A nice, spiral ham can make for a delicious dinner, but for many of us, we only get around to cooking one around the holidays. As a result, it’s easy to forget the process and make simple mistakes.
A common problem with spiral hams in particular is having them come out too dry. If you’re about to cook one for the first time in a while, you might be wonder how to prevent this from happening.
Don’t worry; it’s not that difficult!
In this post, we’ll go over some simple tips to ensure your spiral ham comes out just right.
Ensure That You Don’t Overcook the Ham
The most likely reason why a spiral ham would get dried out is that it was cooked for too long. If you overcook the ham, it makes sense that it would dry out.
You only want to cook the ham as much as is necessary. Many people overestimate the amount of time that they’ll need to cook.
Most of the spiral hams that you can buy at grocery stores and department stores will be precooked. This means that you don’t actually need to cook them at all.
What you’re really doing is just reheating the ham so that it can be served. As such, it isn’t going to need to be cooked for as long as an uncooked ham.
Check the packaging to see whether your spiral ham is precooked or not. It might even come with specific instructions for how long you’re supposed to keep it in the oven.
This should help you to avoid overcooking the ham. You’ll be able to keep it tender and moist by avoiding making the mistake of cooking it for too long.
Generally, it’s said that a precooked spiral ham needs to be reheated in an oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. You’re supposed to keep it in the oven for ten minutes for every pound of ham.
This means that a five-pound ham will need to cook for fifty minutes. A ten-pound ham will need to cook for one hour and forty minutes.
No matter how large your spiral ham is, it’ll be simple enough to do the math to figure out how long it needs to cook. That information might even be right on the package depending on the situation.
Use a Legit Roasting Pan
Using a legit roasting pan will help you to get better results. Some people have spiral hams dry out on them because they don’t use appropriate pans when placing them in the oven.
If you’re using a pan that is a bit too small, things might not work out quite right. A proper roasting pan will give you more than enough room to hold both the ham and the drippings.
You should have an easy enough time finding a good roasting pan. They’re easy to find at various department stores and you can also choose to order one online.
If you already own an appropriate pan, just be sure to use it. Make sure that the pan has enough room to comfortably house the ham and the drippings so things will go well.
Deep sides will definitely ensure that things go smoothly. You should be able to cook the ham and get it to turn out fantastically.
Utilize the Juices
Utilizing the juices will be a good idea if you want the ham to be as moist and tasty as possible. There will be ham juices that will be trapped in the package as you take the ham out.
Go ahead and pour these juices back on the ham when you put it in the roasting ham. If for some reason you can’t do this, you might want to add some liquid to the pan to keep the ham moist.
A little trick that should help things to turn out well is to use chicken stock. Adding some chicken stock to the roasting pan will give the ham more juices to work with.
If you’re taking the time to do this, it’s even more likely that your ham will turn out moist and juicy. It’s well worth adding some extra moisture to the pan to ensure that you get optimal results.
Use Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil will be a very good thing to use when cooking a spiral ham. This will help to keep it very moist.
Why would aluminum foil be so useful? Because you can use it to trap steam in the roasting pan.
Take the time to tightly cover the roasting pan using aluminum foil. If you do things right, you’ll be able to keep steam from being able to escape.
The steam is going to continue to heat the meat while keeping it super moist. Just put the spiral ham in the oven with the aluminum foil in place and things should go nicely.
It’s worth noting that you’ll have an easier time with the aluminum foil if you use a long roll. Shorter rolls will make it tougher to create the steam-trapping foil barrier that you need.
Take the Ham Out of the Oven at the Right Time
Of course, taking the ham out of the oven at the right time will be imperative. You don’t want to accidentally lose focus and leave it in there too long.
Be sure to remember to set a timer so that you can remove it as soon as you’re supposed to. Grab your oven mitts and carefully lift the roasting pan out of the oven.
Leave the roasting pan in a safe spot on your stove. Don’t mess with the aluminum foil yet because you’re supposed to just leave it there.
You want to allow the steam that is still trapped inside to keep making the ham moist. Do what you need to do with everything else while leaving the aluminum foil on the roasting pan for now.
Make Your Glaze
Most people choose to make some type of glaze when cooking a spiral ham. Your ham might have even come with some type of glaze inside of the package.
If you’re using an included glaze, you’ll just need to follow the instructions that came in the package. You’ll be able to warm the glaze up and then slather it on when everything is ready.
You could also choose to make your own glaze if you’d rather go that route. There are plenty of amazing spiral ham glaze recipes out there.
Just pick one that you think sounds good and go for it. If you don’t want to bother, you should know that a moist and tender spiral ham will taste just fine without a glaze.
Glaze your ham if you’re doing a glaze. Remove the aluminum foil and use a brush to apply it to the ham.
It’ll now be ready to serve and your delicious spiral ham should be quite moist. If you did everything as suggested up to this point, it shouldn’t be dry.
Keeping the Ham From Drying Out
You can keep the ham from drying out by only placing so much of it on the serving platter at once. If you place all of it on the platter, it might dry out a bit quicker than you want it to.
Keep some of it in the roasting pan and only put the amount of ham that your family is going to eat on the platter. You can always add more to the platter later on.
You can keep the aluminum foil over the rest of it to try to keep it moist. This will ensure that you’ll have moist, tasty ham to enjoy throughout the day.
Doing everything right allows you to enjoy the best possible spiral ham dinner. You should be very pleased with the results now after working hard to cook it.
Using a Crockpot or Slow Cooker
Using a crockpot or a slow cooker will be a viable option as well. If you want to have an easy time cooking a spiral ham, this option can work out perfectly.
You’ll need to make sure that you have a slow cooker that is big enough. It needs to be able to fit the ham as well as all of the juices.
When you’ve confirmed that the spiral ham will fit, it’ll be time to place it in the slow cooker. Place it with the flat side of the ham facing down.
The juices of the ham should be poured into the slow cooker as well. To get the best results, add some chicken stock to the mix to keep things very juicy.
About a half of a cup of chicken stock should do, but you could add a bit more than that if you want to. You just want to ensure that the slow cooker has plenty of liquid to work with.
Now go ahead and put the lid on the slow cooker and set it to low. Allow it to cook for between two and four hours depending on the size of the ham.
You can remove it from the slow cooker when it’s done. It’ll be ready to be glazed as normal assuming that you’re using the glaze from the included packet.
Those who wish to make their own glaze will be better off adding it to the ham at the beginning of this process. So add homemade glaze to the ham before it starts cooking in the slow cooker.
Is Making Your Own Glaze Easy?
Making your own glaze is very easy overall. You can look up many different recipes online if you would like to see what your options are.
Some people like specific types of flavors, and this means that you might gravitate toward one type of glaze or another. There are some common types that most people seem to like, though.
You could make a simple crowd-pleasing glaze by using maple syrup, brown sugar, and pineapple juice. You make a mixture using those three ingredients and then slather it onto the spiral ham.
It’s truly a simple process that doesn’t require a lot of effort. It can be a bit messy due to the sticky nature of many of the common ingredients that people use, though.
Reheating the Ham
What should you do when you want to reheat the ham? One of the best things about making a spiral ham is that you’re likely going to have leftovers to enjoy the next day.
One good option is to reheat the entirety of the leftover bits in the oven. You can heat the oven up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cover the ham with aluminum foil.
After thirty minutes, the ham should be properly reheated. This is a good choice when you have a substantial amount of leftovers that you wish to reheat.
Otherwise, it’ll be fine to use the microwave. Heating it on high for one or two minutes should do the trick.
If the ham still isn’t hot enough, just keep heating it up in the microwave one minute at a time. You can keep checking to see when it has reached the desired level of hotness.
You should feel pretty confident about making your spiral ham turn out great now. Getting it to turn out moist and delicious won’t be that hard when you understand how to approach things.
Spiral ham is meant to be moist and tasty, but it will turn out dry if you don’t take the right steps. Often, people have situations where ham will turn out dry due to overcooking.
Just be sure not to cook it longer than you’re supposed to. If it’s precooked, you should only have to cook it for between one and two hours depending on the size of the ham.
It’s also wise to put as much of the ham juices in the roasting pan as possible. Adding some chicken stock to the pan can be helpful, too.
Use aluminum foil to your advantage to help trap steam in the roasting pan. This helps to make the ham very moist, and everything will turn out better if you wrap the aluminum foil around the roasting pan properly.
You could also choose to make a ham using a slow cooker. It’s easy to get it to turn out moist using this method.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.