How to Make and Carve the Juiciest Bone-In, Whole Holiday Ham

 How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham
The ham is all about pomp and circumstance don't you think? At least that's the only reason I put the pineapple and cherry decor in the ham's skin. They don't contribute to the overall flavor, but they look gorgeous on the holiday buffet! You know what they say, "we eat with our eyes first".

Anyway, making the juciest bone-in, whole holiday ham is easier than you think. It all starts with the ham itself. I'll admit, I am a bit a ham snob. It has to be quality and it HAS to be bone-in. Now, almost five years ago, I wrote about a making a Baked Ham with Rum and Coke Glaze. It is an amazing recipe using a smaller ham, but still bone-in. Please tell me you have stopped buying the pre-sliced spiral ham. If you haven't, call me and I'll talk you off the ledge, or I'll talk to your family member who's still doing it.

Anyway, I have to admit I am so, so lucky to have one of the most quality places to buy meat. This particular bone-in, whole ham is from Carlton Farms, my local go-to place for all things meat. To all of my local friends, these hams are the best I have ever tasted. No exaggeration. And no one is paying me say that. My mom, who has been cooking hams for YEARS visits and can't believe how lovely these turn out. A good ham requires little intervention.

How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham whole picture
My point is, you have to start with an excellent ham, to get the best and juiciest flavor. And don't be afraid of the carving, it's not hard. This particular ham weighed in at 19.5 pounds. It would, without a doubt, feed 20-25 people, or better yet, a smaller crowd with lots of leftovers.

Remember, the ham is already cooked, so basically you are warming it up. It does take a while and I recommend doing it slowly. This ham was in the oven for about five-and-half-hours at 300 degrees F.

The whole ham comes in a sort-of cheesecloth bag, remove it and place the ham on your roasting rack, fat side up. The pan should be shallow and free of any water on the bottom. In other words, It should be completely dry.

How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham scoring
You'll want to score the ham before baking. Scoring not only looks beautiful but allows any fat to render from the ham and lets the glaze seep in. Score the ham's fat in diamonds, going only a 1/4" deep with a knife. I use a strip of heavy paper, 12 x 2 inches (this one was made from a pizza box), as a guide to cut perfectly parallel lines.

How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham thermometer
I insert my favorite meat thermometer (I would not even know how to guess doneness without it) deep into the ham. Bake the ham in a 300 degree F oven until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F. 

How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham glazing
At 130 degrees F, remove the ham from the oven and glaze it with my Brown Sugar-Dijon-Pineapple Glaze (recipe below). This is where you can add the pineapple and cherry decor if you choose. Put the ham back into the oven until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 150 degrees. 

How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham Cooked
And there she is in all her beauty!! Remove from the oven and let the ham rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.

How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham slice
Remove the ham from the roasting rack and place it on a sturdy cutting board. A towel underneath the cutting board will help the board not slide across the counter. You will need a very sharp knife. I prefer a 9" carver for this type of job and a carving fork. First, trim a couple of slices from the ham parallel to its length. This will allow the ham to rest flatly on it's side while carving the rest of the meat.

How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham carving 2
Now that your ham is resting on the flat side you created, use your carving fork to hold the ham firmly in place. Start at the shank end and cut slices downward until you hit the bone. You can make the slices as thick or thin as you like.

How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham carving
To release the slices you already cut, use your knife and cut parallel along the bone. Continue this around the ham until you have the amount of slices you prefer. Clean up the bone later and use it for soup!

Print Recipe

How to Make and Carve the Juiciest Bone-In, Whole Holiday Ham

Recipe from: Created by Noble Pig | Serves: Feeds 20-25 people

Ingredients

  • 1 (18-20 lb) bone-in, whole ham

For the Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons crushed pineapple, drained

For the Garnish:

  • pineapple chunks or rings and marachino cherries, optional

Directions

  • For the glaze, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until ready to use. You could wait to do this until the ham has been cooking a few hours.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Remove any coverings or wrappings from the ham itself. Place the ham on your roasting rack, fat side up. The pan should be shallow and free of any water on the bottom. In other words, It should be completely dry.
  • You'll want to score the ham before baking. Scoring not only looks beautiful but allows any fat to render from the ham and lets the glaze seep in. Score the ham's fat in diamonds, going only a 1/4" deep with a knife. I use a strip of heavy paper, 12 x 2 inches, as a guide to cut perfectly parallel lines.
  • Insert meat thermometer deep into the ham and bake until internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F. Remove ham from the oven and brush with glaze, making sure to get into the all of the crevices made by scoring. Add pineapple chunks and cherries at this time if desired, securing with toothpicks. Place ham back into the oven until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Remove from oven and let ham rest 15-20 minutes before carving.
  • Remove the ham from the roasting rack and place it on a sturdy cutting board. A towel underneath the cutting board will help it not to slide across the counter. You will need a very sharp knife. I prefer a 9" carver for this type of job and a carving fork. First, trim a couple of slices from the ham parallel to its length. This will allow the ham to rest flatly on it's side while carving the rest of the meat.
  • Now that your ham is resting on the flat side you created, use your carving fork to hold the ham firmly in place. Start at the shank end and cut slices downward until you hit the bone. You can make the slices as thick or thin as you like.
  • To release the slices you already cut, use your knife and cut parallel along the bone. Continue this around the ham until you have the amount of slices you prefer.
How to Make The Juciest Bone In Whole Ham super slice
A beautiful platter full of amazing meat. Carlton Farms Bone-In Ham at it's best.

Here are some recipes on how to use up the ham leftovers:

Warm & Cheesy Leftover Ham Salad with Shoestring Potato Crunch
Leftover Ham and Havarti Sliders on Parmesan-Butter Topped Pretzel Buns
Leftover Holiday Ham Strata ~ Reuben Style
Triple Threat Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Skillet Bowtie Bacon-Cabbage-Ham-Mushroom-Leek Pasta

Three Years Ago: Happy Elf Cocktail
Four Years Ago: Cranberry Pork Stew

Post a Comment

13 Comments and 7 Replies

  1. I can hardly stand the hams from the supermarkets. Most of them are so darn salty. This year I bought my ham from an Amish community store, Yoder Meats, who won first place at the Kansas State Fair for their smoked hams. I’ve already used one of their ham hocks for soup and it was fabulous. Next trip to Ks. I’m taking an ice chest and loading up. Anyway, thanks for this post. I appreciate the cooking temperature tip. That will help. And yes, that dijon,brown sugar,pineapple thing will be my glaze.

  2. Winnie 2

    Looks so delish! I always use a bone in ham as I keep all my meat on a bone for flavor and prevent drying out. (Heck, I use the bone for pea soup!) Thanks for showing how you carve, as is looks easier your way and I can have hubby follow your great directions next time I make one. Very similar glazes, but I do use cloves. Will try it your way next time.
    Happy holidays!

  3. Dave 3

    Man, that looks good! Since I’m in charge of the Christmas ham this year, I will sure give this a try. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Glenn 4

    God I crave ham, and you’re not helping! Love the glaze, I’ve always used pineapple and brown sugar, never thought about adding Dijon. That’s a nice touch. Gotta go ham huntin’!

  5. Old School! We always used to have it with the pineapple and cherries!!!

  6. This looks amazing, Cathy! I am making ham for Christmas day and had pineapple and cherries on my list already. I can’t wait to taste it!

  7. I love it! This reminds me of my childhood, except for the ham is way, way, way better. My Mom preferred canned ham, which is just so wrong on so many levels. Thanks for sharing with us.

  8. Carolyn 8

    I left a comment last week that I have not seen posted. What ham would you recommend buying on the east coast.?The ham you suggested sounds wonderful but is a bit pricey with the shipping cost factored in. However, for a special occasion I might just order one of the delicious sounding hams from your area. I have bought a Smithfield apple smoked butt to try your method. I hope it works. Love your recipes!!

  9. Regan 10

    I love Ham. We use concentrated apple juice, brown sugar, and Coleman’s powdered mustard. We also put a clove in each of the scored diamonds. Thanks for sharing this. I never thought to use a template to score the ham. My ham will look way better this year.

  10. HI I think the ham will be great for the holidays

  11. Cheryl 13

    Should the ham be covered?

  12. Rob 16

    I have never made a whole ham before, but I decided to make this yesterday for Christmas dinner. The family was blown away by the presentation and the flavor and moistness of the meat. Thank you for the excellent instruction!

  13. I could not afford one of the pricier hams, so I just bought a whole cooks ham,. I was surprised to read you recommended not to cover the ham,
    I thought not covering it would dry it out more. By the way my last name truly was Pollak, and first name is Cathy, what a coincidence. So do I cover the ham or not? Any suggestions?

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