Traditional Holiday Ham Recipe

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Christmas is a time of indulgence! Learn how to make traditional holiday ham from scratch in this free how-to instructional video clip on classic Christmas cooking.

Part of the Video Series: How to Cook Classic Christmas Meals
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Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Louis Ortiz on behalf of Expert, and we are going to show you the basic preparation for a holiday ham. I’ve got a bone-in ham from the store, and I like to use the bone-in variety simply because I think it renders the better flavor throughout the cooking process. Now this ham essentially is done per say that it has been brined and actually smoked, so the process that we are using is really just to reheat this guy, and while we are doing that, I want to bring the internal temperature to about 125 degrees. I really don’t want to go any further than that because it tends to dry out as far as that goes. So I’ve got some cloves in a ramekin in here, and a lot of recipes will tell you to start putting the cloves into the ham after it is about half-way finished, but I like to have them in there from the very start. As you can see, I am putting these in with the fat side up, and I am going to put these intermittently along the back side of this ham. As you can see, we’ve covered the majority of the back-end of this ham with our cloves, and again, we have not even started the cooking process yet. The reason we are doing this is because we’ve got the fat side up. What is going to happen as the heat starts to come around this thing is the fat is going to render down to the meat and carry along with it these cloves flavors, which will saturate into the meat. Because the cloves are so hardy and dry any way, they will stand up to the heat throughout the whole cooking process so we are going to leave them in there from start to finish. I’ve got some heavy duty foil here, and we are not going to cover this ham up in such a way that it is just another skin, but it is just going to be a light covering, and the point of this is just to keep this ham moist throughout the cooking process, and again, I am using a real stiff thick heavy duty foil which I like to use. I’ve got a roasting pan and of course, it’s slotted on the top and solid on the bottom so that way we can catch those good drippings an incorporate those into our glaze. We will be glazing this ham throughout the cooking process. Again, we want to keep the oven low to about 325 degrees, 260, 275, depending on the size of the ham. Just take your time on it. Use a low heat so that the steam will generate on the inside and will keep this guy moist, and you will vary your cook times accordingly based on the size of the ham itself. Okay so we are back with the holiday ham, and we are just about done. Now I cooked this on a lower temperature around 245 to 250, and then I would fluctuate between 265, and I would do that off and on simply because I would have to open the oven and baste the ham, and in between bastings, you lose heat out of that oven, so I would crank it up a little bit and crank it down. Actually the glaze and the baste that I made is kind of a combination of the two. It is really just roasted shallots and garlic and let this simmer for a little bit after they were roasted in a little bit of butter. I threw in quite a bit of vinegar, and as I did that, I would just slowly drizzle in brown sugar so that we would get this real thick gooey kind of syrupy base. So all in all the whole process took about 2 ½ hours. So we are going to go ahead and get this guy out of here. So there is our front face, and all of the cloves stayed intact, and I didn’t simply baste the front. I basted the whole ham itself throughout the cooking process. So again, we chose to use a bone-in ham simply because we liked the flavor that the bone renders out throughout the cooking process, and it kind of saturates the whole ham throughout. So carving a ham, you can approach from many different directions with regards to that. I am simply going to cut one of the front facing pieces here just to give you an idea of what we are after. I tend to like the outside pieces better simply because that is where the majority of the baste and the caramelization occurs. So we’ve got a nice tender ham. We still got juice running which is a good thing to look for and we haven’t dried it out. Just be very careful if you are cooking a spiral size ham to make sure you use low heat and really slow cook time with regards to that. So those are the steps and the basic procedure for a holiday ham with a reduced balsamic brown sugar glaze.


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