Ham is one of the most popular meat foods in U.S which is not restricted to a holiday, festivals or special occasion. Ham is actually the meatier portion taken from the hind part of a hog’s leg or the whole leg. Cooking a Ham can be done in a variety of ways.
It can be baked, grilled, roasted, broiled or sautéed, depending on the time required and the taste preference of the recipe. There are many ham recipes available which would simplify your cooking. However, a baked ham recipe is something to lookout for. It is easy, better in taste and makes a complete family meal.
- Thawing a Ham: The first step if you are cooking with a frozen ham is to defrost or thaw it properly. Unthawed ham can also be cooked but it requires a lot more time to cook properly. Thawing ham can be done by two methods, the cold water and the refrigerator method. Thawing the pork meat in a refrigerator is probably the safest method to defrost it. Maintain the temperature of the refrigerator between 35 to 40 degree F. Place the frozen meat on a tray and let it defrost completely. The whole process might take a few hours but ensures proper thawing without too much loss of flavors.
- Preparing Ham for baking: Place the ham in a tray and make cuts at right angles or squares on the outside skin. This helps the flavor get deep inside the meat. After drawing the cuts, now is the time to introduce some flavors to your meat. Whatever taste or flavor you choose for your ham, it is important to spread and smear nicely. Honey and cinnamon taste good with ham and so does onions and garlic. Spread the seasonings and salt on the tray and cover the ham with aluminum foil.
- Baking the Ham in Oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the oven is heated well, place the foil wrapped meat on to the baking tray. Let the meat cook for at least two hours. The time taken to cook the meat tender would really depend on the size and the availability of bone inside the meat. Halfway between the baking, you can turn your ham upside down to ensure proper and even cooking. Check the temperature with a digital thermometer to see if it is cooked properly. If the temperature reaches 140 then good cooking is ensured.
- Final Roasting and Serving your Ham: After you reach the desired temperature, you can safely take the ham out of the oven and place it on a shallow pan on the stove. Roast it gently over the heat and let the juices bubble and soak in the meat. After roasting in the pan for not more than 40 minutes, you can slice your ham and serve it with your choice of bread or some baked beans.
Tips and Warnings
- Leftover ham meat makes delicious side dishes like a roasted ham salad or a stuffed ham sandwich for next day’s brunch.
- It is important to thaw the ham properly to avoid the risk of worms and harmful organism related to the meat, which might be hazardous to health.
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