This recipe is part of our Christmas Guide which is full of useful tips and resources to make hosting dinner on Christmas Day a success.
A honey glazed ham was always the centerpiece at our table on Christmas Day. Tender, juicy meat with a sweet honey basting makes it a delicious dish for the holidays. This ham looks impressive on the table – the perfect meat to share with the family. The addition of maple syrup and Whiskey in this glaze adds extra flavor that’ll have your guests cornering you for the recipe after dinner.
The best part about cooking a massive ham is that it rarely gets eaten on the day. Instead, it continues to keep giving for days after: lunches and dinners are covered.
How to bake honey glazed ham
The secret to a sweet, moist ham that isn’t dry is to use fruit juice. Using pineapple juice at the bottom of the baking pan will help keep the meat tender. In addition to the added liquid, using vegetables as a base for the meat is advisable. It will help keep the ham off the bottom of the pan. Essential for evenly cooked meat. An oven rack can be used in place of the vegetables under the ham as a back-up option.
Preparation: 20min, Cook: 2 ½ hours
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- ½ cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup whiskey
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 onion, chopped coarsely
- 1 orange, sliced into wedges
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
- 1 smoked leg of ham (9 lb)
- To make the glaze, add all the ingredients to a saucepan and heat on medium-high until simmering. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors steep.
- Pour the liquid through a strainer into a bowl. The solids can be tossed out.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Arrange the onion, orange, carrots, and celery on the bottom of a roasting tray. These vegetables will keep the ham off the bottom of the pan when cooking. Pour in enough pineapple juice to cover the base of the pan.
- Place the ham onto the vegetables. If your meat contains a glaze kit, discard it. Using a pastry brush, spread the glaze over the ham then cover it with foil. Be sure not to use it all as you’ll need to baste several more times.
- Bake for two hours or until a meat thermometer reads 115F. Remove the foil and brush on another coating of glaze. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Apply more glaze 2-3 more times over this half-hour.
- Remove the ham from the oven once it has a caramelized coating. Allow it to rest so that the juices redistribute through the meat.
- Serve the ham on a platter, cut in thick or thin slices (depending on your preferences). Ham is suitable for eating warm or cold.
Recipe tips for baking ham
1. Choose the right cut
Use bone-in ham as it helps with keeping in the moisture and maintains its shape through the entire bake.
2. Remove the rind
Remove the fine layer of rind before baking by carefully peeling it off. The easiest way is to use a sharp knife and lightly slice through the skin around the shank end. Then slide your fingers under the rind and remove it, ensuring that the fat isn’t removed.
3. Score for better presentation
After you glaze the ham, score with a sharp knife in diagonal lines. Then poke cloves into the slits at even intervals. See the image at the top of the page for an example.
4. Keep the stock
At the end of cooking, pour the stock into a container and store it for future use. It is full of flavor and ideal for soups and casseroles.
5. Baste regularly
Baste as regularly as possible. Every 10-15 minutes will produce the best results.
6. Add a dry rub
In addition to a glaze, consider using a dry rub to add more flavor. During the festive season, spices like cloves, cinnamon, or star anise are all suitable options.
7. Accurately check the temperature
To check the temperature of your ham, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Avoid touching the bone as this will provide a false reading.
How much ham should I buy?
Ham is a favorite meal for many, so buying an extra-large cut will never be wasted. You’ll want to allow approximately ¾ pound of bone-in ham for each guest. To give you an idea of how that works in practice, a 10-pound ham (bone-in) will provide servings for 12-14 people.
How to store a honey glazed ham
An easy storage option is to wet a tea towel so that it’s damp all over. Then wrap the ham and place it in at the back of the refrigerator (ideally set to 40 degrees (F). This position experiences less temperature fluctuation. Best food safety practice is to change the tea towel every day, or at least every other day.