5 Steps to the Perfect Holiday Ham
A Pinoy Christmas is not complete without ham! We have a few tips if you're making it at home.
A holiday spread almost always includes ham—whether you serve the sweet, baked, or smoked kind. Ham always makes a buffet table more festive and there aren't as many dishes which evoke as much emotion or a wave of nostalgia whenever you see it served on the table. Making your own ham at home? We have tips on how to make the star of your Christmas spread:
1 PICK THE IDEAL MEAT
For juicy, flavorful ham, go for a 2.5-kilo bone-in ham instead of the boneless kind. Pick one that’s already cured, smoked, and pre-boiled to cut down on cooking time. Choose one that’s skinless (so the fat browns beautifully when baked) and with a layer of fat (to ensure moist, tasty meat).
2 SCORE FOR A BEAUTIFUL FINISH
Scoring the ham not only makes for a majestic presentation, it also allows the flavors of the glaze to seep into the meat. To score, slice the fat on top of the ham in a crosshatch or diamond pattern, going 1/2 inch deep, using a sharp paring knife.
3 PREP AND BAKE
Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare a shallow roasting pan fitted with a sturdy metal rack. Place scored ham on top of the rack and pour 2 cups water into the pan. Divide glaze (choose from any of the three at right) between 2 bowls; reserve 1 bowl for serving. Brush ham with glaze, then cover loosely with foil. Bake for 1 hour.
Remove foil and continue baking for 40 more minutes, brushing twice with glaze. Bake until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part (not touching bone) registers 135°F. Transfer ham to a chopping board and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with extra glaze and pan juices.
4 BRUSH ON AN AMAZING GLAZE
We suggest this Pineapple-Caramel Rum Glaze: Place 1 cup sugar in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Let sugar melt and caramelize until amber in color. Lower heat to medium and add 1 (240-ml) can unsweetened pineapple juice. (The mixture will bubble and sugar will seize.) Let mixture boil until sugar melts, about 15 minutes. Add ¼ cup rum and continue to boil. Once syrupy, add 2 teaspoons molasses and ½ teaspoon salt. Let cool.
5 PAIR IT WITH A SUPER SIDE DISH
Sure, the ham’s the star but it’ll never reach its full potential without a sidekick! How about a cheesy cauliflower side dish?
Photography by Patrick Matires; styling by Paulynn Chang
Tips were part of the "The Complete Guide to Noche Buena" feature published in the December 2014 issue of Yummy magazine