3 Tips for the Perfect Easter Ham
Ham and Easter go together like peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, and bacon and eggs. It's the perfect match. Being that Easter is such a celebratory occasion, however, there's a lot of pressure to make sure the ham is perfectly cooked. After all, ham is typically the centerpiece of Easter dinner — both literally and figuratively. It's important that the ham turns out moist, tender, and of course, tasty.
As a family-run business for over 50 years, Lakewood Meats & Sausage understands and appreciates the importance of holiday traditions. And as Lodi's best butcher shop, we also understand (perhaps even more so!) the importance of high-quality, delicious food. In honor of the upcoming Easter holiday, we're sharing our top three tips for cooking a perfect Easter ham.
1. Skip the store
A perfectly prepared Easter ham starts with getting high-quality meat. Skip the boneless store-bought version and instead, order your bone-in Easter ham from Lodi's best butcher shop. And remember, don't toss the bone out when you're done! Ham bones are excellent for adding a rich, smoky flavor to soups and other recipes.
2. Cook it low and slow
Much like other prime cut meats such as pork and even some gourmet sausages, ham should be cooked “low and slow,” meaning temperatures of 300 degrees or less. You don't want your ham to dry out and if you bring it up to temperature too quickly, that's exactly what will happen. Aim for an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees, measured with a meat thermometer inserted near the bone.
Another tip for keeping your ham moist is to use a small amount of cooking liquid. Add one-half to one cup of stock, broth, water, or even wine to the cooking pan, then cover it with foil to seal the juices in.
If you're using a glaze (and you should — we highly recommend this version with a bit of a kick from Half-Baked Harvest), turn the oven up to 450 degrees when the ham has about 30 minutes of cooking time left. Apply the glaze all over the ham and replace the aluminum foil. This short stretch of cooking time at a higher temperature allows the glaze to caramelize, forming a nice crust on the outside of the ham.
3. Let it rest
Similar to steak, ham should rest when it comes out of the oven and before it's cut and served. The internal juices distribute once the ham is pulled out of the oven and allowing it to sit for 20-30 minutes helps ensure it will be perfectly juicy.
So, there you have it — three tried-and-true tips for cooking the perfect Easter ham! Stop by Lodi's best butcher shop Monday through Saturday to pick yours up, call us to order, or order meat online for store pickup. We also have homemade sides and from-scratch pies in the shop. We're honored to be a part of your family's traditions and can't wait to see you soon. Happy Easter!