How do I bake a bone in ham?
Selecting the Perfect Bone-In Ham
When it comes to baking a bone-in ham, the first step is selecting the perfect ham. There are various factors to consider when making this decision, such as the size, type, and quality of the ham. The size of the ham will depend on how many people you plan to serve. A general rule of thumb is to allocate about 1/2 to 3/4 pound of bone-in ham per person.
As for the type of ham, there are two main options: fresh or cured. Fresh hams are raw and need to be cooked thoroughly, while cured hams are pre-cooked and can be eaten as is or heated up. Additionally, some hams are smoked, which adds a unique flavor. When it comes to quality, look for a ham with a good amount of marbling and a bright pink color.
Preparing Your Bone-In Ham for Baking
Once you have chosen the perfect bone-in ham, the next step is to prepare it for baking. First, remove the ham from its packaging and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. This will help remove any excess brine or liquid that may have accumulated during the curing process. Next, pat the ham dry with paper towels and place it on a cutting board.
Using a sharp knife, score the surface of the ham in a diamond pattern, cutting about 1/4 inch deep. This not only makes the ham look more attractive, but it also allows the flavors of any glaze or seasoning to penetrate the meat more easily. Finally, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the ham, making sure to avoid touching the bone, as this can give an inaccurate reading.
Choosing the Right Seasonings and Glaze
Seasoning and glazing your bone-in ham can greatly enhance its flavor and make for a more delicious end result. There are countless combinations of seasonings and glazes to choose from, so feel free to get creative and experiment with different flavors.
Some popular glaze options include honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, and mustard. You can also add in various spices and herbs, such as cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, or thyme. To create your glaze, simply mix your chosen ingredients together in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly. Set aside to cool slightly before brushing onto the scored surface of your ham.
Baking Your Bone-In Ham to Perfection
Now that your bone-in ham is prepped and seasoned, it's time to bake it. Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C) and place the ham on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan, with the scored side facing up. This will allow the juices to baste the meat as it cooks, keeping it moist and flavorful.
Before placing the ham in the oven, cover it loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the surface from drying out or burning. Bake the ham for about 15-20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F (60°C) for a pre-cooked ham or 145°F (63°C) for a fresh ham. Remember to baste the ham with the pan juices every 30 minutes to keep it moist. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove the foil and brush the ham with your chosen glaze, allowing it to caramelize and create a delicious crust.
Carving and Serving Your Delicious Bone-In Ham
Once your bone-in ham has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy ham.
To carve your ham, start by locating the bone and making a vertical cut along one side of it. Then, make horizontal cuts perpendicular to the first cut, slicing through the meat until you reach the bone. Finally, make a diagonal cut to release the slices from the bone. Repeat this process on the other side of the bone until you have carved the entire ham.
Arrange the carved slices on a platter and serve your delicious bone-in ham with your favorite side dishes and enjoy the fruits of your labor!