Christmas, Gatherings & Events, How To's & Fruit Tricks

Your Guide To Cooking a Christmas Ham

December 16, 2016

It really is the most wonderful time of year–Christmas is right around the corner! While spending time with your loved ones and exchanging gifts is something to look forward to, there’s also something else that makes this holiday so great–the food! If you’re the lucky one hosting your friends and family this year, give your guests something to talk about with a mouthwatering meal and decadent desserts. Since no Christmas dinner would be complete without a glazed ham, follow this guide to cook a perfect one:

The Prep

Picking out your ham is the first step in preparing a delicious Christmas meal. The perfect holiday ham is depends on personal preference–ranging between boneless and bone-in. Once you’ve decided on what ham you’re looking to serve, be sure to properly store your meat in the refrigerator or freezer, until it is time to cook it. If your ham is stored in the freezer, it is important to thaw your meat prior to cooking, either in the refrigerator or in a sink full of cold water. Thawing your ham in the refrigerator is the safest method, although it is also the longest.  This method will result in the least amount of lost moisture and, as long as it’s kept between 35°F to 40°F, will discourage the growth of bacteria as the meat thaws. Once your meat is properly thawed, it can remain in the refrigerator safely for up to five days.

The Glaze

What sets a Christmas ham apart from any other one is the glaze! It really is the icing on the cake so to speak. There are several different glazes to choose from based on your liking, but a common Christmas ham glaze is as follows:

  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter (optional)
  • Finely grated zest of ½ orange (optional)

To make the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce it to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The Cooking

  • While your glaze is simmering, you will want to take this opportunity to begin adjusting your oven rack to a lower position and preheat your oven to 350°F, unless specified differently on your ham’s packaging.
  • Using a thermometer is the most accurate method for testing the doneness of your ham. If you’re planning on using one, insert it in your ham before placing it in the oven.
  • Put your meat in a roasting pan and score the top of the ham in a checked design. Once the holes are made, cover the ham with half of the glaze created.
  • Roast the ham uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cover the ham with the remaining glaze and baste the pan with drippings, cooking for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Continue to baste every 15 minutes.
  • Roast the ham for 30 more minutes, or until it reaches 145°F, which is roughly 20 minutes per pound of meat.
  • Slice thinly, and then serve and enjoy!

Now that you’re on your way to enjoying a delicious Christmas ham, do you know what would be the perfect accompaniment to it? Fruit! Be sure to pick up a fruit bouquet to enjoy for dessert, or to enjoy some pineapple at dinner along with your perfectly glazed ham!