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Tips for a Perfect Holiday Ham

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Before you buy your Holiday Ham, check out these tips to select the perfect one. Ham is actually a very easy main dish to make and we can see great deals around the holidays!

Perfect Holiday Ham

Tips for Buying the Perfect Holiday Ham

Are you cooking your first holiday ham this year? With more families cooking at home, we hope you can use these tips!

Before you buy your Holiday Ham, be aware that there are several different types. You can get bone-in or boneless. Either one can be flavorful and juicy. However, if you are planning on using the leftovers for soups or beans, you will need a bone-in ham. If you need more ham and have limited oven space, you can opt for a boneless ham.

The bone is what can provide flavor to other dishes for leftovers. If you are getting a boneless one– go for it! But if you throw leftover ham in to other dishes, the meat itself will break down as it's cooked slowly. A ham bone can be taken out, but leave the ham flavoring! I usually try to find a bone-in ham, since I cook often and we enjoy meals like soups and beans later on in the winter. Just freeze the bone, after the holiday meal is over!

What's the big deal about “Spiral Sliced”?

If you do buy a sliced ham, you won't actually have to slice it yourself! Win! I always look for a spiral sliced ham. It's easy to portion and serve also.

The only downside with a sliced ham is that if you're heading out to the smoker or plan to cook the ham in the oven with a glaze, it can fall apart slightly as it cooks. To avoid this, put the ham largest side down. The slices will be stacked top to bottom! Then it won't dry out as it heats up. Again, slices are there to help you and are great even if you plan to smoke or broil your ham. We typically do take the ham out to our Komado smoker for added flavor.

Buying a Ham — Selecting Size and Portions Needed:

One important tip is to not overbuy! Although ham is a more frugal option for a main dish, you can also overdo it and have a lot of leftovers to deal with.

Know how big of a ham do you need to feed your guests. Allow for ½ to ¾ lbs per serving for a bone-in ham and ¼ to ½ lbs per serving for a boneless ham.

Also keep in mind, if you have lighter eaters, smaller children, or even family who may be vegan or do not eat pork products, the ham will go much further. It's high in protein and does go a long way!

If you do overbuy or you ended up getting a great deal on your holiday ham, it freezes beautifully and you can use a Foodsaver or Ziploc bags to store for other recipes!

archer farms spiral ham

Cooked Ham vs. Uncooked:

Hams are often already cooked or smoked so really what you are doing is just reheating them.

When you buy, look for “Fully Cooked”. Labels will also say to cook to an internal temperature of 165, for food safety reasons. To check the internal temperature, use a meat thermometer and stick it deep in the ham to get an accurate reading.

If you did end up purchasing an uncooked ham, it's extremely important to follow preparation instructions and make sure internal temp reaches safe levels. You can prepare ham just about every way possible! Oven, smoker, broiler, or even pressure cooker are all options!

spiral sliced hams aldi

More Tips for the Perfect Holiday Ham:

  • Do not cook from frozen. Allow to thaw fully in refrigerator as needed. Be sure to pay attention to expiration dates, and keep sealed until ready to cook.
  • Let the ham sit at room temperature for about an hour before cooking.
  • Don't go glaze happy!  Glazes can burn very quickly so apply it 15-30 minutes before taking it out of the oven, and take a peek once in a while to make sure it's not burning.
  • Patience is a virtue! Like many other meats, a ham needs to sit when it gets out of the over to stay juicy. Let it sit for about 20 minutes once it's out of the oven.

I hope these tips are helpful! See more holiday recipes here!

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