Pre-cooked spiral ham is an easy-to-make and crowd-pleasing entree for your guests. However, since it's already cooked, it's prone to drying out easily in the oven when you heat it up. The key to preventing a shriveled spiral ham disaster is to wrap it in aluminum foil before sticking it in the oven. The aluminum foil blanket will help keep the moisture in the ham by holding onto the steam and preventing the natural juices from evaporating.
Most spiral hams you buy from the grocery store are pre-cooked -- though occasionally some can be partially cooked or raw so make sure to check the packaging. Pre-cooked spiral hams are also often pre-sliced for your convenience, eliminating the need for carving and making it super easy to feed a large group of people. But while it makes your life easier, reheating the ham appropriately is important to avoid a dry result. Nobody wants to eat ham jerky with their mashed potatoes, so keep in mind that the meat doesn't require much time in the oven. In fact, you can even eat it cold, although warming it up is usually preferred especially when it's served as an entree with other hot foods.
How To Wrap Your Ham In Foil
When cooking a perfect roast holiday ham in the oven, it should be wrapped in foil and placed cut-side down in a roasting pan. Some chefs advise home cooks to loosely wrap the meat with foil, without letting it fully touch the ham. However, other instructions for cooking spiral-cut ham call for wrapping the ham more tightly in foil to prevent the juices from escaping. Instead of just wrapping the ham, you can also enclose the entire pan in aluminum foil, creating a sort of tent to cover the entire dish.
Whether you wrap the ham lightly, tightly, or include the entire pan, the idea behind using foil is the same -- to seal in the steam and the juices to create a moister, better-tasting ham. The foil typically comes off toward the end of heating when it's time to apply the glaze and finish it off without the covering. In addition to wrapping it in aluminum foil for cooking, some cooks also advise tenting the ham in foil after removing it from the oven for 25 to 30 minutes before serving.
Other Ways To Seal In The Moisture
Covering your ham in foil is super easy and doesn't take much planning since most people already have aluminum foil. Another option some cooks suggest for a delicious, evenly cooked holiday ham is putting the ham in an oven bag instead of wrapping it in foil. Oven bags made by companies like Reynolds resemble large plastic bags but are made of heat-resistant nylon that is food-safe and FDA-compliant. They work similarly to foil in that they trap moisture, speed up heating time, and make for an easy cleanup. The downside of using an oven bag when cooking is that the skin of the meat doesn't get as crispy, but this might not be as much of an issue for ham as it is for cooking other large cuts of meat like turkey or chicken.
Other useful tips for preventing your pre-cooked spiral ham from drying out are to heat it at a low temperature for a longer amount of time and to add liquid to the bottom of the pan. Simply add some water to your roasting pan, lay a baking rack on top, place the ham on it, and wrap it in foil. The extra water will create steam that will help your ham retain moisture, resulting in more flavorful and delicious meat to serve your guests.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.