How to Make the Perfect Easter Ham
After entertaining a houseful of friends and family and hosting an Easter egg hunt for the kids, you’re bound to be both hungry and tired. Luckily, Easter dinner doesn’t have to be high-maintenance; it’s easy to prepare a truly special and delicious meal, especially if you’re serving ham.
Ham is a popular choice for Easter dinner, and it’s no wonder. This flavorful roast is almost always sold pre-cooked — which means all you have to do is reheat the ham before serving. As long as you know what type of ham to look for and how to avoid drying it out during the warming process, you’re guaranteed a delicious and crowd-pleasing main dish.
One of the main things to consider when you’re planning your Easter dinner is how long you’ll need to cook your ham. The time needed to bring the ham to the right temperature can vary based on the type of ham you choose and the size of your individual ham. Bone-in, precooked hams ranging from about five to 15 pounds can take anywhere from just under two hours to almost four hours, respectively. Boneless hams, which generally range from one to 10 pounds, require less cook time — as little as 45 minutes or as much as two and a half hours.
You should never assume that the cook time on a chart or on the ham’s packaging is set in stone, though; be sure you use a meat thermometer and take the internal temperature of the ham to determine when it is ready to serve. You should remove your ham from the oven when it reaches 140 degrees F (the internal temperature of the ham will still climb a few degrees higher after it’s removed from the oven) to avoid drying it out. If you’re cooking a bone-in ham, be sure you take the temperature near the bone for the most accurate result.
Looking for a few reliable tips for cooking and glazing a perfect Easter ham? Read on; we’ve got nine that will help make your holiday dinner a success.
Choose the Right Ham
Easter is a special occasion, and if you want to make a special meal you should start with a special ham. If you can, order a nice smoky, bone-in ham from your local butcher. The ham will have more flavor and a better texture. Otherwise, look for a ham that’s labeled “in natural juices” instead of “water added” at the supermarket (for the best flavor) and avoid spiral-cut hams that can easily dry out during cooking.
Score the Fat
There should be a nice layer of fat on the outside of your ham; start by scoring it. Take a sharp knife and cut a diamond pattern along the top layer. The lines should be approximately one to two inches apart (depending upon the size of the ham) and the cuts shouldn’t penetrate the meat.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.