Is it worth your money?
Our review of the Kirkland brand Master Carve Half Ham found at Costco.
We will give you instructions how to cook as well as a recipe for a homemade glaze.
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No bones about it, I am not a fan of boneless hams.
In fact, when I started this blog, I wrote about reasons not to buy a boneless ham. So why in the world am I reviewing a boneless? This ham is not the same boneless I am accustom to. What I think of boneless ham, I think of this below -
That is a ham that has been pressed, formed, modeled into a log shape. Very unnatural. Nothing I want to be a part of. Now take a look at this boneless ham from Costco's Kirkland brand.
Doesn't look like your grandma's boneless ham now does it. Instead of taking the meat and pressing it into a log shape, the boneless is just cut out and what you have a is almost heart-shaped thin piece of meat.
💲 Why Buy It?
This shape is great for several reasons:
- More surface area to apply a glaze to.
- This shape allows for more even cooking. The temperature of the inner most meat and the temperature of the outer most most is closer - more perfectly cooked meat.
- Super easy to carve. No bone and the thickness is perfect serving size.
- In fits in the fridge easily. Due to it's flat shape, you can easily fit it in your fridge with all of your other holiday foods.
Besides the advantages of the shape, I also like this this ham has been smoked using applewood. I find that the flavor of applewood is more complex than that of hickory, which I find one most packages of smoked meats (some don't tell you). Applewood brings a sweet, fruity, smoky flavor to the meat. It is my second favorite, next to cherrywood.
The ham goes for around $2.49-$2.69/per pound. Not very expensive - but not your rock bottom price either. After carving it we had more usable meat than we ever did with the cheap 99 cent a pound bone-in hams we have bought in the past.
🐖 Half Ham
The ham comes in a half ham size. Check out my post on how Costco changed to only selling these hams as half hams.
ℹ️ In Natural Juices
This ham is marked as "ham in natural juices". Your cheap hams are labeled as "ham and water product". These ones have water added to them that does not but increase the costs of the ham as you are paying for water weight.
Also water does nothing but delute the flavor of the ham. A ham in natural juices is required to be at least 18.5% protein where as a ham and water product can contain any amount of water. A Cook's brand ham contains 23% added ingredients!
One of the tastiest hams I have had. It has less added water than the cheap hams I normally buy the flavor shines stronger. Also I found that the ham itself wasn't overly salty. I have had hams that after eating I had to drink a gallon of water to stay hydrated.
The texture was melt in your mouth good and the ham had plenty of moisture.
If you are interested in learning about what the ingredients that are in this ham and other hams check out my post "What's in Ham".
🍳 Cooking Instructions
More often than not I find myself disagreeing with the instructions given on a piece of meat. But this time I had no complaints.
Roast it in a 350 degree oven until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees, then allow the ham to rest until it reaches 140 degrees. They say that should take 10 minutes, but in my case it was more like 15 to 20 minutes to carryover those last 10 degrees.
Overall cooking time was about 2 hours.
If you have plenty of time to cook your ham I would even roast it at a lower temperature for a longer period. A longer temperature allows the ham to re-heat (yes it has already been cooked) more evenly.
In order to get the temperature right, you need a thermometer. I recommend a probe thermometer that remains in the meat the entire cooking time. Just stick it in the most center part of the ham. Since there are no bones to worry about, it is rather easy to find the sweet spot.
I cooked the ham in my KitchenAid roasting pan. I placed it on the rack in the pan so that there could be airflow all around the ham.
🚀 Quick Method
You also could simply slice off pieces and the brown them in a frying pan with a little bit of oil. I have done that before. Its a great way to caramelize the ham pieces.
🧹 Glaze Recipe
At some point Costco decided to stop including the glaze with the ham. I was originally disappointed until I created a recipe for my very own glaze. I think mine is better!
Get my recipe for my Homemade Red Currant Glaze
The instructions on the ham originally said to apply the glaze with in last 20 minutes of cooking. When the ham was at 120 degrees, I took it out and applied my glaze.
I brushed the glaze on with my Oxo Silicone Basting Brush. One of the best kitchen tools I have. Easy to brush things on and it actually comes off the brush and it easy to clean. Can't say enough good things about this brush.
🛒 Buy a Boneless Ham
After years of telling my readers to never buy a boneless ham, I can actually change my tune (sort of). Avoid all boneless hams if they look like a log or a football.
If the boneless ham has a natural shape, especially if it's a the Kirkland Master Carve Ham, feel free to fork over your money for a delicious piece of meat where every pond you pay for is edible.
I only want to cook half of the Master carved Han, can I freeze the other half and if so how long can it keep frozen?
Yes you can do that, no problem. Make sure you wrap the other half tighly in foil before placing it in the freezer. I would then eat it probably within 3 months for best quality.
I appreciate what you said (all of it) and agree on the other hams ick. I am so thrilled I bought this ham and so glad you wrote how to cook it. I am cooking it in my roaster so my oven is free for other things like my Moons Potatoes. Thanks again. Sarah Stahl
P.S. You do not have to re;ply I was just letting you know you did good HAPPY EASTER
Eric and your family too.
Eric, Thanks so much for this article. Based on it alone I bought and served this ham for Easter and everyone loved how lean and moist it was. I normally buy a bone-in ham from a Chicago butcher but couldn't get there this year in time for Easter. Not only did I love the flat shape of the Kirkland ham for the fridge (as you mentioned) but it was a great space saver in the oven so that I had room for other 9x13 pans of side dishes on other racks. Cheers!
Linda K Novak
Last Christmas I served a Master Carver boneless ham. It was deeeeelicious...enjoyed by the entire family! Thank you Costco for providing such a premier product.
Please consider bottling and selling the Red Currant glaze. The glaze is only provided with a larger ham. Recently, I purchased a Master Carver half ham and was disappointed not to receive the glaze. Just think of all the customers who will not have the opportunity to enjoy such a delicious glaze.
Linda K Novak
2674 Bluff Ridge Dr.
St Louis, Mo 63129
Please share a recipe for the gorgeous glaze you use on your photos? The glaze looks perfect thanks so much in advance for your help.
I didn't know that about the smaller ham. You should reach out to Costco and let them know your thoughts. Thanks for commenting on my blog!
In this case I just used the glaze that came with the package.
How big are these hams? I need to do a Christmas church dinner for about 100 people (adults and children). How many would you suggest? Thank you for this great review, it was just what I needed.
The hams average around 10 pounds, give or take. I would say if you want to generous say 1/2 pounds per person, so that is about 20 people for a 10 pound ham. So 5 Hams would be about 100 people. That would be my best guess, I have never feed a crowd that large. I also would recommend asking anyone you might know who works in catering that might have a better idea of how much ham per person. Thanks for asking and I am glad you enjoyed the review 🙂
Eric...be totally transparent and LIST ALL the ingredients in the Master Carve ham. The chemicals are unnecessary. You want a chemical free ham go to Trader Joe's.
Can this ham be heated in a slow cooker?
It will take longer to get it up to be hot enough in the center, but I don't see why you couldn't do that if you wanted. I plan to look more into that topic, maybe do a post about it next month for Christmas.
I just purchased the Kirkland Applewood Ham from Costco and very disappointed that the Red-current glaze was not included. Does anyone have a re pie for it?
Maybe they stopped including the glaze. I haven't bought one in a while. I will see what I can figure out a recipe for you.
Is this ham cured? How long will it be good for in the fridge?
Yes they are cured, so they have a long shelf life. The ones I saw in the store had about a 2 month shelf life. Depending on the date on the package is how long you can keep in the fridge. It might even go longer as a lot of those dates are on the conservative side. If you want to store one for a longer period, you can freeze them pretty easily. I would give it up to 6 months in the freezer before freeze burn sets in.
once its heated,how long will it leftovers last in the refrigerator?
I would say about 5-7 days. After a week I would toss it. If you think you aren't going to use it up within a week, you can freeze pretty easily. Here is how you freeze ham.
Have you tried cooking it in a crock pot? If so, how did you do it and how
did it turn out?
You totally could pull it off in a Crock Pot. I have not done it before. It is only about heating the ham up, it is already cooked. I like to heat my ham nice and slow anyway, so it doesn't dry out. I say give it a try. Just give yourself plenty of time and if you want to get a good glaze on it, you can put it in a really hot oven right before serving.
Hello Eric, on the Kirkland flat ham I noticed the bottom side seemed to have thick skin. Is that normal or did I overlook removing that before serving?
I think I have seen that from time to time. Not always is it that noticeable. Next time you could remove it before serving if that is what you prefer.
I would have agreed with you 6 months ago that nothing beats the master craft Costco ham. I have bought them for years. However, the last one I purchased was so salty I can’t eat it. Someone changed the curing recipe. ?
I have noticed a decline in quality as well. Pretty disappointing.
Does it matter what direction you slice the half ham? If you slice along the cut long edge, is that considered against the grain?
Ione Marcella Soyett
Is Master Craft ham gluten free?
Great question. I have not cut against the grain with ham. I normally slice it for the shorter slices. However if you cut it the other way as you suggest that would be going against the grain and it may be more tender. I say give it a try. I know I will next time I get the ham.
Here is the ingredient list - Water, Dextrose, Contains 2% or Less of Salt, Sodium Phosphates, Potassium Acetate, Potassium Lactate, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.