How to Make and Carve the Juciest Bone-In, Whole Holiday Ham is not as hard as it looks. These step by step directions will help you conquer the task like a pro.The ham is all about pomp and circumstance don’t you think? At least that’s the only reason I put the pineapple and cherry decor in the ham’s skin. They don’t contribute to the overall flavor, but they look gorgeous on the holiday buffet! You know what they say, “we eat with our eyes first”.
Anyway, making the juciest bone-in, whole holiday ham is easier than you think. It all starts with the ham itself. I’ll admit, I am a bit a ham snob. It has to be quality and it HAS to be bone-in. Now, almost five years ago, I wrote about a making a Baked Ham with Rum and Coke Glaze. It is an amazing recipe using a smaller ham, but still bone-in. Please tell me you have stopped buying the pre-sliced spiral ham. If you haven’t, call me and I’ll talk you off the ledge, or I’ll talk to your family member who’s still doing it.
Anyway, I have to admit I am so, so lucky to have one of the most quality places to buy meat. This particular bone-in, whole ham is from my local go-to place for all things meat. My mom, who has been cooking hams for YEARS visits and can’t believe how lovely this ham turns out. A good ham requires little intervention.
My point is, you have to start with an excellent ham, to get the best and juiciest flavor. And don’t be afraid of the carving, it’s not hard. This particular ham weighed in at 19.5 pounds. It would, without a doubt, feed 20-25 people, or better yet, a smaller crowd with lots of leftovers.
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Remember, the ham is already cooked, so basically you’re warming it up. It does take a while and I recommend doing it slowly. This ham was in the oven for about five-and-half-hours at 300 degrees F.
The whole ham comes wrapped in a sort-of cheesecloth bag, remove it and place the ham on your roasting rack, fat side up. The pan should be shallow and free of any water on the bottom. In other words, It should be completely dry.
You’ll want to score the ham before baking. Scoring not only looks beautiful but allows any fat to render from the ham and lets the glaze seep in. Score the ham’s fat in diamonds, going only a 1/4″ deep with a knife. I use a strip of heavy paper, 12 x 2 inches (this one was made from a pizza box), as a guide to cut perfectly parallel lines.