If you’re a fan of ham, then you must try spiral ham – a juicy, succulent cut that’s perfect for any occasion. However, cooking a spiral ham can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the world of ham cooking. But don’t worry, with the right techniques and a little bit of patience, you can master the art of cooking spiral ham in no time!
What is Spiral Ham
If you’re looking for a delicious, easy-to-prepare ham, look no further than spiral ham. Spiral ham is a pre-cooked and pre-sliced ham that is spiral-cut all the way around the bone. This allows the ham to be sliced easily without the need for any special carving skills or tools. Spiral ham is typically made from the hind leg of a pig, which means it’s a bit leaner than other hams.
History of Spiral Ham
The invention of spiral ham is credited to Harry J. Hoenselaar, who founded the HoneyBaked Ham Co. in 1957. Hoenselaar developed a spiral-cutting machine that could make perfectly even slices all the way around the ham, making it easy for customers to take home and serve.
Types of Spiral Ham
- Boneless Spiral Ham: This type of spiral ham has had the bone removed, making it easier to slice and serve.
- Semi-boneless Spiral Ham: This type of spiral ham still has some bone left in, which can add flavor and moisture to the meat.
- Glazed Spiral Ham: This type of spiral ham has been glazed with a sweet mixture of sugar and spices, which adds flavor and helps keep the meat moist.
How to Serve Spiral Ham
Spiral ham is incredibly versatile and can be served in a variety of ways. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, and is often served as the centerpiece of a holiday meal. Some popular ways to serve spiral ham include:
- Sliced and served with mashed potatoes and gravy for a classic comforting meal
- Chopped and added to salads or soups for a flavorful protein boost
- Served on a sandwich with mustard and pickles for a quick and easy lunch
Pro tip: Don’t throw away the bone! The bone can be used to add flavor to soup or stock.
Types of Spiral Ham
When it comes to spiral ham, there are two types: bone-in and boneless.
Bone-In Spiral Ham
Bone-in spiral ham is cut from the hind leg of the pig. It contains the typical ham bone, which can make for a very flavorful and richer taste. The bone also slows down the cooking process and adds moisture to the meat, which can help against drying out. Additionally, the ham bone is a good base for soup or broth for leftovers. However, the bone can make it tough to slice or carve, and there’s always a risk of bone fragments.
Boneless Spiral Ham
Boneless spiral ham, on the other hand, is easier to carve and handle as it has no bone. This type of ham includes only meat, and it’s often easier to find in supermarkets than bone-in ham. Because of the lack of bone, boneless spiral ham can be less flavorful and moist than bone-in. As a result, it may be wise to take special care while cooking to keep it juicy and flavorful.
Preparing Spiral Ham for Cooking
If you want to impress your guests with a delicious spiral ham, make sure to prepare it properly. Here are some tips to ensure that your ham is ready to cook:
Thawing the Spiral Ham
One of the most important steps in preparing a spiral ham is to properly thaw it. You should never cook a frozen ham, as this can result in uneven cooking and a dry, tough texture. To thaw the ham, you have a few options:
- Refrigerator: The best and safest way to thaw a spiral ham is to place it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Make sure to place the ham in a large pan or dish to catch any liquid that may drip as it thaws. This method ensures that the ham remains at a safe temperature and will not become contaminated with bacteria.
- Cold Water: If you need to thaw the ham more quickly, you can place it in a large pot or sink filled with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold and ensure even thawing. This method can take 3-4 hours for a 5-7 pound ham, so plan accordingly.
- Microwave: If you are really pressed for time, you can use your microwave to thaw the ham. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for defrosting and cook the ham immediately after it is thawed.
Brining the Spiral Ham
Brining can help add flavor and moisture to your spiral ham. To brine your ham, follow these steps:
- Combine 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 1 gallon of water in a large pot.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until the salt and sugar dissolve.
- Add any additional flavorings you desire, such as cloves, bay leaves, or apple cider vinegar.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let the brine cool to room temperature.
- Place the ham in a large plastic bag or container and pour the cooled brine over the top.
- Refrigerate the ham and let it soak in the brine for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
Selecting the Cooking Method and Seasoning
Choosing the right cooking method and seasoning can make all the difference in your spiral ham’s flavor and texture. Here are some options:
- Oven Roasting: This is the most traditional method for cooking a spiral ham. Preheat the oven to 325Â°F, place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan, and cover the pan with foil. Cook the ham until it reaches an internal temperature of 140Â°F (about 15-18 minutes per pound). Remove the foil for the last 20-30 minutes to glaze the ham and allow it to brown.
- Grilling: Grilling can add a smoky flavor to your ham. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and place the ham on the grate. Cook the ham for about 10 minutes per side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140Â°F.
- Instant Pot: Using an Instant Pot can speed up the cooking process significantly. Place the ham in the pot and add enough liquid (such as water, apple juice, or chicken broth) to cover the bottom. Cook on high pressure for 10-15 minutes per pound, depending on the size of your ham. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before opening the pot.
- Seasoning: There are so many delicious ways to season a spiral ham, from sweet and fruity glazes to spicy rubs. Some popular options include honey mustard glaze, brown sugar and cinnamon rub, and pineapple juice and soy sauce marinade. Experiment with different flavors to find your favorite!
By following these tips for preparing a spiral ham, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of this delicious dish. Whether you’re serving it for a holiday meal or just a casual dinner with friends, your guests are sure to be impressed!
Cooking Spiral Ham in Oven
Cooking a spiral ham in the oven is one of the easiest ways to create a delicious, succulent dish for any occasion. Here are some tips and tricks to master the art of cooking spiral ham in the oven:
Choose the Right Spiral Ham
The first key to success when cooking a spiral ham in the oven is to choose the right ham. Look for a ham that is fully cooked and labeled “spiral cut.” This will ensure that the ham has already been cut in a way that makes it easy to serve, and it has been cooked to perfection.
Preheat Your Oven
Before you begin cooking your ham, preheat your oven to 325Â°F to ensure that it is fully heated by the time you are ready to put the ham in the oven. Preheating your oven will also help ensure that your ham cooks evenly.
Glaze Your Ham
To add some extra flavor to your ham, you can apply a glaze before putting it in the oven. There are many different types of glazes you can use, from honey mustard to brown sugar and pineapple. Apply the glaze using a brush, making sure to get in between the slices so that the flavor soaks in.
Bake Your Ham
Once the glaze is applied, it’s time to put the ham in the oven. Place the ham, cut-side down, in a roasting pan, and add some water or broth to the pan to keep it moist. Cover the ham with foil and bake for approximately 10-15 minutes per pound, or until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 140Â°F.
Rest Your Ham
After your ham is done baking, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to distribute evenly throughout the ham and make it easier to carve and serve.
With these simple steps, you can master the art of cooking spiral ham in the oven and impress your guests with a delicious, juicy dish.
Cooking Spiral Ham in Slow Cooker
Cooking spiral ham in a slow cooker is a convenient and easy method that can produce a juicy and flavorful ham. It requires longer cooking time compared to oven-baked ham, and may not give you the similar crispy outer layer. Nevertheless, with this simple technique, you can still cook perfect, tender spiral ham with ease.
Prepare the Spiral Ham for Slow Cooking
Before cooking the ham, remove the wrapper and take out the glaze packet, if any. Rinse the ham under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. To fit the spiral ham inside the slow cooker, trim the ham as needed. Then, score the skin and fat with a knife, but don’t cut too deep. This will allow the flavors to seep in while cooking.
Cook the Spiral Ham in Slow Cooker
Place the spiral ham in the slow cooker, with the flat side down. If your ham came with a glaze packet, pour it over the ham. If not, you can create your own glaze with brown sugar, honey, and mustard. Cover the slow cooker and set it on low heat, then cook for 4 to 5 hours, depending on the size of your ham. Baste the ham every hour with the juices from the slow cooker.
Add Vegetables and Fruits for Added Flavor
You can add vegetables and fruits to the slow cooker to enhance the flavor of the ham. Onions, carrots, and celery are great choices, as they can add sweetness and depth to the dish. Apples, pineapples, and oranges can also add a fruity note to the ham. Simply add them to the slow cooker with the ham and let them cook together.
Brown the Spiral Ham for a Crispy Outer Layer
After slow cooking the ham, it may not have the same crispy outer layer as an oven-baked ham. To achieve this, transfer the ham to a baking sheet and brush it with a mixture of honey and Dijon mustard. Broil the ham for 5 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and caramelized. Keep an eye on it as it can quickly burn.
With this simple recipe, you can master the art of cooking a delicious spiral ham in a slow cooker. It may require longer cooking time than an oven-baked ham, but the result will be a juicy, tender, and flavorful ham that your family will love.
Serving Suggestions for Spiral Ham
Spiral ham is a versatile dish that can be served in many ways. Here are some serving suggestions for your next meal:
1. Traditional Holiday Dinner
Spiral ham is a classic choice for a holiday dinner. Pair it with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and a rich gravy for a comforting meal. Consider adding a cranberry sauce or sweet potato casserole to complete the spread.
Spiral ham is great for making sandwiches. Layer it with your favorite cheese, lettuce, and tomato on your choice of bread. Add some mustard or mayo for a delicious lunch option.
Add spiral ham to your favorite salad for a protein boost. It pairs well with greens, fruits, and nuts. Try it with a strawberry spinach salad or a harvest salad.
Start your day with a spiral ham. Use it as a savory addition to an omelet or fold it into a breakfast burrito. Pair it with toast, fruit, and coffee for a complete meal.
Spiral ham can also be used in pasta dishes. Add it to a creamy pasta sauce or stir it into a pasta salad. The possibilities are endless.
6. Pizza Topping
A new and exciting addition to the list of spiral ham serving suggestions! Try adding sliced ham to your pizza toppings. Pair with some vegetables and enjoy a homemade pizza night.
Cooking Spiral Ham – A Delicious Treat for Foodies Everywhere
Thank you for reading our article on how to master the art of cooking spiral ham. We hope that you enjoy preparing and tasting this delicious treat for yourself, your family and your friends. Remember that practice makes perfect and you can always experiment with different flavors, spices and techniques to make your spiral ham even more special and unique. We encourage you to visit our website again for more delectable recipes, cooking tips and creative food ideas. Bon appÃ©tit!
Master the Art of Cooking Spiral Ham
- 1 spiral ham fully cooked and trimmed (8-10 pounds)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove ham from packaging and discard any flavor packets or glaze that came with it. Trim the excess fat and skin, if necessary, leaving a layer of fat on top to keep the meat moist during cooking.
- Using a sharp knife, score the fat in a criss-cross pattern, about 1/4 inch deep. This will help the glaze penetrate the meat and create a beautiful caramelized crust.
- In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, orange juice and garlic powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Brush the ham generously with the glaze, making sure to get into the scored crevices. Reserve some glaze for basting later.
- Place the ham on a roasting rack in a large baking pan. Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan to create steam and prevent the glaze from burning. Bake for 15-18 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F, basting with the reserved glaze every 30 minutes.
- Remove the ham from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm with your favorite sides and enjoy!