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Mar 21, 2013 01:46 PM

Help a ham newbie out

So I think I'd like to take advantage of Easter sales, and buy a ham to make. Problem is, I have no idea what kind of ham to buy, and I've only had whole ham a few times in my life (our special occasion dinners growing up were always turkey or tri-tip). My SO likes honey baked hams from the store, but I'm not necessarily looking to replicate that, although it would be fine.

My store has "butt portion bone-in ham" on sale this week. Is that what I want to buy to do a whole ham roast? Any good ideas for glazes?

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  1. Make sure you don't buy a "ham and water product".

    I like to mix dijon mustard and brown sugar into a dry paste, smear it on, and wrap the ham tightly in foil before slowly baking it.

    This is a very simple and easy method; I'm sure others will have more complex ideas, if that is what you are looking for!

    2 Replies
    1. re: sandylc

      Simple and easy is usually the way I go for my first round with anything new :) I found this recipe from here on Chow, looks pretty similar to what you describe?

      1. re: juliejulez

        I like Iron Chef (yes, those Iron Chefs) Brand Orange Sauce Glaze with Ginger. Its a little sweet (ok, its sweet), its orangy, it has a bit of spice heat to it.

        Typically we put the ham on a rack, cut or face side down and then I put either some apple cider, ginger ale, or coca cola in the roaster to provide a bit of steam to keep the meat from drying out. We let it bake at least a half hour to warm up and dry off before we put the first coat of glaze on. The bottle typically will glaze a ham 3-4 times and I use the entire bottle. Then if the ham came with one of those little candied sugar packets we put that on last.

        Anymore we do spirals, which are dryer - its true. But its just easier when you've got 20+ at Easter dinner to only have to cut the slices off the ham then to carve the ham.

    2. Here's recent NY Times article about picking a ham:

      I'm more of a raw country ham guy, but my family and I have found agreement on this city ham from Burger's:

      That ham may be a bit much for you at this early stage, but all of their ham products are probably worth tryin'

      My thoughts on preparation are: (a) Remember it's basically already cooked, so you're really just heating; (b) If you want a sweet glaze, apply just about any sweet substance - honey, sugar, molasses, jam, allfruit, etc. - in the last half hour of cooking; and (c) Don't buy a presliced ham, it will reduce the ease of cooking because it is more likely to dry out.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MGZ

        Thanks, that article was helpful, and the comments amused me :)

        And yes unfortunately $80 is a bit much for a ham for me (that's more than my entire week's grocery budget!), plus I think doing a half ham would be better... there's only 2 of us and while we both like ham, that would make for a bit too much in the leftover department!

        1. re: juliejulez

          Yeah, I'm doing a twenty pounder for two dozen adults and half that many kids (a turkey too). I do, however, think that they do solid products, with wide appeal, at reasonable prices for what they are. Perhaps, at some point, you might want to take a look at the Site. The smoked hog jowls are particularly interesting to try without a substantial investment.

          1. re: juliejulez

            Quote attributed to Dorothy Parker: "Eternity is two people and a ham."

            1. re: cookie monster

              I've heard and quoted that line many times and never before seen anyone offer attribution. I understood it to be an old southern colloquialism.

              1. re: MGZ

                Yes, the attribution may not be accurate. But I love the line regardless.

        2. I'm in a family of ham lovers! Nigella has a great recipe on line for ham. I just use the glaze most of the time. It has pineapple preserves, hot mustard and ginger in it. My darling sister in law declared it the best ham ever! I make ham salad for DH with the leftovers.

          1. I prefer the shank portion, I cook at 350 till it hits 140 degrees in the center, take out and glaze and place back at 425 for 15 min. I prep glaze with honey, brown sugar, spices and cook till thick then, spread on the ham for the last 15 min.

            1. "My store has "butt portion bone-in ham" on sale this week. Is that what I want to buy to do a whole ham roast?"

              Yes. Butt portion has more meat to bone than shank. Simple, basic recipes/methods are best.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Uncle Bob

                Great thank you for answering my question about that particular cut, sounds like it would be good to go!