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Tips For Cooking Ham

Although spiral cut hams are an attractive holiday treat, an uncut, bone-in ham provides better value for multiple meals. The key item point is that the pre-cut hams will shed most of their juices during their time in the oven.

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A thriftier approach for ham is to buy a shank end or butt end ham; these typically weigh 8-10 lbs and cost $.30/lb to $.50/lb less than spiral cut hams. Score the sides with a paring knife to provide a place to stick dried cloves; place the ham in an oven bag and then into a roasting pan; heat at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes/lb of weight.

Let the ham rest a half hour after it is removed from the oven. A sharp carving knife will slice the ham as thin as you might want. It is so juicy it will literally melt in your mouth. The juices and fat will accumulate in the oven bag; if you pour this mixture into a container and place it in your refrigerator overnight, the fat will rise to the surface and coagulate while the juices will gel beneath it. Either or both can be used in other applications or discarded.

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Most important, the leftover ham will not have the consistency of shoe leather and can be used later for sandwiches, ham and beans, etc., or wrapped well and frozen.

By Tracy Leonard from Kansas City, MO

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