One of the greatest disappointment in the kitchen has to be dry meat. You spend a lot of your hard earned money on a big piece of meat and it comes out with less moisture than the Mojave desert. That has been my past experience with spiral sliced hams. Anyone that I have had has been dry and stringy. This has keep me from buying one myself. Why is this? Why does this happen?
Why Is My Spiral Ham Dry?
The reason why anyone buys a spiral ham is that it is easier to carves, since it’s been pre-sliced. The problem with that is it makes it easier for the meat to dry out. Juices can easily run of the meat and into the pan. This is the price for that convenience. What also is not helping most people cause is that they overcook the ham. Most hams come already cooked, so it’s really just about re-heating and if you are applying a glaze, cooking the glaze so it sticks to the meat.
The Best Way to Keep Spiral Ham from Drying Out
There are two things you can do that will really benefit the juiciness of your spiral ham. First is to cover it with foil to help keep the moisture in. If you are going to apply a glaze do so in about the last 15-20 minutes of cooking with the foil removed. The second and most important thing to do is take the ham’s temperature using either a probe thermometer that stays in the meat while it’s in the oven and check using an instant read. A probe would be the easiest. If you don’t have one use the time guide that came with the ham, but it wouldn’t be nearly as accurate. Those guides can’t take into account all the other variables – like size and shape of meat, actual temperature of your oven, how clean your oven is (burned up junk in your oven can effect the cooking time). Cleaning your oven before cooking any big roast is always a good idea, as the thought if only I had the time goes through head as it does mine!
What Temperature Do I Cook a Spiral Ham to?
If you using a probe thermometer place it in the deepest part of the ham without hitting any bone (the bone will throw off your reading). Then set the alarm to go off at 130 degrees (at 120 degrees is when I would apply a glaze). Remove the ham from the oven and cover again with foil – do it very loosely if you have used a glaze. The ham’s temperature will continue to rise (the carryover effect) and should be at 140 degrees in about 10 to 20 minutes depending on the size and shape of your ham.
If you are interested in learning about what the ingredients that are in ham are, check out my post “What’s in Ham“.
I would love to hear back from you if you gave my tips a try and had better results. Leave a comment below.