choose, you can really get creative with the glaze you choose. Pick the sugar and spice combination that matches your fancy from a variety of recipes and add the ingredients during the first few hours of the ham’s cooking. Brush the ham with the glaze in the last hour of cooking and keep the glaze near the oven. Brush the glaze on the ham every 15 minutes if you want to achieve a beautiful, golden finish.
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Cooking a Thanksgiving Ham
The most traditional cooking method is baked glazed ham, and with good cause. You’ll usually start with fully cooked city ham, which is a quick and easy way to impress your guests.
- To allow the ham to get to room temperature, remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
- Using a sharp knife, score the outer layer of the ham in a diamond pattern through the skin and fat.
- In a roasting pan, place the ham flat-side down on a rack. Fill the bottom of the roasting pan with a cup of water, which will steam the ham while it cooks, keeping it moist. Wrap foil around the pan.
- Roast the ham until a thermometer placed into its thickest portion registers 130 degrees F in a 350 degree F oven. During the last 45 minutes of cooking, raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees and glaze multiple times. When the ham reaches 140 degrees F, it’s done.
- Before serving, leave the ham to rest.
Cooking Time for a Thanksgiving Ham
The timing guidelines in the table below will help you achieve desirable results when cooking a Thanksgiving ham:
|Cooking procedure||Cooking time|
|Roasting a ham in the oven at 325 F||2½ hours|
|Raising the oven’s temperature to 400 F||Cook for an extra 15 to 20 minutes|
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Using cooking spray, grease a baking pan.
- Combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, apple cider, cinnamon, and nutmeg and add them to the pot. Put the pot on medium-level heat .
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the glaze is syrupy, on a low heat.
- Half of the glaze should be poured over the ham, do this after placing the ham in the pan. Wrap the ham in foil to keep it warm. Save the rest of the glaze for later use.
- Let the ham bake undisturbed for 2½ hours. Ensure that the ham is uncovered while this happens.
- Over the ham, pour the remaining glaze. If the glaze has begun to set, you can reheat it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it fluid again.
- Raise the oven’s temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Position the ham in the oven, uncovered. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the glaze has completely caramelized and browned.
- Arrange the ham on a serving plate with fresh herbs and cranberries on top. Pour the drippings from the pan over the ham. After that, slice the ham and serve.
This recipe delivers such tender and flavorful ham, one that you’ll definitely want to try again. Check out this video recipe for more ideas on how to cook a Thanksgiving ham.