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Nov 20, 2012 01:59 AM

Bland, tough ham? Fixes?

Hello, I am the former vegetarian who very recently became an omnivore. So meat is a mystery to me!

Tonight I bought a pre-cooked spiral ham at Sprouts. I bought it because, though I am not a big fan of pork, I have enjoyed snacking on natural sliced ham from Applegate Farms, and I wanted a less expensive chunk of ham. I bought the spiral ham and cut it up into smaller portions, then froze those.

I did taste the ham while I was working on it, and it does not taste very good tbh. It is tough and the flavor is just not as good as the Applegate stuff. Is this because it was not yet glazed? Is there a way to improve the flavor of it as I eat it, like say simmering the pieces in a light glaze or something?


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  1. Pre cooked spiral ham.If taste tests,year in and out have any meaning at all,it's none of the brands are alike,in taste or texture.Here DC,two of our TV stations do this year in and year out with 4 brands.The people polled,tasters have solid,articulate reasons why one is best to them,taste or texture or both.That said,all need a little help from condiments or glazes etc.
    mustard,mayo,BBQ sauce,relish etc.
    If you decide to warm one whole or slices do it low and slow,covered tight, minimally to avoid dry shoe leather.If you get it truly hot you went too far with the product 99.9% of the time.
    Taste ??? your ham to you.What's missing?salt,sugar,fruitiness from a sauce or glaze.Or is it just BLAND,a frequent adjective in our local "tastings".

    1 Reply
    1. re: lcool

      +1, overcooking it will make it tougher. I'm guessing it's plenty salty so you could always slice it thin and add it to grilled cheese sandwiches (right at the end). Wouldn't do much for adding more ham flavor but would still be a nice way to eat it.

      For eating it straight, maybe you could try soaking slices in your glaze in the fridge for a while. Then warm gently (or eat cold!)

    2. lcool, you had it right, it really just needed some help. It was tough, bland, and tasted a little bitter or sour (hard to pin down.)

      My fix: I put a few teaspoons of the glaze mix (basically sugar, honey, spice) into a little pan with about 3/4 cup of water. I brought it to a simmer, turned it down, and let the ham sit in it at just below a simmer for awhile... maybe 20 minutes? I kept the heat super-low.

      Afterward, the ham was really good! It was very tender (instead of tough with connective tissue and fat bits) and juicy and mildly sweet. A good amount of fat had rendered out of it into the water-glaze mix, so I stored it in a bowl with the mix and that thickened up nicely.

      I plan to keep doing this with the portions as I defrost them- barely simmering them with some of the glaze or with some honey.

      1 Reply
      1. re: reptilegrrl

        If you are going to start making some of your glazes from the on hand pantry,honey is a great start,as are bits of left over jelly,jam,maple syrup and mustard.