Tips for a good, moist, ham?

trsincOctober 19, 2009

The kind we get down here are smoked and usually a shank or a shoulder - I think those names are right. It's been a year since I bought one. Some come with netting, some don't. Some say boil first, some don't. I don't think any of them say whether or not to remove the fat after boiling.

I've left the fat on, and the ham was too salty. I've cut the fat off and the ham was too dry. I've covered to bake, baked uncovered, baked part way covered, etc. I just haven't found the right combo for a juicy ham.

Any ideas?

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I place the ham fat side up, and add water and whatever seasonings run down in the pan then cover tightly with foil.
Cook only until it is heated through.
This is particularly important with spiral sliced hams.
I usually use a 13"x9" pan.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 5:46PM
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Oh boy, this seems a bit of a loaded question. I say that because hams differ so much, I think the trick to getting a good, moist one is the kind of ham you buy. I don't know where you are exactly, but here we can find Honeybaked or Holiday Ham, or those nasty salt-water injected hams from the supermarket. Honeybaked is far less superior to the Holiday Ham IMHO, but I realize it's a subjective choice. It helps to start with a really great ham...(Yes. I realize this is probably going to get me in trouble!)

My BIL raises hogs, and sadly, he just doesn't know what good ham tastes like. I don't know that he's ever tasted a Holiday Ham. If he had, he would simply give up hog farming.

Here is a link that might be useful: Holiday Ham

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 6:40PM
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Hmm, maybe I didn't word that right. The hams we can get at my supermarket are smoked but raw. Just heating won't do it... We can also get the precooked hams, but I always buy the much cheaper raw hams.

Am I making sense? I know hams vary from place to place so my options may be totally different from other's. In fact, I can find these hams often at my store in Marble Falls, TX. But the stores I go to in Austin only have them at certain times of year. Each store is only 45 minutes away. One east, one west. Go figure. Both, however, sell the precooked and sometimes pre-sliced hams year round.

I'm going to the supermarket tomorrow. I'll check on the brand names, etc. then. That may be of help...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 7:22PM
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Claire, you're not in trouble with me, anyway, lol. Forgot to say that.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 7:24PM
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trsinc, I agree, LOL. I was raised on "country ham" and I don't care for those sweet imposters that pass themselves off as ham.

I always par-boiled mine for 15 or 20 minutes, turned off the heat and let them set for an hour or so to leach out some of the salt. Rinse and then bake. They are always a bit dryer than those commercially injected ones because they AREN'T injected full of stuff.

Now Carl smokes my hams for me, and they still aren't sweet and glazed.

Yeah, I know, if many people were like me those obscenely overpriced sugar coated ham places would go belly up. (grin)

My brother, on the other hand, loves the stuff, so I guess they'll stay in business for a while longer.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 8:10PM
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However you Bake is according to the ham you purchase.
To boil or not to boil, that is the Question.

The amount of salt in the ham determines that.

I've been lucky in the last 19 years.
The Market where I buy, has a fast turnover in Hams, so they don't add much Salt.

In fact one of the guys who worked for me, came up every
Easter , to buy 12 hams.

SOOOOO !!! I use my Waterless cooker without the lid.
Trim some of the fat off , if it is too thick.

Cut through the fat to make a 1 1/4 diamond grid pattern and insert Whole Cloves in the corners.
Maybe about 8 in the whole top.

Lay some Pinapple Slices on top
Place the Ham in the cooker, fat side up.

Put in a cup of water and Bake in a 325 oven til done.
About 2 hrs. or 160 deg. internal temp.
Add more water if it drys up.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 9:30PM
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I can still hear my MIL: "25 minutes per pound in a 325 degree oven." You could try the Southern style and baste it with Coke or Dr. Pepper. Or, you could bake it in an oven baking bag until done then glaze it with Dr. Pete's Praline Mustard Sauce -- ohhhhhh! I'm making myself crave ham with Dr. Pete's here.....

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 6:59PM
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Ok. I bought one today. It's a Smithfield smoked picnic. It has a net. Directions say to bake at 350, 18-22 minutes per pound until internal temp of 148 (at thickest part). This one does not say to boil first. I always remove the netting. You ARE supposed to, right? It also says 23% of weight is added ingredient. It has a layer of fat and a bone.

Lou had it right... to boil or not to boil? What say ye? It's only myself and hubby so I cube it all up and freeze to use in soups and whatever, later on.

Annie, your method sounds good as you don't parboil it as long as I have in the past. Maybe that has been my problem? Do you parboil even if the package does not say too? Are we talking about the same kind of ham?

Teresa, that praline mustard sauce sounds interesting. Is that a local thing? I've not seen it but I've never looked for it either.

I've heard of Virginia hams all covered in salt or something. We don't get those here. I'd love to try one one day, though.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 7:25PM
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Smithfield is the only kind of ham I find consistently good here. I'm in Texas, too, further south than you.

I have never par boiled one, and never had a dry one.

I bake them accorrding to the directions, and have not been disappointed, yet.

I often make ham & dumplings with some of the left overs,
(pretty much the same as chicken & dumplings, but with cubes of the ham in place of the chicken). Have found that I have to be careful doing that, as the ham becomes dry & stringy if it is cooked in the broth too long.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 8:59PM
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trsinc, I doubt if it's a commercially available Smithfield ham, that it needs boiling. If the package does not direct you to soak or boil the ham, I wouldn't do it.

I haven't bought a ham in years, since I raise my own pork and Carl does the smoking for me when the pigs are packaged. I don't soak or par-boil the ones from Carl either.

The hams I bought locally were "salted and smoked", and boy were they. That's why I par-boiled and then baked them. I didn't ever want to make gravy or soup or anything else out of the water they were boiled in, it was intensely salty.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 10:05PM
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I've used Smithfield Hams before I moved to the Poconos.
I liked them a lot too.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 10:26PM
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Ok then. I guess I'll bake without boiling or trimming the fat. I know I've done that in the past and it was way too salty. BUT that could have been the brand (whatever it was) that said to boil first. I suppose it doesn't matter if it's too salty if I use it for soups and things.

Thanks everyone. Grandma always boiled first so I guess I thought they all needed to be boiled...

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 11:03PM
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The Dr. Pete's Praline Mustard Glaze (not sauce) is found in many gourmet food stores in the country. Not sure if it is in your regular grocery store. Here is a link and free shipping!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dr. Pete's Praline Mustard Glaze

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 11:15PM
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Hams have such variation...a "Smithfield Ham' used to mean a drya ged ham...onet hat has been hung in a smoke house and salted for about a year....its was dry and shrunken and very salty. The name "Smithfield referred to the part of Virginia where they were sold.
Now Smithfield is a company producing raw cured hams which are pumped full of salt water and who knows what else....I have probably cooked 10 of them for the church in the past 3 years or so.....and they are good!
But they cook much faster than the package says....and get tough and "baconey" if over cooked.
Check often with the instant read thermometer.
Do you need a recipe for the pineapple casserole I usually serve with the ham?
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 11:27PM
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I am no "ham expert" by any means. I buy bone-in ham (whatever brand I can get up here) and have found that it turns out the best if I place it, sliced end down, in a roaster, add a little water, and bake it, using a meat thermometer, it turns out great.

And the "broth" makes a super gravy!


    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 12:00AM
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Thanks again, friends. :-)

Teresa, I'm going to look around for that glaze! Have you ordered from that site before? I always like to ask that before I jump in and do it.

Linda, that pineapple casserole sounds good. I don't like to put pineapple directly on the ham because I use most of it for all different things. I'd like the recipe, when you have time. My pineapple accompaniment is usually just a can opened and plopped in a dish! lol

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 12:06AM
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Linda, doucanoe, what do you mean by gravy? Gravy for something else? Or are you making gravy for the ham? Pardon my ignorance but my ham experiences are very limited. I've only ever had it prepared for me with cabbage, potatoes, or in a sandwich. That's it and that was more than 30 years ago when my grandma was alive. That's how I still do it once a year or so. I've never had gravy with a ham... or even heard of that, actually.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 12:16AM
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She means Ham Gravy. ( 30 years ) ???

Linda: Tell her about the gravy !
- - - - -

I also make a Pineapple Sauce. Very easy !

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 12:45AM
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We sold the Dr. Pete's products in the gourmet store where I worked for ten years. I have not ordered from that site. All their products were very good and our customers loved them.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 7:02AM
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Linda, yes please post that pineapple casserole recipe! Yummy!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 8:40AM
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Pineapple casserole 8 1/2 by 11 dish
a #10 can of drained pineapple, save the juice
3/4 cup of juice mixed with
1/2 cup white sugar,
1/2 cup brown sugar,
2/3 cups flourÂ.and 3 to 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, top with cornflake crumbs and drizzle over a stick of melted butter.
Baked for 40 minutes at 375.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:38AM
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I baked a ham last week and did it the same way I always do. It was a bone-in ham just over 7 pounds. I don't like fruit or glazes with ham so I just put in a roasting pan, cover tightly with foil and bake in a 325°F oven until tender. Approximately 20 minutes a pound. The ham gives off a certain amount of liquid so I've never felt the need to add additional liquid to the pan. Hams do vary but I've been lucky with one brand so that is the brand I usually buy.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 11:00AM
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trsinc, with my own hams I often make "ham gravy" for potatoes or to serve with breakfast over biscuits. I just drain the liquid from the pan, thicken it and use it for gravy. Taste the liquid first, before going to all that trouble, and do NOT salt it before tasting the gravy.

Ashley loves it over hot biscuits instead of sausage gravy, and she wants lots of freshly cracked black pepper. I use the bone and the small "bits" for bean soup and I never trim the fat before I bake the ham, but I do throw it away after baking, I don't use it in anything I cook.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 12:12PM
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Instead of plopping the Pineapple in a dish, why don't you plop it in a Sauce Pan and make a Sauce.

A lot of people like Pineapple Sauce with Baked Ham,
along with the Ham gravy.
They will have have a choice. We use both. Gravy is good on the Potatoes.


Empty a can of Crushed Pineapple in a Sauce Pan and start to simmer.
Add a cup of Orange Juice or more later if needed and a pinch of Powdered Cloves ,
with a squirt of Lemon . Sweeten to taste with Sugar.

Simmer til the Pineapple softens add more Orange juice if needed and thicken with Corn Starch.
It will thicken more when it cools.
Add what ever to taste. Should be like a soft Pie Filling.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
For the Gravy I do the same as some others.
Take the Ham out of the Roasting Pan, add water if needed.
According to how much you want to make.

If I don't use Cloves on top of the Ham , I'll add a pinch of powdered Cloves to the Juices.
Add a tablespoon of Tomatoes mushed up or a spoon of Ketsup thinned with a little water.

1/2 Teaspoon of Onion and Garlic Powder or to taste.
Bring the Juices to a slow Boil and
loosen the hardened stuff on the bottom of the Pan.

Give it a taste test.
I add a spoon of Chicken Soup Base if it has a weak taste.
Thicken; to your liking , with Corn Starch mixed in cold water.
It will thicken more as it cools.

Happy Holiday !!!
- - - - - - - - - - - -

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 7:57PM
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Yep, ham gravy. I make it the same way as Annie does. My mom alwyas made it and it is delicious over mashed potatoes!


    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 8:10PM
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Annie , Linda : How did I do ?????
Did I splain it right ?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 8:24PM
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Well ya learn something new every day. I'm cooking the ham tomorrow and I'll make some gravy and see how it tastes. It does sound like it would be great with potatoes. I bet it's good on grits as well. I'm going to make some pineapple sides too.

Lou, you did good. I understood it!

Thank you all for the recipes and ideas.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 8:37PM
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I like to make a gravy from the drippings in the pan like Annie does.
One of the problems is that the ham drippings can be very salty with "modern" hams that have "solution added".
So a little simple liquid like apple juice is a good thing to deglaze the pan...or sometimes I use beer or a German white an auslase.
Then thicken the liquid with a bit of flour or cornstarch.
Seems to me my grandmother would put coffee in her ham gravy? Does that sound right?
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:12PM
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Coffee is sometimes added to country ham "red eye" gravy.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:33PM
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Lou, I don't care for cloves, so I never add them to anything. No ketchup, no soup base, no coffee, either.
And I never glaze ham, either....don't care for sweet with meat in most cases.

My ham gravy is just the juices from the ham, and either a roux of unsalted butter and flour or just plain cornstarch and water to thicken.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:47PM
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