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How to prepare a cooked ham

Dec 21, 2022 / MIN READ

Ham is one of the most popular holiday dinner main courses and it's enjoyed by millions around the world in a variety of ways and traditions. According to the Washington Post, about 15% of the US population in 2019 ate ham on Christmas day, not to mention the other holidays that come around near the end of the year. Of course, ham is the perfect protein any time of the year, elevating the mealtime experience regardless of the occasion.

Whether you plan on using a family recipe or are taking a crack at preparing a cooked ham for the first time, the task can seem a little daunting. Luckily, Hatfield® is here to take some stress out of your life with our easy-to-use products. Let's learn a little more about how to make ham, the delicious way.

2 easy ways to prepare a fully cooked ham

There are many different ways to prepare a fully cooked ham that incorporates its delicious flavor, but it can be hard to know where to start. One of the best things about buying a ham that's already cooked is that you don't have to wait the hours it may take to bake a raw one. It also gives you the chance to put a little more thought into the end result. Here are some of the ways to spruce up cooking your own cured ham.

1. Reheating process

Sometimes precooked ham is called city ham, while most of the time country ham doesn't come already cooked. When you get a fully cooked ham, you may just want to reheat, slice and serve it as the main part of your dinner, letting the ham really be the star of the show. However, people may be concerned that the ham could lose its flavor in the reheating process, but there are some ways that you can maintain its taste and texture. 

Most experts advise that you not let the baked ham exceed an internal temperature 140°F, which might take up to two hours to heat all the way through, but it will ensure that the piece of meat retains moisture, which will help it not be dry. Do this by using a meat thermometer. You can reheat it using the oven, which you should set to 325°F and check it every 15 minutes. Another method is to use a slow cooker to very slowly heat it through. Keep in mind that this strategy can take up to eight hours.

You can also use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to reheat the ham, which is a much quicker method than using the slow cooker. Add seasonings and other flavors to the pot to incorporate a new spark to the product.

2. Add your own twist with glazed ham

While many of the Hatfield® products you can find in your local supermarket come with seasoning included, like the sweet brown sugar glaze quarter pre-sliced ham, you may want to add something of your own to the final dish. 

Consider adding your own glaze to the pre-cooked ham, which can bring your final dish to the next level and meet your own personal tastes and desires. Best of all, it's made easy with ham that's already fully cooked through. Anything from an apricot glaze to a citrus, honey or port wine glaze can add a little spark to the already delicious natural ham flavors.

Storing and reheating your leftovers

After the initial meal, there's a chance that you and your family will have leftovers, which some may say is one of the best reasons to have a ham dinner in the first place. But, what is the best way to store the meat so that it retains its juicy yumminess?

Here are a couple of tried and true ideas to keep your leftovers fresh until you're ready to use them again:

  • Slice the fresh ham and store it in plastic bags.
  • Wrap the whole ham in a ham bag.
  • Chop into pieces and store in containers for later use.
  • Freeze the ham in a vacuum-sealed bag for up to three months.

Be sure to check the use-by date to guarantee that you eat the food before it expires, for the best ham slice experience. In most cases, you can keep fresh pork for three to five days after storing it, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Another good tip that can help your ham stay fresh for as long as possible is to either put a damp tea towel or paper towel in the bag with the leftovers. This will help the baked ham from drying out and keep it tender as the day you first cooked it. Take note of where the coldest part of your fridge is, and place ham there for the best results.

When it comes time to reheat the leftovers, take the frozen pork out of the freezer the day before you plan to use it so that it can thaw slowly, which will be best. If you just decided to keep the ham in the cool fridge, consider sprucing the leftovers up with some transformative recipes. Let's take a look at a handful of delicious choices!

More recipes for your leftover ham

We have collected some of our favorite recipes that are perfect for leftover ham, giving it a new life that will have you excited about dinnertime.

Italian Hoagie Dip

This is a great appetizer option that uses cubed ham and a variety of other ingredients that come together to form the perfect dip to pair with your choice of chips.

Sweet Potato Ham Hash

Using leftover ham for breakfast is a simple and delicious way to add protein to your mornings. This hash incorporates potatoes and you can add anything else you want to make it perfect for your taste.

Ham, Brie and Apple Grilled Cheese

Thinly slice the leftover ham to create the perfect lunch that's well-balanced with the fresh sweetness of the apple and the richness of the brie cheese.

Cuban Sandwich

Another classic sandwich choice, you can't go wrong with using your ham leftovers for this Cuban sandwich lunch. Everyone loves the combination of cheese, pork, mustard and pickles all on ciabatta rolls.

The options are endless, and leftover ham is probably one of the most versatile things in your refrigerator. Feel free to be creative and think outside the box! The world is your oyster. If you need more inspiration, check out our ham recipe page which has many reliable choices to help you get started.

Choose quality pork that's simply delicious

Our greatest secret for the best-reheated ham is getting the highest quality pork available. Hatfield® products are tasty the first time and the second. Whatever your next recipe requires, we have the product that you need. We have easy-to-use meat that makes dinner time more simple than ever. One less thing on your mind, because you can rely on our pork products to be high quality every time.

Consider grabbing some Hatfield® pork at a location nearest to you today!