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Terrible Spiral Ham [moved from General Topics]

I bought a Kirkland Spiral Ham from Costco. I carefully followed all the instructions to the tea as I had never cooked a spiral ham before. Unfortunately I had company over and was bitterly disappointed in the dinner. The ham was dry and the meat did not seem to have the wonderful pale pink meat that I so like. The slices are way to thin and I could not even detect any smoked flavour. This morning I cut the remainder up to make sandwich mix and ended up adding smoke flavour to the mix. The rest of the leftovers I will make soup with putting packets in the freezer for soup at a later date.

The instructions were wrap in foil and cook at 275 for the first 2 hours or 15 minutes per pound. Then remove the foil and apply baste for the last 10 minutes.

I will not be buying another one that is for sure. When I bake unsliced ham they always turn out great and I will continue to just slice them myself.

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  1. I would have taken leftovers back to Costco and asked for a refund, and told them your feelings. Feedback can = improvement!

    1. I was at a party where ham was served; I raved about it, was told the host got it at Costco.

      1. “Terrible spiral ham” is a redundancy, akin to calling something “tiny little.” Foods designed for convenience generally suck when compared to the real thing. Think instant coffee, microwave popcorn, juice concentrates, etc.

        The question boils down to, “Is the added ease worth the sacrifice in taste?” When it comes to a ham, I say, “I have a knife and I know how to use it.”

        1. It isn't a smoked ham and should not taste smoky.

          I mix the spice packet with orange juice and baste, lifting and applying between the slices, -about an inch in- not just on the exterior.

          I have also had the ham without the spice packet and/or basting and/or heating (the ham has been on sale for 97¢/lb after the holidays) and it has a good flavor. The thin slices make it good for sandwiches.

          It seems unusual to have been so dry, since all you were doing was warming it up under the wrapped foil, so it should have been steaming and stayed moist. Maybe the heat was too high and/or measurements off.

          1. I haven't had the Costco Ham, but I would never re-cook a fully cooked ham. If it's sealed in the heavy cryo, I usually just put it into a sink of hot water until it warms up to just past room temp. If I need a glaze I apply it and hit the ham with a torch.

            I think those cooking instructions would have doomed any fully-pre-cooked ham, no matter who made it or where it was from.

            4 Replies
            1. re: acgold7

              You soak a spiral ham? Even those that have already had all that water added to them? I’m oddly fascinated by that approach.

              1. re: MGZ

                No, it's sealed in the cryo. That's why I said "If it's sealed in the heavy cryo"...

                But I do remove the cryo before I apply the glaze and torch it. Otherwise the melted plastic gets stuck in your teeth.

                1. re: acgold7

                  I see I missed that. No wonder it struck me as so strange. (Though, with some spiral hams, I wonder if the melted plastic taste might help?)

            2. Won a Kirkland spiral in a draw. Never would have bought one. Altered the glaze a bit. To my great surprise and wonderment, it was pretty good. But I still won't buy one. Just seems a bit lazy and trashy to me.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Scary Bill

                I love Honeybaked brand spiral hams. Never heat them up, just let come to room temperature.

              2. The key with SSH's is to ignore instructions, which usually result in overcooked hams. Don't heat them past reaching 100F in the foil or roasting bag (a bag with 4 small slits up towards the tie is better than foil), and then let rest until the temperature rises to about 120F.

                I've always had good luck with Costco's SSHs.

                1. Sorry to hear of your disappointment. But maybe best not to give up too soon.

                  I read once--in Cooks Illustrated, I think--that spiral sliced hams are processed to a lower temperature than regular hams. Thus they tend as a class of ham to be better than regular ones. But as Karl S points out, the instructions can tend to overstate the heating times and temps. Use a thermometer.

                  Maybe too late now, but I'm pretty sure Costco would refund you if you brought back the packaging or even the receipt.

                  1. Not surprising at all. As soon as you cut ANY food and expose it to air, it begins drying out. Putting pre-sliced meat in an oven is a recipe for disaster.

                    1. I've cooked several over the years, they always come out great, I use a probe thermometer in the ham to monitor the internal cooking temperature as well as an oven thermometer. As for the smoke flavor, they're not smoked. Also, I like to add the glaze and cook for another 20-25 minutes while monitoring the internal temp. Maybe you have an oven that is not too accurate.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: treb

                        I was referring to the "smokey" flavour of any ham. Otherwise you just have the taste of pork and curing spices. The spiral ham I had was hickory smoked but you sure could have fooled me.

                      2. Spiral sliced hams have a tendency to dry out.

                        I too alter the spice packet. I use Jack Daniels instead of water.


                        1. I've had the Costco have a few times now. Comes out great every time for me. I do the same thing with every spiral cut ham in that I add about 3/4 cup of water to the pan before I wrap it with foil and cook for about 1 hour a 300%.
                          Then I glaze it and bake at 400-425% for 20 minutes or more uncovered until I see it is done.
                          * I make my own glaze from a recipe I found with maple syrup, brown sugar, touch of honey, Dijon mustard, cinnamon and a few others spices and brush that on. Or I just doctor up the glaze mix from Costco with a touch of honey, Dijon mustard, cinnamon and its always really good.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pudding

                            same here. The ham comes out great.

                            1. I've cooked many spiral hams @ Thanksgiving and Easter. I do this in a large crock pot sealed in a Reynolds Turkey Cooking Bag because I don't have enough oven space when cooking for a crowd. I've never had a problem with Costco's Kirkland brand. When a ham is salty it is usually because it's been overcooked. The liquids cook away leaving the salt to concentrate. Remember you are just warming the ham through. It is is cured and can even be eaten unheated. Costco is super user friendly. They accept anything back for refund.i saw an ad for a Hormel Cure 81 spiral ham. Cure 81 has long been a top brand sold to the food service indusrty.