Easter is the best time for ham and questions about it come up every year. What is the difference between the rear part and the shaft part? How much should I buy? do you glaze the ham
Relax. We are here to help.
One thing is for sure: if you want to eat ham at Easter, the price is right.
With all the grocery price hikes pounding consumers, there are plenty of bargains to be had at area grocery stores for ham. And there seems to be plenty of that. And that makes buying a ham a good price.
One look at sales flyers and shop websites and hams are available from 79 cents a pound depending on what portion you buy and if it’s spiral cut. There are of course limits to how many you can buy. Buy two if you can, because leftover ham has many uses: quiches, salads, sandwiches, and soups. But even if you scoop one up, a ham at 79 cents a pound is great value.
Here are some answers to common ham questions along with one of our favorite recipes from the Detroit Free Press’s recipe archive, part of the USA TODAY Network.
Should I buy a whole or half a ham? How much ham do I need per person?
A whole ham typically weighs more than 10 pounds. That’s a big piece to wrestle with in a frying pan, which is why you’ll find so many half hams (whole hams cut in half). But if you feed a lot of people, you should consider it. For bone-in ham, plan for ⅓ to ½ pound of meat per person (or 2 to 3 servings per pound), or more if you want leftovers. For a boneless ham, calculate about ¼ pound per person or more for leftovers.
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Ham or knuckle portion?
The answer is purely a matter of taste, although taste and cost are factors to consider. A ham labeled “butt” comes from the thigh, closer to the hip. It usually costs a little more and is greasy and meaty. Carving can be a problem with the butt because of its irregularly shaped axle bone. A ham marked “Hip End” is larger, so you get more portions out of it. It’s easier to carve, has less fat, and costs less.
I personally prefer the taste of the butt end which isn’t as greasy.
With or without bones?
A boneless ham costs more than thigh and rump portions, but there’s also less waste and you get more portions. Boneless has a binder that holds it together in one solid piece.
As far as flavor goes, many chefs and meat experts would agree that choosing a ham on the bone offers more flavor. And you can use the leftover bone to make soup.
For Easter desserttry carrot cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting
Spiral cut or not?
Spiral-cut hams are cut in a spiral around the bone, making it easier to serve. But you need to watch them closely as they can dry out when reheated. Allow 10 to 18 minutes per pound of reheat time for a whole or half spirally sliced ham. I’ve had good luck reheating spiral sliced ham cut side down in the skillet.
How long should I cook it?
Ham marked as fully cooked requires gentle reheating in the oven. Most package directions recommend heating ham in a 325 degree oven. Let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before putting it in the oven. This way it doesn’t take that long to reach the recommended internal temperature. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the middle of the ham needs to reach 140 degrees to fully reheat. Figure 18 to 24 minutes per pound for half boned hams and 10 to 15 minutes for boned hams. Wait 15 to 18 minutes per pound when reheating a whole ham.
glaze or not?
Frostings often contain a lot of sugar that can burn, so many recipes need to add them towards the end of the cooking process. But I think they keep the ham moist. You can apply some at the beginning of cooking (make sure the ham is covered with foil) and again after it reaches the 135 degree mark.
Glazed ham in spiral slices
serves: 12 to 14 / Preparation time: 30 minutes / Total time: 4 hours (including ham soaking time and baking time)
We prefer a tapered ham, but a rounded sirloin fits this recipe. You can bypass the 1.5 hour soak time, but the heating time increases to 18 to 20 minutes per pound for a cold ham. If you skip the soaking, the ham will be a little less juicy.
1 spiral-cut half bone-in ham (7 to 10 pounds)
1 large plastic oven bag
1 recipe glaze (see chef’s note)
Leaving the ham’s inner plastic or foil covering intact, place the ham in a large container and cover with hot tap water. Set aside for 45 minutes. Drain and cover again with hot tap water; set aside for another 45 minutes.
Set the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 250 degrees. unpack ham; Discard the plastic disc covering the bone. Put the ham in the oven bag. Pinch the top of the bag tightly so it fits snugly around the ham, tie the bag shut and trim off the excess plastic. Place the ham, cut side down, in a large skillet and use a paring knife to cut 4 slits in the top of the bag.
Bake the ham until the center reads 100 degrees, 1 to 1½ hours (about 10 minutes per pound).
Remove the ham from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Cut open the oven bag and roll back the sides to reveal the ham. Brush the ham with a third of the glaze and place back in the oven until the glaze becomes tacky, about 10 minutes (if the glaze is too thick to coat, reheat to loosen).
Remove the ham from the oven, place it on a cutting board and brush the entire ham with a third of the glaze. Wrap the ham loosely in aluminum foil and let it rest for 15 minutes. While the ham is resting, add 4 to 6 tablespoons of ham juice to the remaining third of the glaze and cook over medium-high heat until a thick but runny sauce forms. Carve the ham and serve, pass the sauce separately.
Chef’s note: For the maple orange frosting, combine ¾ cup maple syrup, ½ cup orange marmalade, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick, syrupy, and reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 10 minutes; put aside.
From “100 Recipes: The Absolute Best Ways to Make the True Essentials” by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen (America’s Test Kitchen, $40).
Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.