Baked and glazed ham is a luscious main course worthy of a spot as the centerpiece for the most elegant of dinners. But, a home baked ham is also delicious and economical for a week long family indulgence when refrigerated and sliced for leftovers and sandwiches.
Glazes for baked ham can vary from just a drizzle of honey to a complex and showy culinary masterpiece. Even the simplest, however, should enhance the already succulent meat by adding a glistening golden brown color as well as a sweetly flavorful and perfectly crisped rind.
A bit of preparation before baking your ham will help to achieve a perfect glazed finish.
Your ham may be bone-in or boneless, smoked or fresh. Determine cooking times appropriately as fresh ham usually requires baking at a lower temperature for a longer time.
Use an oven safe baking dish or deep baking pan, lined with foil if you prefer for easier cleanup.
Arrange the ham in the baking dish or pan, rind side up. This rind encases a layer of fat that you want to “work” with your glaze so you need to expose it slightly. Do this by scoring lightly with a knife in a crisscross pattern. Take care not to separate the rind and fat from the meat beneath.
When your ham has baked for about three quarters of the allotted time, you should find an accumulation of juices in the bottom of the pan and the ham should be browning nicely. Remove the pan to the stove top or counter, taking care not to slosh out the hot liquid. When you glaze your ham the glaze runs down to blend with the juices in the pan. You may want to spoon the blended juices and glaze over your ham a few times during the rest of baking, so if the liquid appears too much, ladle out a portion now.
Depending on the glaze you have chosen, rub on or spoon the glaze all over the top of your ham. Return to the oven to continue baking, basting your ham a few more times with the juices/glaze. *For a drier crust, disregard the option to baste, or just add more glaze without incorporating the meat juices.
A few glaze options:
Honey and Brown Sugar Glaze
As stated before you can pour honey over your ham for a sweetened crust. Another option might be to combine one half cup honey with one half cup brown sugar (or brown Splenda for a lower sugar glaze) and a tablespoon of dry or prepared mustard.
To add more sweetness and visual appeal, use toothpicks to secure pineapple slices with a maraschino cherry in the middle, in a single layer over the surface of your ham before glazing. The glazed pineapple and cherry reaches a slightly browned and almost candied state and will be delicious served as a topping or side for a thick ham slice.
Raisin Brown Sugar Glaze
In a sauce pan over low heat dissolve one half cup brown sugar in one tablespoon butter. Add one half to one cup raisins and simmer until the raisins are slightly plumped.
Apply this glaze to your almost baked ham. If you have removed a portion of the juices in the pan, the raisin mixture will form a thick sauce that you can ladle over ham slices to serve.
Vidalia Onion Glaze
Layer sliced Vidalia onion (or other sweet onion in a pinch) over your ham before glazing with the Honey and Brown sugar Glaze above. The onions will caramelize and compliment the sweetness of your glaze and make a wonderful topping or side for a ham slice.
Clove Studded Glaze
Using individual whole cloves stud each crisscross that you have scored in your ham. Glaze with your favorite sweet glaze mixture.
Use any of the suggestions above as a guide for preparing your own unique ham glaze. *These ideas also work great with roasted turkey or other poultry.