Most people don’t make homemade hams any old day of the week, so when that special occasion rolls around, you definitely want to get the process right. Here are 5 common mistakes people make when diving into making their own homemade hams and easy ways to avoid them. Make this year’s ham your best one yet!
Buying any old ham at the store
Hams are not all made equally. For a special occasion, it’s good to make the effort to get a good quality ham from a butcher. Ideally, you want a smoked, bone-in ham as this will facilitate getting the internal temperatures right, but if you have a favorite you can go with that instead.
Overcooking your ham
Most hams come pre-cooked, so the trick is just re-heating the ham properly. You want the internal temperature of your ham to be about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you heat it more than this, your ham can easily dry out. To check the temperature, insert your thermometer into the thickest part of the ham, close to the bone but not touching it.
Cooking your ham without any liquids
Again, to keep your ham at its succulent best, you need to put some liquid into the roasting pan. If you’ve got at least a 1/2 cup of wine or broth in there, and the pan is covered in foil*, the ham should have a much easier time staying plump and juicy.
*Note: You want your ham to stay covered until you’re ready to add the glaze on top, at which point, the foil comes off.
Not making your own glaze
As with most things, making your own ham glaze is going to be infinitely better tasting than the vast majority of pre-made glazes you find in the store (and especially the ones you might find with your own ham). Check out Yummly for great homemade ham glazes or ask a friend for theirs. Also, make sure you don’t glaze your ham too early, since the glaze is likely to burn if cooked for too long.
Cutting and serving your ham fresh out of the oven
Ham, like most other meats, needs time to settle after it’s been taken out of the oven. This resting time allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the ham and will make for a much better, more succulent roast overall. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, and then break out the carving knives.