This baked ham recipe can be used for preparing any fully cooked, bone-in smoked ham that is labeled "ready to eat" or "ready to serve." To make the fruit glaze, we simply brush the ham with fruit preserves. Apricot, peach or pineapple preserves will work beautifully.
Why glaze? Consider that ham is cured pork, and the process of curing mainly involves the use of salt (usually in the form of brine) as a preservative. Sugar is also used in curing, as is smoke. But mainly it's salt, which means that when it comes to seasoning, ham mostly tastes like salt. Which makes glazing the primary way for you to add other flavors to your ham to balance out the salt.
The fruit adds sweetness and some tartness, and for an even kickier glaze, you can stir in some mustard, vinegar, and/or some dried chili flakes. Here are a few more ideas for making ham glazes.
One of the best tools for applying the glaze is one of these silicone basting brushes, because they're easy to clean and they won't shed their bristles all over your food the way regular brushes do. One with a long handle is best for basting (as opposed to pastry) so that your hand stays cooler.
- 1 15-pound bone-in smoked ham, labeled "ready to eat" or "ready to serve."
- 1 cup fruit preserves (apricot, peach or pineapple) (Also see variation below.)
- 2 Tbsp prepared mustard
- 1 to 2 tsps dried pepper flakes (or to taste)
- Take the ham out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.
- Drain, rinse and pat dry the ham. Set the ham skin-side-up on a cutting board.
- With a sharp paring knife, score the ham crossways at two-inch intervals, making a diamond pattern. This will make it easier to remove the skin and excess fat later.
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Meanwhile mix up the ingredients for the glaze in a glass bowl and set it aside.
- Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil, and pour 2 cups of water into the pan.
- Set a roasting rack in the pan and place the ham, skin-side-up, on the rack. Insert a probe thermometer into the deepest part of the ham, being careful not to hit the bone. Transfer to the oven and bake for about three hours or until the thermometer reads 120 F.
- Remove the ham from the oven, take out the thermometer, and with a pair of tongs pull the skin and excess fat off the ham. Leave about ¼ inch of fat all around.
- Now generously brush the ham with the glaze so that it is thickly covered. Insert the probe thermometer in a different spot and return the ham to the oven. Bake for another hour or until the thermometer reads 140 F.
- Remove the ham from the oven and let it rest for about 30 minutes, then carve and serve.
One 15-pound ham will serve 20 people, but even if you have fewer people, the leftovers are wonderful. For a different sort of glaze, you can use maple syrup or honey in Step #8 instead of preserves.