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Old 12-17-2006, 04:04 PM   #1
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My First Christmas Ham

This year it is only going to be my boyfriend and I as we have just moved and we have no money to travel to see our families. I just need some input on what size ham to cook and what to use for flavor. I would like to use a glaze of some sort but something simple. I've seen jars of ham glaze at the grocery store...are those ok to use? What about a brown sugar glaze? Also, how far ahead of time do I buy the ham? Is fresh or frozen better? Bone in, pre-cooked...there are so many choices!!! I cooked Thanksgiving dinner very well for the two of us but I used my Better Homes and Gardens cook book and unfortunatley there isn't a recipe for just a basic ham. I apologize if I am asking too many questions I just don't want to have a dry, unflavorful dinner.


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Old 12-17-2006, 04:17 PM   #2
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I personally like leftovers because ham is so versatile. I also prefer bone in so I can make soup with it later. So, keeping that in mind will tell you what you should get. If you don't want too many leftovers get one of those little ham nuggets, that should do you well. (About 1lb or 2lbs is what they come in)

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Old 12-17-2006, 04:19 PM   #3
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I'd go for the spiral sliced ham which comes with a seasoning packet. It's a precooked ham so all you have to do is heat it up and add the seasoning. Warning, they are not cheap, and you may have leftovers.
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Old 12-17-2006, 04:19 PM   #4
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A fresh ham is more like roast pork when it's cooked. A smoked ham, the kind that is usually shrink wrapped and quite pink is already cooked completely. You could, if you choose to, simply slice it and eat.

The two hams are not entirely interchangable, the flavours are quite distinct.

Since it's just the two of you, you don't really need something quite large, but...you won't find one too small, either. The smallest would probably be about 5 pounds. You may as well go with that size, knowing you'll have plenty for something wonderful like red beans & rice, or split pea soup. Yes yes yes, get a ham with a bone! All the flavour comes from the bones in any roast!

If you decide on the smoked ham, let it soak in water for a couple of hours to help some of the salt leech out. Pat it dry and score the top in a decorative fashion. Sure, you could use the ham glazes from the market...buy why? You can easily make your own with brown sugar, dry mustard, and herbs and spices of your choice. The ham can cook long and slow, at 275 degrees for a few hours, till it reaches 145 degrees. The slow cooking will tenderize the meat. During the last hour, rub the sugar mixture on the ham (carefully, it will be hot), baste it every 15 minutes after that.

If you go with the fresh ham, a rub of herbs and dry mustard and chipolte is a nice way to go. Again, cook it long and slow, giving the flesh a chance to break down.

Save the bones!
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Old 12-17-2006, 04:31 PM   #5
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I usually get a fully cooked ham big enough to have leftovers. I score the top lightly in a diamond pattern. Top with pineapple rings with a marischino cherry in center. stud with whole cloves. Mix juice from the can of pineapple with some brown sugar and pour over the top. You could sprinkle on ground cloves if you don't have whole. Bake. There is usually a time guide on the package or in any basic cookbook. If I have scraps left I make bean soup, especially if there is a bone. Spiral cut hams are very nice. Good luck and have a nice holiday.
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Old 12-17-2006, 04:49 PM   #6
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I suggest you buy a butt portion of a bone-in fully or partially cooked ham (The shrink-wrapped kind). That will be enough for Christmas dinner, ham sandwiches, and a mess of ham'n beans for New Year's day.
For a Glaze, pineapple and brown sugar is about as cheap and delicious as you can get. You can also mix mustard and just about any kind of jelly you have on hand. If you need directions for how to make those glazes, let me know.
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Old 12-17-2006, 04:53 PM   #7
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Constance took the words right out of my mouth!

She "nailed" it!!
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 PM   #8
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A wonderful glaze for this time of year is cranberry sauce. You can use homemade or canned but very nice with ham. There are some gourmet mustards out that are flavored and a favorite of my family is the cranberry. Orange marmalade makes a wonderful glaze too. If you serve with biscuits, orange marmalade goes very well.
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:06 PM   #9
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Thank you everyone for all of your ideas. I am glad I have several options!! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and good luck if you are hosting the big day!!
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Old 12-17-2006, 06:42 PM   #10
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We like our baked ham without a glaze for a holiday meal - since there are so many other flavorful foods and also, I like the leftovers not to reflect the glaze if I'm using the ham bone for beans, etc. I usually make a raisin sauce or glaze to serve separately on each serving of ham as needed. Most any canned or dried fruit can be used to make a wonderful conserve or side to go with ham, even slices or chunks of fresh pineapple.

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