Hammy ham!
December 24, 2009 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Spiral sliced ham -- to heat or not to heat? And what do I do with this glaze I made if the ham comes already glazed?

I have a glazed, spiral-sliced, uncured, ready-to-eat ham from Trader Joe's that I'm serving for Christmas dinner tomorrow. Originally I had planned to get a city ham and prepare it using a recipe for a bourbon, molasses and pecan glaze.

Well, I bought the TJs ham on impulse (I was there...I needed a ham...). A TJs employee said she recommended serving it cold or room temp, because heating it would make it leathery. My family is complaining, saying they want it heated. I took the ham out of the package, and it's really juicy -- I wonder if I could remove the slices, wrap them in foil, and heat in the oven. If I don't let them get too hot maybe they won't get tough?

Any other ideas for ways to serve this ham warm without turning it to shoe leather? I actually prepared the glaze yesterday, before I bought the ham. Think I can still use it, or would it be overkill?

Thanks, and merry Christmas!
posted by missuswayne to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Lay out some slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle a little water on top, cover with foil, and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. (I just did this recently with a Honeybaked Ham, turned out perfectly.)

A second glaze probably isn't necessary, but maybe heat it up and serve it with the ham in a gravy boat or something, in case people want to add some more.
posted by LolaGeek at 2:15 PM on December 24, 2009

The secrets to not drying out a ham when you reheat it are a) covering it tightly; b) adding extra moisture; c) not putting it at too high a heat.

In other words, what LolaGeek said. Make sure that whatever you do, the ham is sealed tightly in foil or in a pan with a good lid.

You could also create a moist oven environment by putting an ovenproof pan with water in it below the ham pan.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:22 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

We always serve our spiral cut ham cold. If somebody wants their portion heated point them to the microwave :)
posted by COD at 2:44 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding nuking the ham on a per-plate basis. Seems to work well, not a whole lot of fuss.
posted by squorch at 3:02 PM on December 24, 2009

Us eone of those oven bags people often cook turkeys in. Squeeze all the air out of it and tie it off.
posted by Foam Pants at 3:26 PM on December 24, 2009

People really serve spiral sliced ham cold? What kind of holiday includes cold ham? This seems bizarre to me.

Cook's Illustrated (sub. required) has a detailed explanation of how to heat your ham without toughening (it involves plopping the still-wrapped ham in warm water to raise the internal temperature), but since you've already opened it up, I second Foam Pants: Oven bag. (Or tightly wrapped foil.) Only aim for an internal temperature of 100 degrees F. (Since the ham is already fully cooked, you're just warming it up.)

(BTW, chances that you bought an "uncured" spiral sliced ham are nil. You bought a cured ham.)
posted by purpleclover at 4:19 PM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

If it's not too late, I believe these reheating instructions may help. Basically, since the ham is already cooked, you don't want to recook it, but you can reheat it at a reasonable temperature and you should be fine.

Cooking Instructions

Carando Spiral Sliced Hams are fully cooked and are delicious served cold. If you would like to serve the ham warm and/or glazed, follow the directions below.

Heating the Ham:
1. Heat oven to 275°F.
2. Remove all packaging materials including the clear “button” on bone of ham.
3. Place ham in shallow roasting pan. Quarter and half hams should be cooked FLAT/FACE SIDE DOWN. Whole ham should be cooked FAT SIDE UP. Cover with aluminum foil.
4. Bake at 275°F. for approximately 15 minutes per pound until heated through. DO NOT OVERCOOK!

Serve ham now or glaze as directed below.

Glazing the Ham:
1. Remove ham from oven and increase temperature to 425°F.
2. Brush or spoon prepared glaze over ham and between slices.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 425°F. for 8 to 10 minutes.
posted by limeonaire at 5:18 PM on December 24, 2009

I'm in the cold ham WTF? camp.

I've "cooked" my spiral hams every year and never produced anything remotely close to leather. I don't know if Trader Joe's ham is any different than others I have purchased (do they have a latent leathering agent?) but I can't think of any reason to not heat a spiral cut ham, unless you try to cook it like a regular uncooked ham.

(And as long as we're talking brands, I prefer Jon Hamm's John Ham.)
posted by The Deej at 5:29 PM on December 24, 2009

I have done purpleclover's suggestion of the Cook's Illustrated method of warming up a spiral ham. It was a giant, I mean giant, time suck and messy to boot. Before I did it, I would have been all "High five!" but now that I have, I wouldn't recommend it unless your life depended on succulent ham. And I normally love fussy and time consuming things. Shit, I glue 2mm square pieces of paper into patterns using a toothpick.

I think it will speed things up a lot if you cut it off the bone. But keep the bone. That's a magic soup stick.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:47 PM on December 24, 2009

I just came from an awesome Christmas Eve spread. We had a spiral ham, which was served cold.

What the hosts did was slice up the ham to put it out. Then, they put out buns and various sandwich fixings. It worked, and people demolished the ham.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:56 AM on December 25, 2009

Apparently I've been wasting a lot of time heating ham, then.

Foam Pants, I too don't really recommend the Cook's Illustrated method either. We did it last year, and it was an enormous hassle.

Oh, as for the second part of the question: I just add my own glaze on top of the glaze that comes with the ham. I think more glaze is better.
posted by purpleclover at 2:10 PM on December 25, 2009

OMG, so much good info. I should have known better than to post on Christmas Eve -- when was I going to have time to keep up with the responses? Sheesh.

Love Jon Hamm's John Ham. I just about wet my pants watching that.

I'm also LOLing at "magic soup stick". I was definitely planning on freezing the bone for future soup use, but I will never refer to it as anything but magic soup stick from now on.

I did end up using the CI method, more or less. I slapped some extra glaze on and sealed it up with aluminum foil before I put it in the oven. I didn't heat it ALL the way through, because I ran out of time, but it was fine. The ham was mostly heated sufficiently, and it was DELICIOUS, and not even remotely leather-like. Served the remaining glaze on the side.

Thanks all! Happy 2010!
posted by missuswayne at 1:50 PM on December 26, 2009

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