Roasting Ham


Hams are found fully cooked, partially cooked, and uncooked. Each can use some of the same cooking methods with slight variations to them. One of the main differences in preparing cooked and uncooked ham is the internal temperature that the ham must reach. Uncooked ham must be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Fully cooked ham should be heated to an internal temperature of 140°F. There are various methods that can be used to produce juicy and flavorful ham. Some methods work better than others on different types of ham. Each method has many different techniques that can be used, which may be determined by the recipe being used or by personal preference of the person doing the cooking.

Shown below are basic instructions on using the roasting method of cooking ham. For other ham cooking information, select one of the cooking methods or procedures shown above.

Roasting/Baking

Fully Cooked Ham | Uncooked or Partially Cooked Ham

Roasting is a dry heat cooking method which is a popular choice for large tender cuts of meat. Roasting, which is basically the same method of cooking as baking, is often used when cooking hams. The skin is removed from the ham and a layer of fat is generally left on the ham to add flavor and help keep the meat moist while it cooks. The ham should be allowed to stand at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking. There are several methods of roasting or baking that can be used to cook a ham. The methods will also vary according to whether the ham is cooked or uncooked, and according to the type of ham (city ham, country ham, or canned ham) being cooked. Some recipes may also call for basting the meat throughout the cooking time, but basting with the hams own juices will cause the ham to become more salty. Shown below are some basic roasting and baking methods that can be used.

Fully Cooked Ham

Wet Cured (City) Ham - A fully cooked ham does not need additional cooking. It can be eaten right out of the package but heating it properly will bring out its natural flavor and juiciness. There are many variations as to how to heat a fully cooked ham.

Covered:



* After trimming the skin and some of the fat, place the ham in a shallow baking pan with fat side up. Half hams should be placed with cut side down.


* Add one cup of water to the roasting pan.


* Cover securely with foil. Place in a preheated oven and bake (see Time and Temperature Chart below).

* Bake until internal temperature reaches 135°F. Allow ham to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Internal temperature should rise to 140°F during this time.

* If using a glaze, the glaze should be applied during the last 30 minutes of cooking. See Glazing for more information.

Uncovered:

* After trimming the skin and some of the fat, place the ham on a rack in a shallow baking pan with fat side up. Half hams should be placed with cut side down. Add 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the roasting pan.


* Do not cover the ham. Place in a preheated oven and bake (see Time and Temperature Chart below).


* Bake until internal temperature reaches 135°F. Allow ham to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Internal temperature should rise to 140°F during this time.

* If using a glaze, the glaze should be applied during the last 30 minutes of cooking. See Glazing for more information.

Spiral Sliced Ham - This ham is generally fully cooked and ready to eat. If warming is desired, wrap tightly in foil before baking.


* Place the ham, cut side down, on a large piece of foil with the shiny side up.


* Draw up sides of foil and the add 1/2 cup of water.

* Fold foil tightly around the ham and then place in the oven to bake. Heat as directed or see the Time and Temperature Chart below.

Canned Ham - Place the ham on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Do not cover the ham. Place in a preheated oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 140°F.


Uncooked or Partially Cooked Ham

Dry-Cured (Country) Ham - After soaking and washing the country ham (see Ham Preparation), it is ready to be cooked. There are several methods that can be used to bake a country ham. Some of the common methods are shown below.

Covered:

* Place the ham, skin side up, in a large roaster.


* Add 5 cups of water


* Place the cover on the roaster or if it does not have a cover, use foil to cover tightly. Place in an oven preheated to 375°F. Turn oven up to 500°F and leave for 10 minutes only.


* After 10 minutes, turn the oven off and allow the ham to set in the oven for three hours. After three hours, turn the oven back on to 500°F again for 15 minutes. Be sure this time does not exceed 25 minutes. Turn the oven off again and allow the ham to set in the oven for 6 to 8 hours.

* Do not open the oven door any time throughout this process of cooking. When done, the internal temperature of the ham should be at least 155°F.

* Allow ham to rest for 15 minutes to allow the juice to be distributed throughout the meat. The internal temperature should rise to 160°F during this time.

* Remove skin and fat while the ham is still warm and carve as desired. If glazing, leave a 1/4-inch layer of fat on the ham. See Glazing for more information.

Oven Cooking Bag:

Cooking with an oven cooking bag is a good method to use for cooking ham. They provide more even cooking and help shorten the cooking time.


* In a large 19" x 23 ½" oven cooking bag, shake 1 tablespoon of flour. The flour will help prevent the bag from bursting while cooking.


* Place the ham, skin side up, in the oven bag.

* Place the bag and ham in a large roaster that is at least 2 inches deep.

* Add 3 to 4 cups of water or other liquid to the bag. The liquid used in the bag could consist of fruit juice or wine, or a carbonated beverage, such as cola.

* Close the bag securely with a nylon tie.


* After tying the bag securely, trim tied end of the bag to approximately 1 inch above the tie. This will help prevent the bag from touching the top or sides of the oven.


* Make six ½ inch slits on the top of the bag to allow steam to escape from the bag as the ham cooks. This will help prevent the bag from bursting as the steam builds up inside the bag.

* Place the ham in an oven preheated to 325°F for 20 to 25 minutes per pound or until internal temperature reaches 155°F on a meat thermometer. Be sure the cooking bag is not touching the sides or top of the oven, otherwise the bag might melt.


* Remove the ham from the oven and discard the bag and drippings.


* Allow ham to rest for 15 minutes and the internal temperature should rise to 160°F during this time. Remove skin and fat while the ham is still warm and carve as desired. If glazing, leave a 1/4-inch layer of fat on the ham. See Glazing for more information.

Uncovered:

* Place the ham on a rack in a roaster with fat side up or half hams should be placed with cut side down.


* Add 2 inches of water to the roaster. A mixture of water, brown sugar, and vinegar can be used in place of plain water or a can of carbonated beverage, such as cola could be added to the water.


* Do not cover the ham. Place in a preheated oven and bake (see Time and Temperature Chart below). Bake until internal temperature reaches 155°F. Allow ham to rest for 15 minutes and the internal temperature should rise to 160°F during this time.

* Remove skin and fat while the ham is still warm and carve as desired. If glazing, leave a 1/4-inch layer of fat on the ham. See Glazing for more information.

Wet Cured (City) Ham

Uncovered:

* Use the same method as shown above for the uncovered fully cooked wet-cured ham.

* The uncooked or partially cooked wet cured (city) ham will require more cooking time than the fully cooked ham and must reach an internal temperature of 160°F.

* Bake until internal temperature reaches 155°F. Allow ham to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Internal temperature should rise to 160°F during this time.

* If using a glaze, the glaze should be applied during the last 30 minutes of cooking. See Glazing for more information.

Roasting / Baking
Time and Temperature Chart
Oven Temperature = 325°F

Note: The times shown below are approximate cooking times per pound. Actual cooking time may vary.
To be sure that the ham is properly cooked, always check the internal temperature reading.
Type of Ham Cooking Time per Pound Internal Temperature
Remove from Oven Finish Temp. After Resting


Fully Cooked Hams
Whole - Boneless 15 to 18 minutes 135° F 140°F
Whole - Bone-in 15 to 18 minutes 135° F 140°F
Half - Boneless 18 to 24 minutes 135° F 140°F
Half - Bone-in 18 to 24 minutes 135° F 140°F

Spiral Cut Ham 10 to 14 minutes (@275° F) 135° F 140°F
Canned Ham 15 to 20 minutes 135° F 140°F

Picnic Ham 25 to 30 minutes 135° F 140°F

Uncooked or Partially Cooked Hams
Whole - Boneless 18 to 20 minutes 155° F 160° F
Whole - Bone-in 18 to 20 minutes 155° F 160° F
Half - Boneless 22 to 25 minutes 155° F 160° F
Half - Bone-in 22 to 25 minutes 155° F 160° F

Whole/Half Cooked
in an Oven Bag 20 to 25 minutes 155° F 160°F

Picnic Ham 30 to 35 minutes 155°- 165° F 160° - 170° F

Fresh Ham 25 to 30 minutes

The length of time a ham will have to cook will depend on the size of the ham and whether it is a fully cooked, partially cooked, or uncooked ham and whether it is bone-in or boneless. The best way to determine if the meat has cooked long enough is to check for doneness. It is important not to overcook the ham to maintain its juiciness. If it is not a fully cooked ham, it also needs to be cooked to the proper doneness to make it safe to eat. Shown below are signs to look for when determining doneness. For more information, see Ham Cooking Guide - Ham Doneness.

* When poked with a meat fork, the meat will show little resistance.
* The meat will begin to separate from the bones and the larger bones will be easy to move.
* To ensure doneness, check with a meat thermometer. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the cut should produce a temperature of 160°F for an uncooked or partially cooked ham and 140°F for a fully cooked ham.

For best results, the meat should be removed from the oven when its internal temperature reads 5° below the final desired temperature and then it should be allowed to rest (a waiting period before carving) for 10 to 15 minutes. During this time the meat will continue to cook and will reach the 160°F for uncooked ham or 140°F for the fully cooked ham. Resting also allows the juices to be distributed through the meat before it is carved. Slice or carve to desired thickness.

Roasting/Baking Tips:

* To add extra flavor, apply a glaze to the ham during the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.
* Roasting at a lower oven temperature (NEVER roast meat below 200°F) will result in meat that is more flavorful and moist. It will take longer to cook but the results will be worth the wait.
* Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the ham when trying to turn it because piercing allows valuable juices to escape. Use other utensils, such as wooden spoons and spatulas for handling the ham.
* If cooking more than one ham, be sure that there is uniform space around them so that they will cook evenly. The hams should not be touching and there should be enough room around them to allow air and heat to circulate.
* When placing a thermometer in the meat to check for doneness, be sure that the stem is not touching a bone because this can result in a false reading.


Frying Ham

Frying

Frying is a dry heat cooking method, which is a quick and simple way of cooking ham. It is a cooking method used on city hams, country ham, and ham slices. Frying works on the principle of using hot oil to cook the meat, producing cuts of pork with a crispy brown outside and juicy, flavorful meat inside. If there is enough fat on the piece being fried, oil is not needed when frying. The ham should be carved into slices 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick for frying. Ham center slices also work well for frying. When frying use a heavy skillet with deep sides.

Ham center slices:


* Trim skin from outer edges of the slices of ham but do not trim the fat.


* Pat slices dry with paper towels before placing in the pan.


* Place the slice in a heated pan and fry over medium high heat. If there is a sufficient amount of fat on the piece of ham no oil will need to be added to the pan. If the slices are lean, add a little oil to the pan before heating.

* When frying smaller ham slices, they should be placed in a single layer with enough room between slices so that they are not crowded, this will allow pieces to cooked and brown more evenly.


* Turn the slices often until both sides are lightly browned.

* When ham is done the fat should be a transparent color. The amount of time required for cooking will depend on the thickness of the slice.

* Do not overcook. Overcooking will cause the meat to become dry, tough, and hard. Trim excess fat after ham is done frying.

Country Ham Slices:

* Country ham can have some of its saltiness removed by allowing it to soak in water for a period of time. Place the ham in the skillet and cover with cold water. Allow it to seat for 6 to 8 hours.


* A faster method can also be used where the ham is placed in the skillet with 1 to 2 cups of hot water and allow it to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.


* Place the slices in a single layer with enough room between them so that they are not crowded, this will allow pieces to cooked and brown more evenly. Fry over medium high heat. If there is a sufficient amount of fat on the piece of ham no oil will need to be added to the pan. If the slices are lean, add a little oil to the pan before heating.


* Turn slices when first side is browned.


* Slices are done when both sides are nicely browned.


Broiling Ham


Broiling is a dry heat cooking method that quickly cooks the surface and then slowly moves to the middle of the meat. It is similar to grilling only it is done in an oven. It is not the best-suited method for cooking whole hams, ham halves, or ham portions but is ideal for cooking ham slices. The ham slices will have a crisp flavorful outside coating with a moist center when broiled properly.

Ham slices that are going to be broiled should be placed different distances from the heat source, depending on the thickness of the slices. Slices that are 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick should be placed approximately 3 inches from the heat source. Slices that are 1/2 to 1 inch thick should be approximately 5 inches from the heat source. The thicker cuts must be further away because the high heat from the broiler will cook the meat quickly and its surface will become too done before the middle is sufficiently heated. Thinner cuts must be watched carefully because it is easy for them to become overcooked, causing them to dry out.

It is important that the heat source be properly preheated so that it seals the juices into the meat quickly. The temperature at which the ham is cooked and the distance it is placed from the heat source are both important for providing tender, juicy, properly done ham.

* Ham slices should have skin removed from edges and fat trimmed to a thin layer. Slit edges at 1 to 1 ½ inch intervals to prevent curling while cooking.


* If a glaze is not being used, coating the ham with a little oil before cooking will help keep it moist.


* Preheat broiler and place the ham slices 3 to 5 inches from the broiler unit. The ham slices should be turned once through the cooking time. Slices are done when the fat on the edges are slightly browned and the meat is heated through to the middle, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side for 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices.

* If using a glaze, spoon or brush on the glaze before placing in the broiler.


* Preheat broiler and place the ham slices 3 to 5 inches from the broiler unit. Turned once through the cooking time.


* Slices are done when the meat is heated through to the middle and the glazing is slightly browned and caramelized. Cooking time is approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side for 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices.


Grilling Ham

Grilling

Grilling is a dry heat cooking method that quickly cooks the surface and then slowly moves to the middle. When grilled properly, the meat will have a crisp flavorful outside coating with a moist center. Grilling is generally done outdoors with the heat applied on the bottom surface of the meat. Grilling infuses the meat with a smoky flavor from the juices dripping on the charcoals. There are two basic types of grilling that are used, indirect grilling and direct grilling.

Indirect heat: A method of grilling where you use an area of the grill that is not directly over the heat source. Using indirect heat slows the cooking process down, which allows the center of the cut to cook thoroughly without burning the outer surface. Coals are pushed to one side of the grill or banked into a ring around the outer edges to provide an area of indirect heat. On gas grills, the side of the burner, which is below the area where the food will be, is turned off after the grill is preheated. This will provide an area on the grill that will be a low heat source. The meat is placed over the area in which there are no coals or over the burner that is turned off on a gas grill. The meat is generally cooked with the grill hood closed. Indirect heat would be used for cooking larger cuts of meat, such as whole and half hams.

Direct heat: A method of grilling where you cook the meat directly over the heat source. The meat is cooked quickly over medium coals and should be watched carefully to prevent overcooking. The meat cooked using direct heat can be cooked with the hood up but is generally cooked with the hood down. The ham is generally turned once during the cooking process. Direct heat is good for cooking smaller cuts, such as ham slices.

Grilling is ideal for cooking smaller ham cuts, such as ham slices. It is not the best-suited method for cooking a whole or half ham. Because grilling uses high heat and short cooking times, a whole or half ham will become overcooked on the outside before the inside reaches the proper temperature.

Ham slices that are going to be grilled should be a minimum of 1 inch thick and no thicker than 2 inches. Trim the skin from the outer edge but leave a layer of fat. To keep ham slices flat while grilling, clip fat around the edges at 1 to 1 ½ inch intervals. Allow the ham to stand at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes before placing on the grill. The grill should be at a medium heat. Place the ham slices on the grill approximately 4 inches above direct heat. Leaving the hood open, cook for 6 to 10 minutes on both sides or until each side is nicely browned.

The heat from the grill will cook the ham quickly and if the cuts are too thin, they will overcook, causing them to dry out. The ham must be watched carefully while grilling. Coating the ham slices with a little oil or marinating it before cooking will help keep it moist. It is important that the heat source be properly preheated so that it seals the juices into the meat quickly. The temperatures at which the ham is cooked and the distance it is from the heat source are both important in producing tender, juicy, properly done ham.

To check the temperature of the grill, place the palm of your hand at the cooking level above the heat source. If you can leave it there for 5 or 6 seconds the grill will cook at a low to medium low heat. If your hand must be pulled away after 3 seconds it is at a medium heat, and if it can only be left there for 2 seconds the temperature is hot. The thicker the ham slice the farther away from the heat source it should be or the heat source should be at a lower temperature to prevent the outside of the ham from burning before the inside is properly cooked.

To help prevent the ham slices from sticking to the grate on which they will be placed, the grate can be brushed with oil and the grill should be properly preheated before placing the meat on the grate. While the meat is cooking be sure to watch the pieces carefully, turning when one side is nicely browned. It is generally suggested to turn the cuts only once. Also, do not overcrowd the pieces so that if there are flare-ups from the drippings there is room to move pieces out of the way of the flames.

Grilling Tips:

* Preheat grill or broiler to the proper temperature to ensure the meat surface is seared quickly to give it a flavorful crust.
* Using clean racks and coating them with vegetable oil or a nonstick vegetable oil spray will help prevent the meat from sticking.
* To keep ham slices flat while grilling, clip fat around the edges at 1 to 1 ½ inch intervals.
* Do not use a fork to turn the ham as it cooks. The piercing causes juices to escape. Use tongs to turn.
* Leave an area of a charcoal grill without coals so that if a flare up occurs or some of the meat is cooking too quickly, you can move the meat to this area. On a gas grill, leave one burner on low.


Boiling Ham
Boiling/Simmering

Boiling/simmering is a moist heat method of cooking. It is also a healthy method of cooking ham because no fat is added during the cooking process. It retains the flavor, tenderness, and moisture through a gentle simmering process. Boiling is a good method to use when cooking dry-cured country hams. Cooking by this method provides a lot of flavor because it draws additional flavor from the meat itself and bones as it cooks. Additional flavor can be imparted in the meat by adding flavoring or seasoning, such as bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, sugar, and fruit juices, to the water.

Boiling/Simmering Country Ham:

* To boil, place the ham in a large pot or Dutch oven in which the meat will fit fairly tight, and then cover it with cold liquid. Add desired flavorings. The liquid used for boiling can be plain water, water seasoned with herbs and spices, stock, or water with the addition of ingredients such as wine or fruit juices.


* Do not use a pan that is too large, avoiding the use of too much liquid. The pan should be just large enough so that the liquid can cover the ham and move freely around it.


* Slowly bring liquid to a boil, skimming any foam that forms on top.

* As soon as it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low so that the liquid is only gently simmering. Cover and let simmer until the meat is done. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes per pound after it starts simmering.


* Check for doneness by the use of a meat thermometer, which should show an internal temperature of 155°F.


* Another indication that the meat is done is when it shows little resistance when stuck with a knife and when the meat starts to separate from the bones.


* When done, allow the ham to cool in the cooking liquid for several hours.

* While still warm, take out of the pot and remove the skin and trim layer of fat, leaving 1/4 inch thick.

* If glazing is desired, score the fat and apply glaze. Place in a roaster and place in an oven preheated at 375° F to 400° F. Bake for 15 minutes or until glaze is nicely browned. See Glazing for more information.

* Before carving, allow the ham to cool slightly for approximately 20 minutes. Carve in thin slices and serve.


Microwaving Ham


Microwaving is a quick and convenient method of cooking. When cooked properly in the microwave, the results will be a juicy, flavorful ham. The hams flavor can be enhanced by the use of many herbs, spices and other flavorings. Such flavorings as bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, sugar, and brown sugar work well with ham. It can also be cooked with fruit, or in wine or fruit juices to infuse a unique flavor.

When microwaving ham it is best to follow the manufacturer's instruction manual because different varieties of microwaves vary in cooking times, depending on their size and wattage. Half hams or portions will cook better in the microwave than a whole ham. Ham should be microwaved at a medium to low setting to allow the heat to penetrate into the center of it without overcooking the outer layers. Shown below are instructions on microwaving different types of ham.

Uncooked Ham Half or Portion (Bone-in):

1. Cover cut edge with a strip of foil and place the ham, cut side up, into a cooking bag.
2. Seal the bag and place in a microwave safe baking dish. Make slits on top of the cooking bag for steam to escape.
3. Place in the microwave on 50% power and cook for 12 to 15 minutes per pound. Rotate and turn the ham half way through the cooking time.
4. Remove the ham from the oven when its internal temperature reaches 155° F. Allow ham to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Ham should reach 160° F after resting.

Fully Cooked Ham Half or Portion (Bone-in):

1. Cover cut edge with a strip of foil and place the ham in a microwave safe baking dish.
2. Cover with vented plastic wrap and place in the microwave on 50% power. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes per pound. Rotate and turn the ham half way through the cooking time.
3. Remove the ham from the oven when its internal temperature reaches 135° F. Allow ham to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Ham should reach 140° F after resting.

Fully Cooked Ham Half or Portion (Boneless):

1. Cover cut edge with a strip of foil and place the ham in a microwave safe baking dish with 1/4 cup of water.
2. Cover with vented plastic wrap and place in the microwave on 50% power.
3. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes per pound. Rotate and turn the ham half way through the cooking time. Remove the ham from the oven when its internal temperature reaches 135° F. Allow ham to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Ham should reach 140° F after resting.

When microwaving, follow the times as stated in the recipe as close as possible and make proper adjustments according to any variance in microwave sizes. The pork should be cooked for the least amount of time suggested in a recipe because you can always cook it for additional time if not done but you want to be sure that it does not overcooked. It is important to observe the standing times stated in the recipes before testing for doneness because the meat will continue to cook through conduction after it is taken out of the microwave. After the proper standing time test the meat for doneness in several locations with a meat thermometer to ensure that it has been cooked evenly throughout.



Glazing Ham

Glazing

Glazing is done as the last step in the cooking process of a ham. It is not necessary to glaze a ham when cooking it but it gives the ham an attractive finish and provides additional flavor. A glaze is most often sweet and can be made from a variety of ingredients, such as sugar, brown sugar, honey, jam, marmalade and fruit. Other flavorings and seasonings used in glaze recipes are mustard, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger.

When adding a glaze to an uncooked ham, the ham should go through the full cooking process before the glazing takes place. The ham should reach an internal temperature of 160° F to ensure that it is fully cooked before glazing. When adding a glaze to a fully cooked ham, the glaze should be added during the last 20 to 30 minutes of the cooking process. The glazing process is basically the same for each. Shown below are basic glazing instructions. A simple glazing recipe is shown below but any glazing recipe you prefer can be used.

* Pour the drippings from the pan. Drippings can be discarded.

* Remove the rind and trim the fat, leaving approximately a 1/4-inch layer of fat.

* (This step is optional.) Score the fat by making diagonally cuts in one direction and then making cuts in the opposite direction, forming diamond shapes in the fat. A clove can be stuck in the middle of each diamond if desired.


* To make glaze, combine 1 cup of brown sugar and 3/4 cup of pineapple, slightly drained. Spoon or brush glaze on the layer of fat.


* Place glazed ham in the oven and bake at 375° F to 400° F for 20 to 30 minutes or until the glaze has caramelized and turned a golden brown. Watch carefully because glazing can burn easily.

* Remove from oven and carve.


Ham Doneness


Checking Doneness

When checking doneness it can be accomplished in basically the same manner for whatever cooking method you are using. There are several methods that can be used, but some are more accurate than others. Shown below are the methods that can be used.

Thermometer: Using a thermometer is the most accurate method for testing doneness. A regular meat thermometer is inserted before placing the ham in the oven or exposing it to the heat source that will be used. It remains there throughout the cooking time. An instant read thermometer is used to check for the proper temperature once the ham has been cooked. The ham is taken away from the heat source and the instant read thermometer is immediately inserted into the thickest part of the ham and it will give a temperature reading in approximately 15 seconds. When inserting a thermometer, care must be taken that the thermometer is not touching a bone or area of fat to ensure an accurate reading.

Ham slices, because of their thickness, are more difficult to check for doneness using a thermometer. If the slice is thick enough, it can be inserted from the side into the middle of the slice to get an internal reading.

When using a regular meat thermometer, check the temperature when it is getting towards the end of the cooking time. Remove the ham from the heat source when it reaches an internal temperature that is 5 degrees lower than the desired doneness temperature. If using a instant read thermometer, remove the ham from the heat source when it is getting close to the end of the cooking time and check the temperature. If it is within 5 degrees of the desired internal temperature, do not return to the heat source. If it is not within 5 degrees, return it to the heat source, wait 10 minutes, and then check the temperature again. Repeat this process until the ham is 5 degrees or less from the desired internal temperature.

The ham should be left standing for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. During the standing time it will continue to cook and the temperature should rise to the appropriate internal temperature. This will ensure that the ham will not be overcooked. Ham slices can be left to stand for a shorter period of time, approximately 5 minutes.


Internal Temperatures for Proper Doneness
Fully Cooked Hams 140° F
Uncooked or Partially Cooked Hams 160° F
Fresh Hams 160° F - 170° F
If the proper temperature is not reached, the meat should be returned to the heat source for further cooking.



Piercing:


* Another method for testing doneness is to pierce the ham with a meat fork or the tip of a knife. The meat should show little resistance by easily sliding in and out of the ham if it is done properly.



Visual:


* Bone-in hams can be checked for doneness by visually looking at it as it is being cooked. The meat will begin to separate from the bones and the large bones will move easily as the ham gets done.


Carving Ham

Carving

Whole Ham | Spiral Sliced Ham | Shank Half Ham | Butt Half Ham

The whole ham, half ham, or ham portion will need to be carved into smaller pieces for serving. Before carving, the meat should set for 10 to 15 minutes after it is removed from the heat source. This allows the juices to be redistributed throughout the meat, resulting in a firmer, juicier and easier to carve ham. A country ham will carve easier if it is at room temperature or cooler. Choose a carving knife that is long enough to cut the entire length of the cut. It is important that the knife be extremely sharp so that it will allow thin slices to be carved and make carving easier. Shown below are the steps to carving different ham cuts

Ham Carving - Whole Ham:

* Place the ham on a cutting board and trim off 2 or 3 slices, parallel to its length, from the thin side of the ham. Turn the ham so that it rests on the flat side created from trimming off the slices.


* Hold firmly with a carving fork and starting at the shank end, cut slices across the ham, down to the bone.


* After cutting the slices, cut parallel along the bone to release the slices. Place slices on a serving platter.

* Turn the ham and continue to carve slices in the same manner.


Ham Carving - Spiral Sliced Ham:

Special spiral sliced hams provide slices that are uniform in thickness. Three basic cuts are generally all that are required to cut the slices from the bone.

* Facing the cut side of the ham, locate the natural muscle lines in the ham. Cut along the first line down almost to the bone. Cut around the bone until the natural muscle line starts to curve upwards. Continue to follow the line all the way up until the knife comes back out the outside edge. This will provide the first section of slices.

* Continue to cut along the next natural muscle line to provide the next section of slices.


* The remaining section will need to be cut along the bone to release it, providing the last section of slices.

* The three sliced sections can then be cut into smaller serving sizes if desired.


Ham Carving - Shank Half

* Place the ham on a cutting board and trim off 2 or 3 thin slices from one side of the ham. Turn the ham so that it rests on the flattened side created from trimming off the slices. This allows the ham to sit more steady while carving.

* Starting at the narrow end of the ham, begin making 1/4 inch slices (or desired thickness) in the ham. Slicing down to the bone.

* After all slices are cut on the first side, place the ham on its flat end. Trim slices off by cutting down through the ham, close to the bone.


* After cutting down through all the slices, place them neatly on a serving platter.

* Flatten one of the remaining uncut sides of the ham by cutting 2 or 3 thin slices off. Stand the ham up on the flattened side and start slicing the uncut side, beginning at the narrow end of the ham.


* Set the ham on its flat end and trim down close to the bone to release the slices from the ham. Place slices neatly on the platter with the other ham slices. Continue to trim the two remaining sides of the ham in the same manner.


Ham Carving - Butt Half


* Lay the flat end of the ham on the cutting board. Cut down through the ham as close to the bone as possible, cutting off the largest section of boneless meat from the ham. Set the boneless section aside to be sliced after slicing the remaining section of the ham.

* With the flat end still on the cutting board, cut 1/4 inch slices (or desired thickness) parallel to the flat end of the ham by making horizontal cuts. Starting at the top, cut slices off until you reach the bone area.


* Then cut slices horizontally to the bone in the center. Continue making horizontal slices until all slices are cut. Release the slices from the ham by cutting down through the ham, close to the bone. Place the slices neatly on a platter. Slice the other side of the remaining ham in the same manner.


* After cutting the slices from the bone-in section of the butt ham, place the boneless section with the side that was just cut down on the cuttng board. Slice the boneless section into the desired thickness. The slices from this section may be fairly large so you may want to cut them in half to produce smaller slices for serving.


Ham Cooking Tips

Ham Cooking Tips

* Soak country hams prior to cooking to reduce their saltiness.
* To remove rind easily off from a cooked ham, slit the rind lengthwise down the ham before cooking and cook with the slit side down. Remove immediately after cooking and the rind should pull off easily.
* It is best to serve country hams in very thin slices because of their very intense flavor and saltiness.
* Ham is easier to slice thin when it is cool.
* Do not overcook ham or it will become dry and tough. The threat of trichinosis is eliminated when the ham is heated to 137°F, but the USDA recommends that uncooked pork should reach 160°F to be safe. Fully cooked ham should be cooked to 140° F to intensify its flavor and juiciness.
* Do not baste the ham with its juices as it is cooking because they are too salty and will only add more saltiness to the ham.
* Glazing the ham at the end of the cooking process adds flavor and a more appealing finished look to its appearance.
* Removing a canned ham is made easier by first placing the sealed can in hot water for 1 or 2 minutes. Open and slide the ham out.

Roasting/Baking Tips:

* To add extra flavor, apply a glaze to the ham during the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.
* Roasting at a lower oven temperature (NEVER roast meat below 200°F) will result in meat that is more flavorful and moist. It will take longer to cook but the results will be worth the wait.
* Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the ham when trying to turn it because piercing allows valuable juices to escape. Use other utensils, such as wooden spoons and spatulas for handling the ham.
* If cooking more than one ham, be sure that there is uniform space around the hams so that they will cook evenly. The hams should not be touching and there should be enough space around them to allow air and heat to circulate.
* When placing a thermometer in the meat to check for doneness, be sure that the stem is not touching a bone because this can result in a false reading.

Grilling Tips:

* Preheat grill or broiler to the proper temperature to ensure the meat surface is seared quickly to give it a flavorful crust.
* Using clean racks and coating them with vegetable oil or a nonstick vegetable oil spray will help prevent the meat from sticking.
* To keep ham slices flat while grilling, clip fat around the edges at 1 to 1 ½ inch intervals.
* Do not use a fork to turn the ham as it cooks. The piercing causes juices to escape. Use tongs to turn.
* Keep an area in the charcoal grill empty of coals so if a flare up occurs or some of the meat is cooking to quickly, the meat can be moved to this area. On a gas grill, leave one burner on low.