This is my mom's recipe for a baked ham. It's one of my favorite things to eat during the holidays, and now that I have the recipe, it might be showing up more often for dinner. :)
It'll take a while to make (count on at least three hours of cook time), but it's very easy once you've got the prep work out of the way!
Step 1: What You'll Need:
- one half ham, uncooked, bone in. ours was about 9 pounds.
- 20 oz can pineapple rings in syrup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- pinch of cloves
- pinch of ginger
- aluminum foil
- baking pan with a cooling rack (you want the ham up out of the fat) (we're using a one time use aluminum pan with a cooling rack inside and a sheet pan underneath)
- an oven set to 350 F
- a large, sharp knife
Step 2: Prep the Ham!
Open the package in the sink and check out the amount of visible fat.
If you have a ton, it's good to trim some off. We didn't trim any - it might look like a lot but it wasn't very thick.
Step 3: Score the Ham!
We'll be making shallow cuts into the outside of the ham that will allow it to self baste, essentially. The fat will flow freely down into the cuts, and it'll also help flavor the ham with the brown sugar and pineapple.
If you're using an uncooked ham, set it on one side. If you're using a cooked ham, set it cut side down on a cutting board.
Take a large knife and make shallow cuts, from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch deep. It isn't very important where you make these - my mom just does it every couple inches. And only worry about the top of the ham - you don't need to score the bottom side of the ham.
The first three photos show how it should look at the end - the rest are showing how my mom scores it. She cautions that you will need to hold the skin and fat into place - sometimes it likes to slip off during cutting.
Our ham ended up being scored a little deep, but that's okay. Just makes it a little trickier to keep the fat on. :P
Step 4: Brown Sugar!
Place the ham on the rack in your pan.
Drain the juice from the pineapples into a small bowl - you'll be using this now and for the glaze!
Pour a tiny (maybe 1/4 cup or so) amount of pineapple juice over the ham, just enough to wet it. Grab a handful of brown sugar, and rub it into the ham. The pineapple juice will help it stick.
Just imagine you're giving the ham a massage. :D
Step 5: Attach Pineapples!
Get out your toothpicks!
You will need one toothpick per slice. Try to be gentle as you don't want to break up the slices. :)
Start in the top middle, and work your way out. Feel free to cut slices in half to fit them around the bottom. The first picture will give you and idea of what the finished project should look like.
Step 6: Cover With Foil and Bake at 350 F!
Make sure the oven is preheated to 350 F!
Cover the entire ham with foil. This will most likely take three sheets unless you have a teeny ham. Cover one end of the pan, and then the other, making sure foil is tightly secured around the edges.
Then place a third sheet over the hole you'll have in the center and crimp the edges to keep it in place.
About cooking times:
For a ham like the one we used - a half ham, bone in, uncooked - you'll want to cook it for 20-25 minutes a pound. Ours was about 9 pounds, so it'll need around three hours minimum!
The first 2 1/2 hours will be spent in the foil tent. An additional half hour will be spent without it, and I'll explain that later!
If you're curious about ham cooking times and internal temperatures, the USDA has a great breakdown of them on this page.
Step 7: Make the Glaze.
Pour your pineapple juice into a small pan, add 1/4 cup brown sugar and a pinch each of cloves and ginger. Stir it all together and taste - add more spices or sugar to your liking. If you have any pieces of pineapple left, break them up and put them in as well!
Set the pan over medium heat, bring it to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer until it's reduced and dark brown. This will probably take around ten minutes or so. :) It should look like the last photo.
Step 8: Final Baking
When your ham has about an half hour left to go, pull it out of the oven and remove the aluminum foil. Take off the pineapple rings too - just lay those to the side in the pan.
Then, grab the glaze you made and brush it generously all over the ham.
Now it goes back into the oven uncovered for another 30 minutes!
Also - some good advice from mom - don't baste the ham! Hams are very salty, and the fat that makes its way to the bottom of the pan will be very very salty! Leave those drippings in the bottom of the pan - it'll be just as juicy without them and taste much better without all that salt.
Step 9: Carve and Serve!
I wish I had photos of our dinner, but with a full house my attention was elsewhere. :D
None of us are amazing carvers either, so I cannot begin to give you advice on that. Except that it will be delicious no matter how you cut it!
You'll want to let it rest for a bit after it comes out of the oven - at least 15 minutes or so. Enough for the juices to get back where they need to be and for it to cool down enough to work with it. You can loosely cover it with foil if you like during cooling.
If you're concerned about internal temperatures, cooked hams should be brought to 140 F, and uncooked to at least 145 F.