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Old 12-17-2006, 05:04 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, 05:17 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, 05:19 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, 05:19 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, 05:31 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, 05:49 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, 05:53 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, 06:32 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, 07:06 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, 07:42 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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Old 12-17-2006, 09:18 PM   #11
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Tell us how you come out. Fortunately, if you choose pre-cooked ham, you can use just about any glaze.

I'd choose a small piece, partly to save money, and partly because a good definition of eternity is "two people finishing one ham."

Good luck!
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Old 12-17-2006, 10:57 PM   #12
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MC, you have had great advice here.

Just one thing. You mentioned the word fresh when dealing wit ham.

Be careful here.

A 'fresh ham' is the rear of a pig that has not been cured. It has a texture more like, oh, a pork chop than what one thinks about when one usually uses the term ham.

I love them and try to get them every so often. For some reason few want them anymore and they are not commonly stocked in any store I have been in. We special order it.

Also, there are two types of cured hams, country and city. Have become a devotee of the country ham since I first tasted one. It is more of a southern item.

My guess is you just want the regular old city ham you find in the stores.

And I love them. Glaze away. Always a question about the cloves. I say yea but am usually out voted.

If you can find one, a cottage roll would be great for a couple. It is actually smoked Boston butt (which is from the shoulder, go figure).

They are usually sold in cylindrical packages with red wrapping, and usually weigh a couple of pounds or so. Good for one good meal for two with a bit of leftovers (as in a frittata, or take a slice and fry it for breakfast with eggs, or pancakes, or.....)

They have a fine flavor that is a bit different than your average ham.

And the size is very convenient for a deuce. Can always ask your butcher in the supermarket about them.

Merry Christmas and enjoy.
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Old 12-18-2006, 06:57 AM   #13
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I think AuntDot has a great idea about the cottage ham. It is easy to slice. It makes a GREAT slice for eggs benedict (for your new year's eve or day bountiful breakfast) or a fake McD's egg mcMuffin.
Any of the larger hams will be forever in the eating!! We are just two, and have places to give away--and I STILL have the rest of a spiral ham. These can also be bought for a much cheaper price at supermarkets and Aldis and Sam's, etc.
Shop for the ham and look at the prices and relative sizes for what you will need. I don't ever glaze (except for what is poured over a spiral ham--it gest down into the slices). It just gets on the pan and makes a mess, in my opinion.
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Old 12-18-2006, 08:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
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.
Ah-ha! Vera, this is interesting!

I've had cravings for a proper ham for years and years, but such a thing isn't sold here ... or ... is it?

I've always wondered about the whole hams they have in the deli sections of all of our supermarkets, the better ones being what appear to me to be "real" hams (that is, not chunks of ham meat squished together into a ham-slice-shaped form). However, they're sold intending to be sliced right there at the deli into thin slices for sandwiches. Greeks don't "do" whole, hot hams, but I've wondered: couldn't I get one of those and heat it? IS that what a real ham is all about?

Never having bought or cooked a whole ham in my life, I'm a bit clueless. Your post leads me to believe hope is not lost, however. What do you think: are these hams I'm describing most likely the very same thing that y'all would cook up for a nice holiday dinner??
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Old 12-18-2006, 08:51 AM   #15
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The kind of ham you are describing can definately be heated in the oven for a nice holiday dinner. Actually your are describing the type of ham that I prefer. Yeah, the bones are great but I'm weird about all of that fat and end up throwing so much product away. I didn't think I cared for ham much until I had a boneless black forest ham from Sam's/Costco. I heat it in my smoker with applewood and apple cider and everyone loves it.
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Old 12-18-2006, 08:52 AM   #16
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Here are a few recipes that sound simple and really good. For my Christmas Ham I'll be using the one in bold type (Paula Dean's Recipe).

Recipes : Cola Basted Ham : Food Network

baked whole ham with pineapple glaze recipe | easter dinner ham recipes | easter recipes |ham glaze recipes | ham sauce recipes

maple glazed ham recipe | easter dinner ham recipes | easter recipes |ham glaze recipes | ham sauce recipes

honey ham recipe | easter dinner ham recipes | easter recipes |ham glaze recipes | ham sauce recipes

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Old 12-18-2006, 12:55 PM   #17
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WOW!!! I can't believe all of the great recipes I have received!! I am so excited...I wish I could try them all in one day!! Thank you again for all of your responses . I look for to trying out something new. Merry Christmas everyone!
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
Constance took the words right out of my mouth!

She "nailed" it!!
Mine to, once upon a time Ham was a treat for us but now it has become just an every day sandwich fill. We usually buy from the local butcher rather than the supermarket as they are more home-made than the bulk produced ones. This year we are going to buy an un-cooked leg of pickled pork and boil it ourselves thus making it a little bit of a treat. I like to add bay leaves, peppercorns, lemon myrtle leaves and treacle to the water.
Perhaps someone can suggest another way of cooking it. I wonder what it would be like if I cooked in a dark beer, like stout, your thoughts ??.
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayrton
Ah-ha! Vera, this is interesting!

I've had cravings for a proper ham for years and years, but such a thing isn't sold here ... or ... is it?

IS that what a real ham is all about?

Never having bought or cooked a whole ham in my life, I'm a bit clueless. Your post leads me to believe hope is not lost, however. What do you think: are these hams I'm describing most likely the very same thing that y'all would cook up for a nice holiday dinner??
Your post reminded me of Charlie Brown asking Linus 'can anybody tell me what christmas is all about?"

If the ham in the deli has a bone in it, more than likely it's a smoked ham, the kind we americans overkill at christmas. Yes, the smoked hams here can be sliced without any further cooking on our part. What's the fun in that?? A properly dressed monkey can do that. If the deli dude will sell you the whole thing, go ahead and take it.

How do you say 'gimme that whole ham?' in greek??
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
Your post reminded me of Charlie Brown asking Linus 'can anybody tell me what christmas is all about?"

If the ham in the deli has a bone in it, more than likely it's a smoked ham, the kind we americans overkill at christmas. Yes, the smoked hams here can be sliced without any further cooking on our part. What's the fun in that?? A properly dressed monkey can do that. If the deli dude will sell you the whole thing, go ahead and take it.

How do you say 'gimme that whole ham?' in greek??
I daresay the Deli Dude WILL sell me the whole thing ... and wish he were taking a commission as well! I hope this works since it's a $$$ experiment. (I can get smoked and unsmoked -- checked last night. Which do you recommend?)

Okay, get ready Vera. Your first Greek lesson. Not THE most practical thing to start with if you're planning on travelling here, but to each his own:

"DHOS-teh mou to oh-LOK-lee-roh to zam-BONE, sas par-ah-ka-LO"

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