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When gathering for any type of holiday, it is tradition got there usually be a feast. Around Easter, the main dish of the food is a large and delicious ham. A large hock of ham can sometimes be intimidating to new home cooks, but that does not mean it is difficult. There are many ways to prepare ham, and serving a spiral-cut ham is a great way to impress any guests.
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What Is A Spiral Ham?
When it comes to ham, there are a lot of choices as to how your meat is sold to you and how you prepare it. You can opt for a boneless ham, a bone-in ham, or a spiral ham. All of these have their own merits and traits that make them worth trying but today we are discussing spiral ham.
Spiral ham is where the bone is left inside of the ham during the cooking process but is then removed before serving. This allows you to have the flavor and the moisture that the bone provides, without having to struggle with it after you serve the food.
A spiral ham is typically made by slicing a bone-in ham into a spiral shape and thus preserving the fresh and natural flavor. A spiral ham is also a lot easier to cut and serve than a bone-in ham but it is also more prone to being dry. This can be counteracted very easily by cooking the ham in a glaze of your choice. Something thick and sweet will work best and will also leave you with a delicious ham.
What Is A Bone-In Ham?
A bone-in ham is a hock of ham that still has the bone intact and inside of it. This is favored among a lot of people as the bone provides a very fresh and natural flavor to the game while also ensuring that it remains moist even after cooking. The only caveat to a bone-in ham is that it can be quite a chore when it comes to cutting and preparing it.
What Is A Boneless Ham?
Boneless ham, as you can guess, is a hock of ham without the bone inside of it. This ham is processed and sealed very tightly before being sold. The salt and water used to keep it fresh also help it remain together so it will still look like a full ham, only a tad smaller. The best thing about boneless ham is that it is very affordable and still super delicious. However, as it is processed, boneless ham is not as delicious as bone-in or spiral ham. Out of the three choices, boneless ham is the easiest to cut into slices with a carving knife as there is no bone to be wary of.
Cutting A Spiral Ham
Cutting a spiral ham so that it is perfect to present to your guests is a lot easier than you may think. All you need is a sharp carving knife, a cutting board, and a fully cooked bone-in ham. You can choose to do this with a boneless ham, but it works a lot better with a bone-in ham.
For a spiral-sliced ham to be perfect, you will want to cut all the way around the bone that is inside. This can be done with a paring knife or a knife of any kind as long as they are sharp. To properly and easily cut around the bone, you will want to allow the ham to rest on a cutting board after it has been roasted. Place the ham so that the cud side is facing upwards. Now all you need to do is guide your carving knife between the meat and the bone, carefully cutting the muscle and fat that connects them.
Once the bone is cut around, some of the ham will start to fall away as there is nothing to keep it tightly connected. You will be able to see natural breaks in the fat of the ham, which is the perfect place to cut the slices of your desired thickness. If you buy spiral hams pre-sliced then all you will need to do is remove the bone.
Once all the pieces have been sliced, lay them out on a platter or a plate for serving alongside the rest of your meal.
Cutting A Boneless Ham
As you would expect, boneless ham is a lot easier to cut into slices as there is no bone to work around while you are cutting it into slices. While you can buy pre-sliced boneless ham to save yourself some time, slicing it yourself really is not difficult at all.
After following any simple recipe for cooking the ham, you will want to let it rest on your cutting board to cool down a little bit. After it is at a temperature where you can handle it without getting burnt, you can proceed. You can use an electrical carving knife or any sharp knife you own.
Begin by cutting the ham vertically in slices of your own preference. They can be as thick or as thin as you want them to be. If they are thick, then they will be amazing to eat on their own. Whereas thin slices will work really well in a sandwich or a sub.
If you are struggling to keep a firm grip on the ham while you are trying to cut it, it is really helpful to cut a slice horizontally at the bottom so that you can rest the ham on a flat surface.
Best Glaze For Ham
Whether you are trying to lock the moisture into a boneless ham, or you are just trying to flavor your bone-in ham, making a delicious glaze is always worth trying. A glaze will add a delicious, sticky exterior to your ham that will deeply flavor it.
The natural flavor of ham is a very salty taste that can be perfectly balanced with an equally sweet taste. This is why a lot of glazes are sugar or honey-related. Speaking of; to make the perfect glaze for a ham you will only need three categories of ingredients.
The perfect glaze should cover all three tastes such as; sweet, tangy, and spice. For this, you can use honey or brown sugar as the sweet portion of your glaze, orange juice or pineapple juice as your tangy flavors, and then add mustard and garlic powder for the spices. Whisk all of this together and then applying it to your ham before cooking will be an absolute game-changer.
Is A Spiral Cut Ham Worth It?
As said, a spiral-cut ham may be a tad challenging to anyone that is new to it. However, it certainly has its merits thanks to how delicious, moist, and well-presented it is. If you are looking for the perfect combination of all three and you do not mind a bit of leg work, then a spiral-cut ham is the way to go. Although, there is nothing wrong with either a bone-in or a boneless ham as they both have their merits and will still be incredibly delicious.