How ham came into the Thanksgiving picture I don’t know, but I do know that it should be enjoyed as part of our Thanksgiving meal. The majority of hams sold in grocery stores are served as a main entree for meals and they are cut into 4-5 pound cuts. This sized ham will provide you with about a dozen servings, depending on who’s eating.
The bone in cut seems to be popular in most homes and you can find this cut available in both uncooked and precooked selections. I like using the bone in ham since it will make a great ham soup after Thanksgiving. Here’s a description of the various cuts of ham.
Cuts of Ham
- Shank – comes from the lower half of the pig’s leg with less fat
- Butt – comes from the upper half of the pig’s leg with more fat
- Spiral – is usually precooked and sliced
- Boneless – all the bones are removed and the ham is wrapped or canned
If you have decided to cook your ham, you need about 30 minutes per pound for uncooked hams with a bone, weighting in at 4-5 pounds. If you are reheating a precooked ham, 20 minutes for the same weight size. Keep an eye on your precooked ham, you don’t want to overcook and dry the ham out.
Place your ham on a rack, in a shallow roasting pan. The rack keeps the ham out of the drippings. No basting is required for this cut of meat. Roast your ham at 325 and allow the ham to rest for about 20 minutes before you start slicing into the meat.
Use a cooking thermometer to make sure that the ham is fully done. For 4-5 pound uncooked hams you want to reach 170 degrees and for precooked 140 degrees.
If you are going to glaze your ham, about 30 minutes before the ham is fully cooked remove it from the oven. Trim some of the fat off of the ham, score diamond cuts into the ham; cover it in the glaze and pineapple rings. Mom used whole cloves to hold the pineapple rings in place, while the ham finishes baking for another 20 minutes.
- 1 Cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. dry mustard
- 1 Can pineapple slices
- Whole cloves
Mix the brown sugar and dry mustard together and slowly pour in the pineapple juice to get a medium thick paste. Place the pineapple rings on top of the ham and secure them using the whole clove as a pin. If you’re feeling creative, form a design with the pineapple rings.
Carving the Ham
There’s a trick to this. You need to have a flat bottom so that the whole ham sits nicely by itself, as you slice into it. You need a sharp knife and your carving fork.
These instructions work for a shank ham. Place the ham on a cutting board and slice a couple of very thin slices from what will be the bottom of the ham. Then set the ham on the flat cut area and begin vertical slicing into the ham from the top down until you get to the shank bone.
If you have a butt ham, then you can place the ham face down and slice from the outside working inward, until you get close to the bone.
If you bought a spiral ham, your work is already done. And last but not least is the boneless ham that is the easiest to slice. Veritcal slices from the top down.
However you choose to bake, slice or serve your ham remember to keep the leftovers for my next soup recipe – leftover ham soup.