Ham it up: Tips for delicious glazed hams for your Easter table


Succulent ham is a traditional choice for Easter feasts in the United States. Dress them up with glazes for even more taste and moistness.

Succulent ham is a traditional choice for Easter feasts in the United States. Dress them up with glazes for even more taste and moistness. Photo by: Courtesy photo


Jan Swoope



Ham and Easter seem to go together like bread and butter. Across the country, juicy hams will be the centerpiece of many a menu Sunday, as families gather for fellowship and feasting. Cooking your own ham may seem like a colossal chore, but it's probably easier than you think, and picking up a store-bought ham that's been partially or fully cooked is a great short-cut.


If you didn't grow up at your mama's knee in the kitchen as she baked ham, today's information may come in handy. And we hope the recipes are useful to experienced cooks as well.




Bone in? Boneless?


Hams with the bone left in tend to be more flavorful than boneless hams, allrecipes.com tells us. Many bone-in brands are spiral-cut, meaning the ham has been cut in a continuous spiral all the way around the bone, producing thin slices. But remember, a bone-in ham will have less meat per pound than a boneless one. When buying bone-in, figure at least 3/4 pound for each person who will be at dinner. For boneless ham, figure at least 1/4 pound per person according to the site.


If you're not using a spiral cut, these three steps on "how to cook the perfect Easter ham," as summarized by Mary Allen Perry for Southern Living, offer some guidance.


  • Step 1: Score the surface of your ham with shallow diamond-shape cuts. This adds to the decorative look and also ensures the outer coating of fat crisps to a rich golden brown when baked.


  • Step 2: Stud the ham with festive rows of aromatic cloves. Piercing a small hole first with the sharp point of a wooden skewer makes it easy to insert the cloves.


  • Step 3: Spoon the glaze over the top and sides of the ham as it cools for a glistening finish. Allow at least 20 minute of downtime before carving to lock in the juices.





    The most traditional way to prepare a whole ham is to bake it, and you can enhance the meat by using a glaze. The most popular ones contain combinations of fruit juice, wine or whiskey, honey, mustard, brown sugar, fruit preservatives and spices. They can be store-bought, or you can concoct your own. Brush some of the glaze over the surface of the ham before placing it in the oven.


    Almost all hams have been either partially or fully cooked before packaging.


    A partially-cooked ham has been brought to an internal temperature of 137 degrees F., which kills any bacteria, says allrecipes.com. To make it more tender and delicious, you'll want to cook it a little bit more. A fully cooked ham has been brought to an internal temperature of 148 degrees F.


    For a partially-cooked ham, allow about 20 minutes per pound in a moderate 350-degree oven. A fully cooked ham will require about 10 minutes per pound in order to be heated all the way through,



    Keep it juicy


    Mmm -- can't you just taste that moist, juicy ham now? To help ensure it gets to the table that way, place your ham cut-side down in a baking pan, suggests allrecipes. If it's going to be in the oven for more than an hour, you may want to place a foil "tent" on top to help keep it from drying out. Continue to brush it with glaze and baste with the pan juices every 20 minutes or so, until it's heated through.


    To finish the ham and give it a yummy caramelized coating, remove the foil tent, brush with glaze and pan juices one more time, then turn your oven to the broiler setting. Allow the outside of the ham to get nice and browned; this should only take five minutes, but watch closely so it doesn't get too dark. When the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F., it's ready to serve.


    Choose a platter large enough to allow 3 to 4 inches around the ham, so you can add garnishes like apricots, pineapple, vegetables, greens or other goodies for a celebratory presentation on your Easter table.





    Total time: 4 hours, 20 minutes



    1 (8 to 10-pound) smoked ham, bone-in, skin on


    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


    1 bunch fresh sage leaves


    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in chunks


    2 tangerines, sliced thin, seeds removed


    2 cups tangerine juice


    2 cups light brown sugar, packed


    1 cup water


    1/4 teaspoon whole cloves


    2 cinnamon sticks


    1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled



  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.


  • Put the ham in a large roasting pan, fat-side up. Using a sharp knife, score the ham with cuts across the skin, about 2-inches apart and 1/2-inch deep. Cut diagonally down the slashes to form a diamond pattern; season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Chop about 8 of the sage leaves and put it in a bowl; mix with the oil to make a paste. Rub the sage-oil all over the ham, being sure to get the flavor into all the slits. Bake the ham for 2 hours. Now there is plenty of time to bang-out the tangerine glaze.


  • For the glaze: Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chunks of butter, tangerines, tangerine juice, brown sugar, water, and spices. Slowly cook the liquid down to a syrupy glaze; this should take about 30-40 minutes.


  • After the ham has being going for a couple of hours, pour the tangerine glaze all over it, with the pieces of fruit and all. Scatter the remaining sage leaves on top and stick the ham back in the oven and continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours, basting with the juices every 30 minutes.


  • Scatter the carrots around the ham and coat in the tangerine glaze. Stick the ham once again back in the oven and cook for a final 30 minutes, until the carrots are tender, the ham is dark and crispy, and the whole thing is glistening with a sugary glaze.


  • Set the ham on a cutting board to rest before carving. Serve the carrots and tangerine glaze on the side.


    (Source: Tyler Florence, foodnetwork.com)






    1 (6-to 8-pound) fully cooked, bone-in ham


    48 whole cloves


    1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar


    1 cup spicy brown mustard


    1 cup cola soft drink


    3/4 cup bourbon


    Fresh bay leaves, for garnish



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove skin from ham, and trim fat to 1/4-inch thickness. Make shallow cuts in fat 3/4 inch apart in a diamond pattern. Insert cloves in centers of diamonds. Place ham in a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch pan.


  • Stir together brown sugar and next three ingredients; spoon mixture over ham.


  • Bake at 350 degrees on lowest oven rack 2 hours and 30 minutes, basting with pan juices every 15 to 20 minutes. Remove ham from oven, and let stand 20 minutes before slicing. Garnish, if desired.


    (Source: Southern Living, March 2009)





    Total time: 4 hours, 45 minutes



    1 (10-to 12-pound) smoked, ready-to-cook bone-in ham


    1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth


    2 1/4 cups cherry preserves (about 2 12-oz. jars)


    3/4 cup brandy


    1/4 cup cider vinegar


    1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper


    3 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard


    3 tablespoons cane syrup


    Whole grain Dijon mustard


    For garnishes, fresh cherries, fresh sage sprigs



  • Remove skin from ham, and trim fat to 1/4-inch thickness. Make shallow cuts in fat 1 inch apart in a diamond pattern. Place ham in an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan; add broth to pan.


  • Stir together preserves and next 5 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly reduced. Cover and chill half of cherry mixture until ready to serve. Brush ham with half of cherry mixture.


  • Bake ham at 275° on lower oven rack 4 hours to 4 hours and 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 148°, basting with remaining cherry mixture every 30 minutes. Let ham stand 15 minutes before slicing.


  • If desired, reheat reserved chilled cherry mixture. Serve ham with reserved cherry mixture and mustard. Garnish, if desired.


    (Soiuthern Living used Smucker's Cherry Preserves and Smithfield Hardwood Smoked, Ready-to-Cook Ham.)


    (Source: Southern Living, 2010)







    1 cup finely packed brown sugar


    2 tablespoons flour


    1/2 teaspoon dried mustard or 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard


    1/8 teaspoon cinnamon


    3 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)


    3 tablespoons vinegar


    3 tablespoons water



  • Combine 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoons dry or prepared mustard, 1/8 tsp cinnamon and 3 tablespoons dry sherry (optional), 3 tablespoons vinegar and 3 tablespoons water.


  • Mix well and spread on ham, before putting it into oven.


    (Source: food.com)



  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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