Spiral Ham, Spiral Ham Cooking Time, How to Cook Spiral Ham
Calculating the cooking time for a spiral ham is a relatively easy thing – remember that spiral hams are already cooked, so all that’s needed is a gentle reheating. If by chance you have a fresh ham, then you won’t have one that’s already spiral sliced for serving. Fresh hams require quite a bit more for cooking, so these are two entirely different methods. Cooking a spiral ham however, is really just a matter of applying gentle heat to bring it up to temperature.
Most of the time a spiral sliced ham will come with cooking (really just reheating) instructions on the packaging. A few boutique places however don’t do this, so you may be wondering how to serve the ham hot. Most of these hams are fabulous cold or at room temperature, but to serve it hot you’ll need to know just a couple of tricks.
The first step is to figure out how large it is – you’ll be warming the ham at a low temperature based on the size. Although most meat cooking times are based on internal temperature, because the spiral ham is already cooked, you need to girue the size to determine how long it will take to bring it to temeprature. If you don’t have the exact size, then you can use an oven thermometer to shoot for an internal temp of about 140F. The ham will need about 10-15 minutes per pound. So a half ham, what is most often found spiral sliced, will take at least a couple of hours.
Make sure the oven is kept low – 275F is perfect. Remember you aren’t really cooking the ham, simply bringing it up to a nice serving temperature. You also want to make sure that you don’t overcook the ham at this point – chances are that the ham wasn’t inexpensive, and overcooking will be the surest way to ruin it. For this reason, place the ham end side down on a roasting pan and make sure that it’s tightly covered. Gentle heat and trapped moisture is the key here. If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can cover it tightly with aluminum foil or place the entire thing in an extra large Ziploc bag (an oven safe one!) for heating.
Most commercially available spiral hams also come with a package of glaze to use with the ham. If you wish to use this glaze, don’t apply it until the end of the heating time. To make sure it has the best flavor and appearance, remove the ham from the oven. Increase the oven heat to 375F, brush the ham completely with the glaze from the package. Place the ham – uncovered now – back into the hotter oven for 10-15 minutes only, or until the glaze has caramelized and become golden brown.
Because the ham has already been fully cooked, there really is no need to worry about internal temperatures, but shooting for about 140F is great. You don’t want to go much higher than this – you’ll risk drying out the meat and losing the juicy tenderness that’s ideal. Also make sure that you allow the ham to rest for a minimum of 15 minutes before you carve it. This allows juices that migrated to the surfaces of the meat to redistribute, making sure that the meat itself stays tender and juicy.
That’s all there is to it – cooking a spiral ham is super easy, and the results are spectacular. Remember to keep the temperature low, the ham covered, and allow it to rest. Those tips will make sure that your spiral ham is everything you want it to be!