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How to cook the perfect roast ham

How to cook the perfect roast ham

Thinking of trading turkey for an alternative festive centrepiece? Deliciously sweet and salty roast ham could be the showstopper you’re looking for.

Leftover ham ideas

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Green eggs & ham

With a chilli & herb salsa

This dish couldn't be easier. It's ready in minutes and only calls for a few simple ingredients.

A good roast ham is a real treat for Christmas, and it’s great for feeding a crowd, too. It’s super-easy to achieve a crispy, golden glaze and juicy, succulent meat. Plus, you’ll have awesome leftovers to use in the days that follow.


The first step to great roast ham is good buying. As always, we recommend going for higher-welfare meat – it really is the secret to making sure your ham is amazing. It’s a good idea to order from your butcher in advance, as large cuts are in demand around Christmas.

Pretty much any part of a pig can be cured to make ham, but the most common cuts you’ll find are the shoulder and leg. You can buy hams on or off the bone – smaller hams tend to be boned, while a ham with the bone still in will usually be bigger. Look for something with welfare credentials, ideally a named breed or from a small farm, and reared with access to the outdoors. This all adds up to a great-tasting ham.

The timings and measurements below are for a 3-4kg piece of meat, which will feed around 10 people. You might need to do a bit of measuring to make sure you’ve got a pot large enough to poach it in, which can also fit in your oven!

Check out Jamie’s handy meat roasting guide for times and sizes if your ham is bigger or smaller than ours.


Pork becomes ham by the process of ‘brining’, which means it’s submerged in salted water with other flavourings (like herbs and spices), and left for a number of days or weeks. The salt penetrates the meat and acts as a preserver. This process also keeps the ham nice and pink when it’s cooked. Before you cook a brined ham, it’s a good idea to soak it in cold water overnight, to wash away some of the excess salt. Alternatively, pop it in a deep pot, cover with water, bring to the boil and poach it for half an hour or so. Remember, poaching liquor will be super-salty so don’t be tempted to use it for your gravy!


Cover your ham with a beautifully shiny, sticky glaze. Towards the end of the roasting time, cover your meat in one of these three marinades and return to the oven, for something really special.

  1. MARMALADE GLAZE: Simply squeeze the juice of 1 orange into a bowl and mix well with 150 ml of golden rum and 3 tablespoons of quality bitter orange marmalade.
  1. TEA-INFUSED GLAZE: Infuse 1 Earl grey tea bag in 250ml boiling water and stir in 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar until it dissolves. Stud the ham with whole cloves and brush over the glaze.
  1. DRY SPICE MARINADE: In a bowl combine, 2 teaspoons each of ground allspice, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground cloves. Then add 2 tablespoons of runny honey and 100ml of golden rum. Give it a good mix and massage evenly onto your ham.


Sweet and salty Christmas ham goes really well with buttery greens, tart cranberry sauce and lots of crispy roasties. Or, serve your sliced ham with a Christmas slaw of cabbage, apple and chopped nuts. When it comes to cold cuts on Boxing Day, go for a creamy parsley sauce with roasted leeks, for a classic flavour combo. We’ve got masses of side dish inspiration here – so take a look and choose your favourites to really celebrate the Christmas ham.


This sticky, sweet and salty ham is an absolute winner. Give it a whirl this Christmas, or at any other time of the year!

You’ll need:

3-4 kg middle cut higher-welfare gammon, with knuckle left on
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 fresh bay leaves
16 black peppercorns
1 bouquet garni (1 piece of leek, 1 stick of celery, 1 fresh bay leaf, 1 sprig of fresh thyme)
2 lemons or oranges
1 jar of quality thin-rind marmalade
½ a bunch of fresh rosemary

  1. Place the ham in a large, snug-fitting, pot.
  2. Roughly chop and throw in the carrots and celery, with the bay leaves, peppercorns and bouquet garni.
  3. Peel the zest from the lemons, then squeeze the juice.
  4. Cover with water. Place the pot over a high heat, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes with a lid on, skimming away any scum that rises to the surface, as and when needed.
  5. When the time’s up, remove from the heat and allow to cool for half an hour in the broth – this will allow the flavours to really penetrate the meat. Remove the veg and put the broth in a container for freezing.
  6. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. Carefully remove the meat to a board and, using a knife, take off the skin.
  7. Depending on the breed and quality of the pig, you should have a nice layer of fat. Remove some of the fat as well, to leave you with about 1cm. The extra fat can be kept in the freezer for roasting with potatoes another time.
  8. Score the fat left on the meat in a criss-cross fashion, and while it’s moist, season it generously with 3 tablespoons of black pepper.
  9. Place the ham in a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes, or until the fat renders and becomes slightly crispy.
  10. Remove from the oven, stir the marmalade to loosen, then rub it all over the meat, and strip over the rosemary.
  11. Return to the oven for about 1 hour and baste frequently until beautifully golden and crisp.
  12. Serve as you would a roast dinner or as part of a picnic.

Watch Jamie cook the perfect ham here:

Discover Jamie’s ultimate recipes for all the festive classics in Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Book, on sale now. And take a look at the Christmas hub for ideas for everything from cocktails, and edible gifts to special diet recipes and tasty leftovers.

The Perfect Ham Guide

Snake River Farms Kurobuta hams are extremely easy to prepare. Although fully cooked, our hams reach their peak flavor when properly heated.

This guide is full of information about how to select the best ham for your family or event and the simple steps required to prepare the best tasting ham you've ever served.

All Things Ham

Snake River Farms Kurobuta hams are the foundation of a mouthwatering holiday meal, but surprisingly easy to prepare. Although fully cooked, our hams reach their peak flavor when properly heated.

This guide is full of information about how to select the best ham for your family or event and the simple steps required to prepare the best tasting ham you've ever served.

Learn how to select a ham and cook it perfectly with this ultimate guide online. Click on the tabs below to learn more.


Snake River Farms Kurobuta hams come in two different types (boneless or bone-in) and in five different sizes. From left to right, these are the boneless half ham (3.5 to 4.5 lb.s), small bone-in ham (6 to 8 lbs.), whole boneless ham (7 to 9 lbs.), large half ham (8 to 10 lbs.) and whole bone-in ham (14 to 18 lbs.).

Size is a primary factor in choosing a ham in order to ensure there are ample servings for the number of people at your table. We produce hams with the bones intact or with bones removed. Select the tabs above to help determine which ham is right for you.


Bone-in and boneless hams each have their advantages. Select one depending on which benefit is appeals to you the most.

If flavor is your top concern, go with a bone-in ham. The bone helps surrounding meat cook to a juicier, more tender finish. The bone also adds a traditional appearance at the table. The leftover bone is flavorful foundation for stocks and soups, providing an additional meal.

Choose a boneless ham if you value convenience. Our boneless hams are made of the same high-quality Kurobuta pork and cured just like our bone-in hams, but they can be quickly sliced and plated at the table.


In general, 8 ounces is a generous portion of ham for each person at your table. If you want to have leftovers or you’re serving a crowd with a large appetite for ham, 12 ounces is a good target portion size per person.

Here are the approximate number of 8-ounce servings in each of our Kurobuta hams:


If your ham is frozen, put it in the refrigerator several days before you plan to serve it. Thawing in a refrigerator is highly recommended as it is the best way to ensure food safety. Snake River Farms hams range in size from 2.5 lbs for a Mini Karver up to 18 lbs for a whole bone-in ham, so the actual time to thaw will vary greatly.

Once completely defrosted, our hams will keep for up to 45 days in their original sealed packaging, so we recommend placing your ham in the refrigerator sooner rather than later.

Use this chart to estimate the amount of time required to thaw your ham:


Sometimes things just don’t work out as planned and you need to speed up the thawing process. You can use a cool water bath to help quickly thaw a frozen ham. Keep your ham sealed in the original packaging. Close the drain to your sink and fill with cool tap water. Place ham in water and allow to sit. A half bone-in ham can thaw enough to bake in about 3 to 4 hours. A whole bone-in ham will take more than 4 hours.

PLEASE NOTE: We DO NOT recommend this method in normal situations. It is for emergencies only. For best results, please plan ahead so your ham thaws slowly and safely in your refrigerator.


Preparing a Snake River Farms Kurobuta ham using a roasting pan and oven is surprisingly easy. Just follow these simple steps:

Set the oven temperature to 325°F degrees.

Remove ham from any packaging. Place fat side up in a roasting pan. If using a half ham, place the flat side directly on the roasting pan. Kurobuta hams are highly marbled so it’s not necessary to water or liquid. Leave ham uncovered to allow for even browning.

Place the ham and roasting pan in the heated oven until its internal temperature reaches 140°F degrees. Every oven is different so cooking times will vary. A thermometer is the single best way to determine doneness. Click the Ham Cook Chart tab for approximate cooking times, but use a thermometer to decide the right time to remove your ham from the oven.

Take the ham and roasting pan out of the oven and place on a heat-safe surface.

Only use times as a guideline. A thermometer should be used to determine doneness.

Loosely cover ham with foil and allow to rest 15 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the roasting pan and place on a cutting board. For bone-in hams, the best technique is to cut off large sections that run parallel to the bone and cut these portions into slices.


Free up the oven for side dishes or just enjoy the great outdoors by cooking your Kurobuta ham on your grill.

Pre-heat grill on one side. The idea is to have direct heat and flame under one half of the grill and use the other half as an oven to heat your ham. The goal is to create a temperature of about 325°F degrees on the cool side when the cover is closed.

Remove ham from any packaging. Place on cutting board or platter for transfer to grill.

Place the ham on the cool side of the grill with the fat side up. If using a half ham, place the flat side down. The ham will cook using indirect heat. Check to make sure there are no coals or direct flames under the ham. See the chart below for approximate cooking times, but use a thermometer to decide the right time to remove your ham from the oven.

Check the internal temperature of the ham using an instant-read thermometer. Remove the ham from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 140°F degrees. A whole bone-in ham will take up to 4 hours to fully heat. A half bone-in ham will take about 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours. Take the ham off the grill and place on a cutting board.

Loosely cover ham with foil and allow to rest 15 to 30 minutes.

For bone-in hams, the best technique is to cut off large sections that run parallel to the bone and cut these portions into slices.

What are the Types of Ham?

Hams are often cut into two pieces: the shank and the butt. The shank is the bottom half and is leaner and more flavorful the butt is the top half and is fattier and richer. In addition to choosing which cut, you’ll also want to choose between the following preparations.

City Ham

This is the most widely available type of ham sold. It’s brined, fully cooked and can come smoked or unsmoked. This type of ham is classically used to make glazed ham. City hams are also sometimes sold sliced, which will be labeled as spiral cut.

Country Ham

Country ham is harder to find than city ham. They’re popular in the south — Virginia Ham is a famous type of country-style ham. Country hams are cured with a dry rub, can be smoked and are sold raw. They have an intense hammy flavor, a bit like prosciutto.

Fresh Ham

This specialty cut from your local butcher is sold uncured and uncooked, typically with the skin on. When you cook it, the resulting flavor often ends up tasting like juicy, tender pork roast with crispy skin.

Boneless Ham

Exactly what it sounds like, boneless ham is ham with it’s bone removed that’s pressed into a compact oval for easy carving. The texture is a little more like that of deli ham than the varieties listed above. Keep in mind that just like in cooking any other type of meat, cooking a bone-in ham affords juicier, more flavorful results. Moreover, if you opt for bone-in, that leftover ham bone makes for a wonderful soup base in the future!

Soak the gammon joint overnight.

Drain and discard the water and pat the gammon dry. Place the gammon in a large pan and then pour over the cider and enough water to cover the joint.

Add all the other ingredients to the pan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and gently simmer for 3 - 3 ½ hours. Skim off any scum during the cooking.

When cooked, remove the ham from the pan and place in a roasting tin. Let it cool slightly and then peel away the skin.

Preheat the oven 190C/375 F / Gas 5.

Score diamond shapes on the fat and stud each diamond with a clove.

Heat the marmalade and lemon juice in a pan for a few minutes until it thickens to a sticky glaze. Brush the marmalade glaze over the surface of the ham.

How To Prepare and Cook Perfect Ham

Ham is always popular to serve for a holiday dinner. We are sharing our How To Prepare and Cook Perfect Ham resource guide with tips on quantities to purchase, how to thaw ham, cooking time table, carving tips and some of our favorite ham recipes and glazes to help you.

Some of the following information is from The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). FSIS is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

Definition – The word HAM means pork which comes from the hind leg of a hog. Ham made from the front leg of a hog will be labeled pork shoulder picnic.

Hams are either ready-to-eat or not. Ready-to-eat hams include prosciutto and fully-cooked hams they can be eaten right out of the package. Fresh hams must be cooked by the consumer before eating.

Hams may be fresh, cured, or cured and smoked. The usual color for cured ham is deep rose or pink:

Fresh Ham (which is not cured) – is a raw uncured rear leg of a pig. The cut usually comes with the skin still on. The meat is typically pale pink to beige (the color of raw pork). Since the meat is not cured or smoked, it has the flavor of a fresh pork loin roast or pork chops. Its raw color is pinkish red and after cooking, grayish white.

Dry Cured Ham – is cured by burying it in a mound of salt or by rubbing the skin with salt. It is usually hung and air-dried for 6 to 18 months at cool temperatures allowing for dehydration and concentration of flavors. Often a dry cured ham is smoked at low temperatures to help enhance the flavor.

Quantity to Buy – How Much Ham To Purchase

When buying a ham, estimate the size needed according to the number of servings the type of ham should yield:

Boneless Ham: 1/4 to 1/3 pound per serving

Ham with Small Bone: 1/3 to 1/2 pound of meat per serving

Ham with Large Bone: 3/4 to 1 pound of meat per serving

How To Prepare and Cook Perfect Ham – Ham 101

Following information is from Hormel Foods.

Raw pork must be stored in the refrigerator at 40 degrees F. or lower and used within 3 to 5 days of the “sell by” date on the package or it should be frozen.

Ham can be cooked without thawing first. You will need to increase the cooking time when starting with frozen meat. Larger cuts, such as ham roasts, will require up to 1 1/2 times the cooking time of an unfrozen ham cut.

Thawing Frozen Hams – Two methods that can be used to safely thaw ham are the refrigerator method and the cold water method. Never thaw ham on the kitchen counter. The outside of the ham will reach a temperature above 40 degrees F. while the inside is still frozen. The area that reaches a temperature above 40 degrees F. would be susceptible to bacterial growth. Use one of the thawing methods described below.

Refrigerator Method – Thawing ham in the refrigerator is the slowest but safest method and will result in the least amount of moisture loss in comparison to the other methods. The temperature of the refrigerator should be maintained at 35 to 40 degrees F. to discourage growth of harmful organisms as the ham thaws. Leave the ham wrapped and placed on a platter or a tray to catch the drippings as it thaws or unwrap and loosely cover with plastic or foil.

Approximate Refrigerator Thawing Time

Small Ham – 4 to 5 hours per pound

Large Roast – 5 to 7 hours per pound

After thawing in the refrigerator, the ham can be refrigerated safely for 3 to 5 days. If you decide not to cook the ham within this time, the ham can be refrozen. Remember however, that each time the ham is frozen, it loses some of its flavor quality. Do not refreeze ham that has been thawed using the cold water or microwave methods.

Cold Water Method
– Thawing ham in cold water is a faster method than thawing in the refrigerator and it is safe as long as the proper precautions are taken. Fill the sink with enough cold tap water to cover the cut of ham, place the ham in a leak-proof bag and put it into the cold water. Be sure that the ham is sealed tightly so that it is not exposed to the water. Meat exposed to the water will result in flavor and color loss, and will have a greater chance of bacterial growth. The water must be replaced with fresh cold water every 30 minutes. Do not use warm or hot water because it will encourage the growth of bacteria.

Approximate Cold Water Thawing Time

Large Roast – 30 minutes per pound

Important: Do not use the sink for other purposes during the thawing period and be sure the water does not splash onto other preparation surfaces or food.

Once the ham is thawed, remove it from the sink and sanitize all utensils and surfaces affected during the thawing period. The ham should be cooked immediately after thawing and should not be stored for any period of time. Do not refreeze the ham that has been thawed using this method, unless it has been cooked first.

Favorite Ham Recipes:

How To Cook A Fully Cooked Ham: Both vacuum-packaged fully cooked and canned hams can be eaten cold just as they come from their packaging. However, if you want to reheat these fully-cooked hams, set the oven no lower than 325 degrees F. and heat to an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. as measured with a meat thermometer.

For fully cooked hams that has been repackaged in any other location outside the plant or for leftover fully cooked ham, heat to a temperature of 140 degrees F.

Cook-before-eating hams must reach a temperature of 160 degrees F. to be safely cooked before serving. Cook in an oven set no lower than 325 degrees F. Hams can also be safely cooked in a microwave oven, other counter top appliances and on the stove top. Consult a cookbook for specific methods and timing.

Country hams or dry-cured hams (ham that has been cured, smoked and aged for a period ranging from a few months to a year or more) can be soaked 4 to 12 hours or longer in the refrigerator to reduce the salt content before cooking. Then they can be cooked by boiling or baking and must much a temperature of 160 degrees F. Follow the manufacturer’s cooking instruction.

Ham Glazes – Glazes can range from a simple brush of maple syrup to complicated mixtures made of sugars and seasonings. Prepare your favorite ham glaze and brush evenly over the surface of the warm ham. The glaze should be added during the last 20 to 30 minutes of heating time so the glaze does not burn.

Timetable For Cooking Ham:

Set oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Both cook-before-eating cured and fresh hams should be cooked to an internal temperature 160 degrees F. Reheat fully-cooked ham to an internal temperature 140 degrees F.

Use a Cooking or Meat Thermometer for the perfect ham for your dinner. You definitely need a Cooking or Meat Thermometer! Never guess if your meat is done again!

A precooked ham does not have to be cooked, but will taste better if you heat it thoroughly to an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. (60 degrees C). Place the ham in a 325 degrees F. oven (163 degrees C). You want to reheat the ham without drying it out. he best way to do this is to place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Add water to the bottom of the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil (cover the pan with the ham).

Whole or Boneless ham (10-15 pounds): Cook approximately 12 to 15 minutes per pound

Half ham (5-7 pounds): Cook approximately 18 to 20 minutes per pound

This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer .

Adding Ham Glaze: When meat thermometer registers 135 degrees F., unwrap the ham and apply your favorite glaze. Do not rewrap with aluminum foil. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. and bake approximately 15 to 20 minutes longer until the glaze is burnished and the meat thermometer registers 140 degrees F.

Carving Ham – How To Carve Ham:

When checking the temperature of your ham, insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of ham, not resting in fat or touching bone. Cook until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Remove from oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let sit approximately 15 to 20 minutes. NOTE: Cutting into the meat too early will cause a significant loss of juice. Do not skip the resting stage.

Use a long, thin, sharp knife (choose a carving knife that is long enough to cut the entire length of the cut). Sharpen your Carving Knife, if necessary, using either a sharpening rod or stone.

Steel Sharpening Rod – To use a Steel Sharpening Rod or Steel, pull the edge down and across the rod, holding the carving knife at a 22-degree angle. Repeat this process anywhere from 5 to 10 times.

Sharpening Stone (whetstones) – To use a Sharpening Stone (whetstones), hold the carving knife at a 10- to 15-degree angle to the stone. Push back and forth in smooth, steady strokes.

Place the ham on a cutting board and trim off 2 or 3 slices, parallel to its length, from the thin side of the ham.

Turn the ham so that it rests on the flat side created from trimming off the slices. Hold the ham firmly with a carving fork and starting at the shank end, cut slices across the ham, down to the bone.

After cutting the slices, cut parallel along the bone to release the slices. Place slices on a serving platter.

Turn the ham and continue to carve slices in the same manner.

Ham Do’s And Do Nots:

Do allow the ham to sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before cooking.

Do trim the fat, leaving a 1/4-inch layer. Score the fat into a diamond pattern by cutting 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch deep into 1-inch to 2-inch squares. Not only does scoring look nice, but it allows fat to render from the ham and provides greater surface area for the glaze to stick to. You may not be able to score a ham that has been “super trimmed” and has little fat left.

Do use a sharp carving knife with a thin blade to cut the ham, or buy a spiral-sliced ham.

Do Not forget to line your water pan with aluminum foil if cooking a ham at high temperature and with an empty water. Cleanup will be much easier.

Do Not baste the ham with its drippings during cooking, as they tend to be too salty.

Do Not coat the ham with sugar, honey or glaze until the last hour of cooking. One application is usually enough.

Do Not throw out the ham bone – use it to flavor soups or bean dishes.

Ham – the all-purpose leftover – You can use leftover ham in soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, and salads. And, like turkey leftovers at Thanksgiving, ham makes an wonderful sandwich. It is a perfect pairing for many egg dishes. Chopped ham tastes great in frittatas (an egg dish resembling an omelet that’s not folded over and is usually finished under the broiler) and quiches. Ham is ideal pan-fried and served with scrambled eggs. See the delicious recipes using ham in the left column.

Remember to save the ham bone for your soups. Especially Lentil Soup and Senate Bean Soup. Just remember to watch how you salt or season the leftover dishes you make. Ham tends to be salty and can make whatever you are making salty, too.

Ham Nutrition – Ham is one of the leanest cuts of pork. According to the USDA, a 3.4 ounce (100 gram) serving of roasted extra-lean ham has about 145 calories, 5.5 grams of fat, 21 grams of protein and 53 milligrams of cholesterol. Ham contains a significant amount of vitamins B-1 and B-12. While fresh pork is low in sodium, ham is high in sodium as a result of the curing process. According to the USDA, a serving of ham can contain about one-half of the recommended daily intake of sodium.

Foodborne Organisms – These organisms are associated with ham.

Trichinella spiralis (trichina) – worms sometimes present in hogs. All hams are specifically processed to USDA guidelines to kill trichinae.

Staphylococcus aureus (staph) – is destroyed by cooking and processing but can be re-introduced via mishandling the bacteria can then produce a toxin which is not destroyed by further cooking. Dry curing may or may not destroy S. aureus, but the high salt content on the exterior inhibits these bacteria. When the ham is sliced, the moister interior will permit staphylococcal multiplication thus sliced dry-cured hams must be refrigerated.

Mold – can often be found on country cured ham. We believe most of these are harmless but some molds can produce mycotoxins. Molds grow on hams during the long curing and drying process because the high salt and low temperatures it with hot water and scrub off the mold with a stiff vegetable brush.

Glossary of Ham Terms:

BUTT END, HALF OR PORTION – The upper, meatier part of the whole leg a butt portion has had some center slices removed for separate sale as ham steaks or center cut ham slices. The half includes this meat.

CANNED HAM – Canned hams come in two forms:

Shelf stable – Store on shelf up to 2 years at room temperature. Generally not over 3 pounds in size.

Refrigerated – May be stored in the refrigerator up to 6 to 9 months. Its weight can be up to 8% more than original uncured weight due to uptake of water during curing. It need not be labeled “Added water” except for “In Natural Juices.” Net Weight is the weight of the actual ham excluding the container.

CAPACOLLA – Boneless pork shoulder butts which are dry cured not necessarily cooked.

HAM CAPACOLLA – Is made with ham instead of pork shoulder butts.

COOK BEFORE EATING – Needs further cooking. Is not completely cooked in the plant and should be cooked to 160F.

COTTAGE HAM – A ham made from the shoulder butt end.

COUNTRY HAM – Uncooked, cured, dried, smoked-or-not smoked meat products made from a single piece of meat from the hind leg of a hog or from a single piece of meat from a pork shoulder. Smithfield and country hams are not fully cooked but are dry cured to be safe stored at room temperature.

FRESH HAM – The uncured leg of pork. Since the meat is not cured or smoked, it has the flavor of a fresh pork loin roast or pork chops. Its raw color is pinkish red and after cooking, greyish white.

FULLY COOKED – Needs no further cooking. Fully cooked in plant. Can be eaten directly as it comes from its packaging or reheated.

GELATIN – About one-fourth ounce of dry gelatin is often added before a canned ham is sealed to cushion the ham during shipment. During processing, natural juices cook out of the ham and combine with the gelatin. When the ham cools, a jell forms.

HAM – The product is at least 20.5% protein in lean portion and contains no added water.

HAM with NATURAL JUICES – The product is at least 18.5% protein. Can weigh 8% more than uncured weight. Example: canned hams.

HAM – WATER ADDED – The product is at least 17.0% protein with 10% added solution it can weigh 8% more after curing than uncured.

HAM AND WATER PRODUCTS – Product may contain any amount of water but label must indicate percent of “added ingredients.” For example, “X % of weight is added ingredients” for any canned ham with less than 17.0% protein.

HAM STEAK – Another name for center cut ham slices.

HICKORY-SMOKED HAM – A cured ham which has been smoked by hanging over burning hickory wood chips in a smokehouse. May not be labeled “hickory smoked” unless hickory wood has been used.

HONEY-CURED – May be shown on the labeling of a cured product if honey is the only sweetening ingredient or is at least half the sweetening ingredients used, and if the honey is used in an amount sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product.

“LEAN” HAM – The term “lean” may be used on a ham’s label provided the product contains less than 10 grams fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams cholesterol per 100 grams and Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC).

“EXTRA LEAN” HAM – A ham labeled “extra lean” must contain less than 5 grams fat, less than 2 grams saturated fat and the same cholesterol as allowed per the amount of “lean” ham.

PICNIC, PORK SHOULDER PICNIC – A front shoulder cut of pork which has been cured in the same manner as ham.

PROSCIUTTO HAM – An Italian-style dry cured raw ham not smoked often coated with pepper. Proscuitti can be eaten raw because of the way they are processed. PARMA HAM is prosciutto from the Parma locale in Italy. These hams tend to be larger than the U.S. produced product, as Italian hogs are larger at slaughter.

S ECTIONED AND FORMED or C HUNKED AND FORMED – A boneless ham that is made from different cuts, tumbled or massaged and reassembled into a casing or mold and fully cooked. During this process it is usually thoroughly defatted.

SHANK END, HALF OR PORTION – The lower, slightly pointed part of the leg. A “portion” has the center slices removed for separate sale as “ham steaks” or center cut ham slices. The half includes this meat.

SKINLESS, SHANKLESS – A ham with all of the skin and the shank removed. The leg bone and aitch (hip) bone remain.

SUGAR CURED – A term that may appear on ham labels if cane or beet sugar is at least half the sweetening ingredients used and if the sugar is used in an amount sufficient to flavor and/or affect the appearance of the finished product. Most hams contain sugar in the curing mixture.

WESTPHALIAN HAM – A German-style dry cured ham that is similar to Prosciutto smoked, sometimes with juniper berries. Also called Westfalischer Schinken.

How to Cook Ham in an Electric Roaster – Perfect Big Family Dinners

Whether you get a precooked or fresh ham you can prepare a delicious roast to your family and loved ones by using an electric roaster oven. Ham is probably one of the easiest meals to cook, and using a roaster oven makes it even easier and faster. Just wrap some foil around and put it in the electric roaster. You better concentrate more on the side dishes as you don’t have to do much about the ham. Keep in mind that you can also arrange additional meals with the leftovers afterwards sandwiches and omelets as being the most popular ones.

No More Dry Ham

One thing that is great about the roaster ovens that you don’t have to worry about the ham getting dried out. If you cook it in a regular oven, then you have to pay extra attention to the overall temperature to prevent it from losing all its moisture. However, electric roaster ovens keep all the steam inside, that’s why you always get the juiciest meat out of them. I guarantee that you will never have a dry one if you cook it with a roaster oven.

Step by Step Ham Cooking in a Roaster Oven

There are many methods that you can use for cooking a ham, but using a roaster oven is obviously the best one. Roasting is very similar to baking in the sense that they both take advantage of dry heat. The tricky part is the sealed steam inside the roster oven that keeps all the juices and flavors.

Step 1: Get yourself some ham to cook! Before you hit the store, you should learn about all the available ham varieties if you don’t already know. They come boneless, bone-in, whole or half, and spiral cut. Plus, you can get them pre-cooked, half-cooked, or fresh. Having said that the most popular one is the wet-cured ham in the US, and bone-in is everyone’s favorite because it tends to cook more tender and moister. However, if you go to Italy, then you will notice that the dry-cured ones are more popular. It is just a personal taste.

After you decide on what type of ham you want, you also have to decide how much ham you need. For boneless hams, you will need 1/4 pound per person, and for bone-in hams you would need 1/2 pound per person.

Step 2: Now that you came back from the store, it is time to prepare the ham for cooking. Put multiple layers of foil on the countertop, and then put the ham on it. Season as you like, but don’t get overboard as we will also apply glaze. A simple mixture of ground black pepper, salt, and powder garlic is usually enough. Feel free to be creative it is your ham. Wrap the ham with the foil, but leave the top part open, so that we can apply glaze later on.

Step 3: Preheat the electric roaster oven to 325°F. It usually takes about 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 4: We always cook the ham on the rack that comes with the roaster oven, do not put it directly on the pan inside. Add about 4 cups of water to the roasting pan, then place the rack on top. Next, put the foil wrapped ham on the rack. Water should reach around to 1/3 of meat’s height from the sides.

Step 5: Attach the meat thermometer to the center of the ham. You definitely need a quality meat thermometer if you are planning to cook large size meats in your roaster oven. Don’t forget to close the lid.

Step 6: If you want to apply glaze, then do so when the meat temperature shows 100°F. Some hams do come glaze applied, and some includes glaze packets inside that you can warm on the stovetop. You can use the glaze packets or prepare one fast yourself it is up to you.

How Do You Glaze a Cooked Ham?

Mix 2 tablespoons of mustard of your choice (preferably Dijon), one cup of orange juice, and a half cup of maple syrup well in a small pan on medium heat. Use a silicone brush and apply over ham. Apply 20 minutes before you take it out of the oven or when the thermometer shows 100°F, the ham will look and taste amazing.

Step 7: If you are using a precooked ham, as it is usually the case, then the ham will be ready when it reaches to 140°F.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Ham in An Electric Roaster?

Cooking time depends on the size and type of the ham. In general, it takes under 2 hours to cook an 8 pounds of ham in an electric roaster oven. The table below lists ham cooking times in roaster oven for various sizes and types for your reference.

Do You Have to Boil a Ham Before Baking?

If you purchase a fresh ham, then you definitely need to boil it prior to cooking. This helps to prevent it from getting dried while cooking. However, this step is not necessary if you bake it in a roaster oven. We fill the roaster pan with water up to the point that 1/3 of the ham is covered with it. In addition, the roaster oven can circulate the moisture inside, keeping the ham juicy at all times.

How Can You Tell If the Ham is Cooked?

Best way to check the doneness of the ham is to use a meat thermometer. Internal temperature should reach to 160°F for a well-done ham. Make sure to check the temperature level from the center of the meat, otherwise you might get a wrong measurement. It makes a big difference if the ham is precooked or not. Since you are only reheating, 140°F is enough for a precooked ham.

In Conclusion

An electric roaster oven provides the perfect environment for cooking ham, much like the Thanksgiving turkey , which is another delicacy to enjoy over big family dinners. In the end, cooking tasty ham in the electric roaster oven is a great way to enjoy holidays or a Sunday evening. It is a fast-forward delicious meal, meaning that you don’t have to do much to prepare it. Actually, the hardest part is to stop eating the juicy ham that comes out of the roaster oven.

Fresh Ham Roast

Ginger-kissed with a mustard-glazed sweetness, this fresh ham roast is a revelation of how juicy, flavorful, and succulent this cut of pork can be.

Slow-roasted fresh ham is unlike any ham you’ve ever tasted. (All photos credit: George Graham)

But, the key to it is in getting to know your farmer, and learning how he cares, feeds, and humanely raises his livestock. It is the essence of sustainability in eating local and beginning to understand the difference it makes in quality and social responsibility.

Charles Thompson at his farmers’ market stall.

My farmer friend Charles Thompson runs Market Basket farm (listed on our Faces and Places page) on the outskirts of Lafayette in Youngsville, Louisiana, where he grows organic vegetables and raises heritage breeds of Berkshire, Large Black, and Duroc hogs. A Saturday-morning regular at the Hub City Farmers’ Market in Lafayette’s Oil Center, Charles is passionate about his craft and brings a chef’s eye to his farming techniques and choice of crops.

Buying “hog shares” is a smart way to buy pork. You know you’re purchasing a quality, pasture-raised pig, and you’re helping sustain a local farmer who brings his products and passion to market. While this is not always cheaper than buying run-of-the-mill supermarket pork, it is most always a cost-efficient way to load up your freezer with high-quality, artisan breed pork. What starts out as a 250-pound Berkshire hog dresses out around 175 pounds, and Charles sells his hogs in whole shares or half shares that require a few months from purchase to butchering.

My friend Cle’ Simon and I split a half share, and when the day arrived, we loaded up an ice chest and made the trek to pick up our pig. Butchered in Morse, Louisiana at Elliot’s slaughterhouse, this hog was professionally pieced and parceled from tail to snout into manageable cuts. Chops, loin, belly, shoulder roasts, jowls, backbone, ground pork, ribs, even liver and caul fat, were hermetically sealed, double wrapped, and labeled for efficient storage.

The cut that most intrigued me was a 4.5-pound fresh ham roast. Cut from the hind leg of the Berkshire, this was ham like I had never seen before. I can bake a sugar-cured, spiral-cut holiday ham with the best of them, but this was an untraveled pork path for me. Raw (uncured and unsmoked), I wasn’t exactly sure how to treat this cut, but Charles (a chef-certified farmer) assured me that a long flavor-filled braise would work magic on this ham with dramatic results.

Unique, but easy-to-find ingredients make this Cajun recipe a cinch.

Light bulbs started going off in my head as I brainstormed my culinary memory banks for braising techniques of past successes. Beer is always a good option, and apple juice with ham just makes sense. But, it was a leftover four-pack of ginger beer hidden in the pantry from a long ago Moscow Mule party that got my braising juices flowing. Ginger beer is not beer (alcohol) at all, but rather a culinary cousin of root beer that is produced by the natural fermentation of prepared ginger spice, yeast, and sugar. And with a blend like that, I just know this combination will work. I decided to use apple juice for the brine, and fresh apples and rosemary as my braising flavor enhancers. And to gild this lily, I decided on sugarcane syrup blended with Dijon mustard to glaze on a finishing touch.

This Fresh Ham Roast is an unusual spin on ham that is a must-try recipe. I urge you to find a farmer or a butcher who can deliver a fresh ham roast for your dinner table, and I predict it will quickly become a standout in your Cajun recipe portfolio.

How to Cook Whole Boneless Ham

  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings


Learn how to cook a whole, boneless ham with the best glaze. It’s an easy option for entertaining because they come pre-cooked. All you do is add flavor.


  • 1 (5-6lb.) boneless ham
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp . orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp . cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp . ground cloves
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 pinch salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Remove the ham from the packaging and place it into a large baking dish. Pour the water in the dish with the ham.
  3. Cover the dish with foil or a lid. Allow the ham to cook covered for about an hour, about 15 minutes per pound.
  4. Now, you can stop there, this will heat the ham through, and since it’s already cooked, you can eat it. However, it’s much better to add a glaze.
  5. Mix together all of the remaining ingredients to make the glaze.
  6. Pull the ham out of the oven and drain out the water. Brush the ham with the generous coating and slide it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Repeat the glazing process several more times until all of the glaze is on the ham. The glazing process should take about 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the ham from the oven, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @cookthestory on Instagram and hashtag it #cookthestory

This post originally appeared in November 2019 and was revised and republished in December 2020.

More Recipes Like This:

The Perfect Christmas Ham Roast

Impress your friends and family with this simple ham recipe showcased by the first Finnish MasterChef, Joonas Hämäläinen. Check out his website for more:


  1. Let the ham warm to room temperature before cooking. Ideally, the internal temperature of the meat should be 50° F (10° C) or above before cooking.

2. Insert MEATER into the thickest part of the ham and set up your cook on the MEATER app. Select Pork, Ham and a target temperature. My recommendation is 185° F (85° C).

3. Cook the ham in the oven at 250° F (120° C). We’re doing a low-and-slow cook to achieve a juicy and very tender result. Also add 100 ml of water to the oven tray to keep the oven humid.

4. Start the cook on the MEATER app.

5. You can monitor the cooking progress and time remaining on the MEATER app. You can also use MEATER Link to extend your wireless range over WiFi so you can monitor the cook from any where in your home. Check out how to do it here.

6. The MEATER app will alert you to “Remove From Heat” so you can rest it on the table. The alert is triggered early in order to let “carry-over” cooking to occur and reach the final target temperature during the resting phase.

7. Wait for the meat to rest and let the MEATER app notify you when it is “Ready”.

8. Add a delicious crust using Dijon mustard, breadcrumbs and cloves. First peel away the skin and remove most of the fat (you can leave a little bit for more flavor). Cover the ham with mustard, then add breadcrumbs and cloves. Toast it in the oven at 480° F (250° C) for 15 minutes to finish the crust.

9. Carve, serve and enjoy! Master Tip: you can chill the rest in the refrigerator and enjoy it as cold cuts.

How Long to Cook a Holiday Ham: Cook Times and Temperatures

Two things must be determined before calculating the cook time for your ham: whether the ham is bone-in or boneless and whether the ham has already been fully cooked or if the packaging instructs to "cook before eating." Regardless of the bone, uncooked hams need to be cooked to 145ଏ for food safety. The already cooked hams only need to be heated to 140ଏ for adequate food safety. The guidelines below are to provide a timetable of when to expect your ham to be done, but a food thermometer should be used to check the internal temperature for the respective hams. 

Pre-Cooked and Bone-In Ham

Cooking Temperature and Time: If the ham is a half ham weighing between 5 to 7 pounds, it should be heated at 325ଏ for 18-24 minutes per pound. If it is a whole ham weighing between 10 to 14 pounds, heat the ham at 325ଏ for 15-18 minutes per pound.

Internal Temperature: 140ଏ

Pre-Cooked and Boneless Ham

Cooking Temperature and Time: This ham should weigh between 6 and 12 pounds. Heat at 325ଏ for 10-18 minutes per pound.

Internal Temperature: 140ଏ

Uncooked and Bone-In Ham

Cooking Temperature and Time: A half ham weighting between 5 and 7 pounds requires 22 to 25 minutes of roasting at 325ଏ per pound. For whole bone in hams weighing between 10 and 14 pounds, cook the ham at 325ଏ for 18 to 20 minutes per pound.

Internal Temperature: 145ଏ

Uncooked and Boneless Ham

Cooking Temperature and Time: Depending on the cut, this type of ham can weigh anywhere between 2 and 8 pounds. For the Shoulder Roll cut, the ham will weigh between 2 and 4 pounds and should be cooked at 325ଏ for 35 to 40 minutes per pound. The boneless ham shoulder will be larger, weighing between 5 and 8 pounds. Cook at 325ଏ for 30 to 35 minutes per pound.

Internal Temperature: 145ଏ

Tips for Glazing and Roasting Ham

If you intend on using a glaze for your ham (you should), then brush the glaze liberally across the surface of the ham every 10 minutes for the last 40 minutes of roasting. Before putting the ham in the oven, we recommend scoring the skin of the ham in vertical and diagonal rows every 2 inches, creating a crosshatch pattern, to allow the glaze to soak into the meat while it finishes roasting.

How to Bake the Perfect Ham

There is nothing more festive than a baked juicy ham for a spring brunch. Perfect for a large family gathering on Sunday. Below are a few steps you should always follow in order to make your ham a memorable one.
By Mallory Davis

1. Choose the Right Ham

This step is the first and most crucial of the necessary steps in order to ensure your guests line up for seconds. The weight of the ham depends on the amount of people being served at brunch. For example, a 14 pound ham will serve about 20 people depending on how much each person is being served. It is better if you can buy a fresh hame rather than a frozen one. The thawing process of a frozen ham can have a major impact on the taste and texture of the ham so it is necessary this is done correctly. You also want to make sure you are buying a bone-in ham in order to ensure a tasty dish!

2. Prepping the Ham

Use a knife to make diamond patterns across the surface of the ham. Next, press whole cloves in to the center of each diamond until the entire surface is covered. This gives the meat more flavor, but also makes it look presentable and traditional when it is fully cooked. If you’d like, you can rub tamari soy sauce on the outside in order to give the meat even more flavors throughout.

3. Baking the Ham

The most important instructions for this step is to cook the ham slowly. Remember this throughout the entire baking process in order to ensure a tasty, juicy ham. Cover the meat with foil and place it cut-side down in a shallow roasting pan. Then bake the ham in a 325 degree oven for 22-26 minutes per pound OR until the internal temperature reaches between 140 and 150 degrees. Remember, the key here is to cook the ham SLOWLY!

Also, differing from popular belief, refrain from basting the ham with its own juices as the salty liquid can overpower the overall flavor of the finished product.

While the ham is baking in the oven, you can be mixing together the glaze.

Mix together the brown sugar, spicy mustard, apple cider vinegar, and cola. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes until it gets nice and darker in color.

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After the ham is done baking, cover the ham with the glaze. Put it back into the oven uncovered and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes.

After it is done cooking, cover it with the remaining glaze. Let it it sit for 10 to 15 minutes outside of the oven before serving. Carve and enjoy.