A 'fully cooked' ham can be sliced and eaten cold in sandwiches and salads, but the flavor and texture are greatly improved by heating. Here's how to heat a fully cooked ham.
- First, check the label for instructions. It should be labeled either 'fully cooked' or 'cook before eating.'
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Place the ham on a rack in a large baking pan and add about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch of water to the pan.
- If the ham is labeled 'fully cooked' (does not require heating), heat for 8 to 10 minutes per pound, or to an internal temperature of 140 F.
- To heat a spiral-sliced ham, place it on a sheet of heavy-duty foil, cut-side down. Wrap the ham tightly with the foil and bake at 300 F for about 15 minutes per pound, or until a meat thermometer registers 140 F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat, not touching bone.
- If the ham is labeled 'cook before eating,' heat to an internal temperature of at least 145 F.
- If you have a large enough slow cooker, put the ham in it and add about 1 cup of ginger ale, cola, stock, or water. Heat on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the temperature reaches 140 F for a 'fully cooked' ham or 145 F for a 'cook before eating' ham.
- If you are glazing the ham, you might want to score it. This makes for an attractive presentation, and it will allow the glaze to penetrate the meat. With a sharp knife, score the surface of the ham in a diamond pattern. For extra flavor, if desired, insert a whole clove into each cut intersection or in the centers of the diamonds.
- Score the ham before baking. About 30 minutes before the ham is done, arrange pineapple slices over the ham and secure them with toothpicks or whole cloves. Place a maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple slice, if desired; secure them with toothpicks or cloves.
- A glaze may be applied after the ham is cooked. Increase the oven temperature from 350 F to 400 F and brush the glaze over the meat. Bake the ham just until the glaze is golden brown. A small ham or ham slice can be glazed and then browned quickly under the broiler. The sweet glaze can burn easily, so check it frequently.
- The picnic ham or smoked shoulder tastes like ham but is not real ham (a true ham comes from the hind leg of the animal). It is fattier than a ham, requires longer cooking, and has more bones.