While it may seem difficult to ensure that large pieces of meat cook evenly, it's very important to ensure that your holiday ham does exactly that. Unfortunately, when even cooking is not achieved, the outside of the ham can easily become dry and even burnt by the time the center has gotten up to a safe temperature. This is why it's vital to take the right steps to ensure that the meat cooks at a steady pace throughout. Fortunately, there is an easy tip to guarantee that this will happen. All you have to do is bring the meat up to room temperature before placing it in the oven.
To do this, simply remove the ham from the refrigerator at least an hour before you plan to put it in the oven. Letting it rest on the counter for one to two hours will be sufficient time to allow the cold ham to come up to room temperature and thus cook evenly. Any longer than two hours can compromise food safety, so just make sure to pop it in the oven by the time the second hour is up. Another option is to place the ham in hot water, which will help bring the temperature up faster. If you do it this way you'll want to let it sit in hot water for 45 minutes, drain, refill with more hot water, and let it sit for another 45 minutes.
Cover For Even Cooking
In addition to bringing the ham up to room temperature before baking it, be sure to cover the entire thing with aluminum foil. This is another way to ensure that it cooks evenly by trapping the heat inside. It will also prevent the outside from drying out, which can happen when meat is exposed to direct heat.
While it is okay to just wrap the meat itself, it's a better idea to tent the entire roasting pan when cooking ham. That's because juices will run off the ham as it cooks, and the foil tent will allow the humidity from those juices to circulate and keep it moist. You'll want to leave the foil on until it's time to glaze the ham -- about a half-hour before it's done.
Alternatively, oven bags are another great way to cook a juicy ham. The bag will trap the heat as well as the moisture and result in even cooking. As with the foil, you'll want to remove the bag when it's time to add the glaze.
Get Creative With The Glaze
Even cooking is super important to ensure that your ham's glaze comes out perfectly as well. The last thing you want is for that tasty, sweet glaze to burn before the middle is done. After all, the glaze is the perfect opportunity to get creative and set your holiday ham apart from the rest. So while a sugar or honey glaze is good enough on its own, why not add some other fun flavors to turn it up a notch?
One combination that can't be beaten is sweet and spicy. Try adding sriracha and garlic to your usual sweet glaze for an extra kick. Likewise, spicy mustard can seriously turn the heat up on a honey glaze. If you don't like your ham spicy there are plenty of other ways to get creative. Add herbs like thyme, sage, or rosemary. Cinnamon or ground cloves are another tasty option. Just be sure to prepare it properly by getting it up to room temperature before cooking and you'll have a deliciously perfect holiday ham whichever way you choose to glaze it.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.