Although turkey is the traditional Thanksgiving entree, some folks like a baked ham for the holiday. Since stores sell hams already precooked, baking your holiday ham is easy-peasy. Here’s how:
The first thing you need to do is make sure that your ham IS completely cooked. Sometimes you can buy ham that is partially cooked and you need to know this going into the process.
You can buy ham with the bone in or out. I prefer the bone-in hams because they are more flavorful and because I LOVE using the ham bone the next day to make pea soup or beans.
You’ll want to place your ham, cut side down, into a shallow pan in about 1/2 inch of water. If you want to put cloves in the ham–a traditional touch –slash the sides of the ham. The traditional LOOK requires a diamond pattern, but whatever works for you will WORK. Stick the whole cloves into the meat in the slash marks. If you’re going for the traditional diamond-slash look, put the cloves at the intersections of the slashes.
Cover the ham tightly with foil and bake at 325° until the ham is heated through. Generally, a precooked ham takes about about ten minutes per pound to fully heat. If the ham is only partially cooked, figure on 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature is 160°. (Make sure that the meat thermometer is not touching the bone if you’re cooking a bone-in ham.)
If you want a traditional glaze, consider the honey-butter glaze. In a small saucepan, melt together about 2 c. of honey and 1 c. of butter until they’re blended together. Add ground pepper if you like that taste in your glaze. Baste your baking ham every 10-15 minutes as it’s heating up. (Basting can be done with a turkey baster, where you squirt the glaze over the meat, or you can brush the glaze on with a brush.)
If you want to carmelize the glaze at the very end of your baking time, turn the broiler on for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully so that you don’t end up burning the sugary glaze.
A tasty alternative that I enjoy is a honey mustard glaze. To make that, I add 1/2 c. spicy brown mustard to my honey-butter glaze.