When it comes to cooking a bone-in whole smoked ham, low and slow is the way to go.
In the Northwoods, more often than not, "April Showers" refers to "Snow Showers." Case in point, after a lovely weekend in the 60s and 70s, last night we got 5 inches of snow. Despite what the calendar says, it definitely looks a lot more like Christmas outside than Easter. Ah, the joys of living in Northern Wisconsin.
Regardless of the weather situation, Easter is just around the corner. Most of my Easter food memories center on jelly beans and besuited chocolate bunny rabbits (the ones from Agalmesis are my favorite). But you can't eat candy for dinner. (Well, at least you shouldn't, anyway.)
When it comes to Easter dinner, ham is the centerpiece on many tables. Up until now, I'd never cooked a whole ham. Turns out, though the cut of meat might be a little daunting at first, it's actually a snap to make. My ham was a whole smoked ham that came from a pig named Scratchy (yeah, I'm a terrible farmer who names the animals) that we raised on our farm back in 2015. The downside of having a whole ham is that it feeds a lot of people. Dustin's parents were in town recently, making it a perfect time to try to cook up my first ham and have plenty of people to share it with. (However, we still ended up with plenty of leftovers: I've got a few leftover ham recipes to share in the next few weeks, too.)
I went super-simple with my first oven-baked ham. I decided to focus on the ham's flavor and opted to forego a glaze. If you are feeling particularly fancy, you could stud the top of the ham with whole cloves before baking; but again, I wanted to go au naturel with this recipe. There are plenty of great glaze recipes available on the web; for my next ham I'm thinking a maple-bourbon glaze could be a delicious combination.
Slow-Baked Bone-in Whole Smoked Ham
makes 10-12 servings
10-pound bone-in smoked whole ham
1. Preheat the oven to 275°F.
2. Use a sharp knife to score the skin-and-fat side of the ham about 1/8-inch deep in a diamond pattern. (Slice diagonally across the ham in one direction, and then slice diagonally in the opposite direction to make the diamonds.)
3. Put the ham fat-side-up in a roasting pan. Cover it loosely with foil and bake for 4 to 6 hours. The internal temperature should read 145 degrees.
4. Remove the ham from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.