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A cured ham is one that has been treated with salt, nitrates and nitrites, either by injection with the solution or by immersion into the solution, called a wet cure, or by rubbing dry ingredients on the exterior of the ham, known as a dry cure. A ham is preserved, flavored and tinted pink by curing. Cooking a 12-pound cured ham properly requires using a low temperature and roasting for the correct amount of time.
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Remove ham from the refrigerator an hour or two before you plan to begin cooking it so that it will come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Score the ham skin and fat with a knife, creating a crisscross pattern of diamonds.
Stick a whole clove into each intersection of the scoring.
Put the ham into the baking pan and then put the pan in the oven.
Estimate the amount of time the ham will need to cook. A 12-pound ham will take about 18 to 20 minutes per pound to bake, or roughly three and one-half to four hours. At the lowest time estimate, begin checking the internal temperature. When it reaches 160 degrees F, the ham is done.
Let the cooked ham rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
If you wish to add a glaze, do so toward the end of baking. Try a brown sugar and powdered mustard coating, or melted preserves such as apricot or cherry.
If you used whole cloves during baking, remove them when carving the ham.
Use the leftover ham for sandwiches or casseroles, and cook the ham bone with beans for a hearty soup.
If the ham does not reach the proper temperature, it may not be safe to eat. Be sure to cook your ham until it is thoroughly done.
After handling the raw ham, wash your hands in warm, soapy water. Do not re-use the knife without washing.