Perdue Farms Guide: Best Way to Cook a Ham
Baking ham this holiday season? Wondering how long to heat it, the best ham glaze ingredients and what to do with leftovers? Here, Perdue Farms' corporate chefs share their cooking tips and tricks, so your can make the most of your Niman Ranch products.
Niman Ranch Spiral Ham is:
- Preservative free — no nitrates or nitrites added
- Packaged with a sweet and smoky glaze. The flavors of brown sugar, dry mustard, cinnamon and ground orange peel result in delicious and succulent ham slices.
- From pork raised:
- with no hormones or antibiotics ever
- outside on pasture or in deeply bedded pens
- on a 100% vegetarian diet
- Certified Humane®
How to Heat a Fully Cooked Ham
Low and slow is key when heating a fully cooked ham, as this method will help ham retain moisture.
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Wrap ham in foil and place, cut side down, in a pan with a roasting rack. Place pan in oven and cook (allow about 10 to 14 minutes per pound of meat.).
- When digital meat thermometer, inserted in thickest part of ham, registers 100 to 110 F, remove ham from oven and unwrap. Place ham back in pan, cut side down, pour one to two cups of water in the roasting pan to create steam and place pan back in oven.
- When digital meat thermometer reads 110 to 120 F, remove ham from oven, and using a basting brush, apply glaze (either packet provided with your Niman Ranch ham or recipe below) to entire surface of ham. Increase temperature of oven to 400 F. Place pan back in oven and let roast for 10 minutes.
- Cook ham for 30 more minutes, basting ham with glaze and drippings from pan two or three more times as ham cooks. Ham is done when internal temperature reaches 145 F.
- When done, remove ham from oven, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 25 to 30 minutes before serving.
Easy Ham Glaze
Combine one part brown sugar with one part orange juice. Optional: Mix in your favorite brown mustard, apricot jam or cola.
How to Cook Ham in a Slow Cooker
If you prefer unglazed ham, keep ham in slow cooker for the duration of the cooking process.
To cook and glaze a ham:
- Heat ham in a slow cooker on low, allotting 20 or more minutes of cooking time per pound of ham.
- When a digital meat thermometer, inserted in the thickest portion of ham, reaches 110 to 120 F, remove ham from slow cooker and transfer to a pan with roasting rack.
- Follow oven roasting and basting directions above.
How to Make Ham Gravy
The process of heating a fully cooked ham results in a minimal amount of pan drippings. To ensure that there is enough liquid in the roasting pan at the end of the cooking process to make a gravy, do one of the following things before you place ham in the oven:
- If you happen to have a ham bone in the freezer from a previous roast, add it to the roasting pan with a few cups of water and a half cup of dry sherry and a few sprigs of thyme.
- Pour ham or other stock in the bottom of roasting pan.
Then, follow these instructions:
- When ham is fully roasted, remove pan from oven and strain liquid through a fine sieve and into a sauce pot.
- For more intense flavor, reduce the liquid over medium-high heat until it is concentrated.
- To thicken, whisk in a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch blended with ¼ cup cold water for every 2 cups of ham broth and drippings). Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Best Side Dishes for Ham
Think sweet and vinegary. Pair ham with dishes that balance out the smoky, salty flavor. We recommend:
- Braised greens
- Roasted squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Tangy chutneys/fruit relishes
- Traditional Thanksgiving side dishes
Leftover Ham Ideas
Ham, if properly stored in an air-tight container or bag, will last five to seven days in the refrigerator. If properly stored in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, ham will last up to a year in the freezer. If ice crystals begin to form, discard.
For a quick and easy dinner, reheat ham, following the oven roasting guidelines outlined above. Or cut ham into steaks and quickly sear each side in a pan set over medium-high heat.
And be sure to save the bone! Ham bone makes delicious stock and soup; when cooking beans or lentils, add ham bone to the pot to enhance flavor.
Meet the Perdue Farms Corporate Culinary Team
Chef Chris Moyer, CEC, CRC, and Chef Shawn Reese, CEC, CRC, bring decades of combined culinary experience to their roles at Perdue Farms. Day to day, the chefs contribute to recipe development, culinary ideation and all culinary aspects of the company business. Along with keeping a close eye on emerging trends, new flavors and innovations in the industry, Chefs Chris and Shawn are involved in food photography for Perduefarms.com and head up planning and preparation of meals for both internal corporate functions and external consumer-focused events. The duo represents Perdue Farms and its brands at food shows across the country and remain 100% focused on a positive consumer experience with Perdue Farms products. "We truly love what we do," they say, "and it is exciting to be in an environment that allows us the freedom to be innovative."LEARN MORE