How many times I’ve followed the heating instructions on a spiral-sliced ham only to be disappointed with dried-out slices. Well, thanks to the good folks at America’s Test Kitchen, that will never happen again. Reminding us that the ham is already fully cooked and can be eaten as is, they note that most people prefer it heated. The trick is to heat the ham without drying it out. Their fool-proof method produces moist and delicious spiral-sliced ham. Soaking the ham in hot tap water for 1-1/2 hours brings the internal temperature of the ham up slowly, reducing the oven time. Baking at a low temperature (250F) for a short period (about 1-1/2 hours) ensures the ham will stay moist.
An 8.5 lb. Smithfield spiral-sliced ham was my starting point. Instead of using the glazing packet that comes with the ham, I opted to make Nigella Lawson’s Ginger Glaze, which I’ve modified to make less pungent. Pineapple Stuffing and Glazed Sweet Potatoes were great side dishes that rounded out this dinner.
The Sunday afternoon armchair quarterbacks all agreed that this was the best ham ever, and we were all still raving a week later. Each slice was moist and delicious. Another winning recipe from the technicians at America’s favorite test kitchen.
|Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Ham 101 |
Rating: 10 out of 10
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1 Smithfield spiral-sliced ham, bone in (8-12 lbs.)
1 large oven-cooking bag with tie
Glaze: (adapted from Nigella Lawson)
1/2 cup English marmalade
1-1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 Tbsp. Grey Poupon mustard
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
scant 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. orange juice concentrate
Place ham, left in original packaging and netting, into large container or clean sink. Cover with hot tap water. Let sit 45 minutes. Empty water and refill with hot tap water for another 45 minutes. (Note: I used my clean, deep sink, and the water stayed hot for 1-1/2 hours, eliminating the need to empty and refill.)
Heat oven to 250F. Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Remove ham from water and from packaging, remembering to remove the plastic disk covering ham bone. Place ham inside large oven bag, making sure that the cut side is at bottom of bag. Gather bag tightly around ham. Secure with twist tie. Place in large roasting pan. Cut 4 small slits in top of bag with knife. Bake ham until internal temperature reaches 100F (about 90 minutes, or 10 minutes per pound.)
In the meantime, combine glaze ingredients in small saucepan; heat, stirring, until well mixed and spreadable. Remove ham from oven; untie bag and roll down sides. Keep juices inside bag. Increase heat to 350F. Slowly pour about 1/2 of glaze over ham, brushing it in as you pour. Return to oven 10 minutes. Repeat. Transfer ham to cutting board. Serve as desired.