Whether you’re hosting a gaggle of relatives for the holiday or planning a special night for you and your sweetie: Go ahead and bake a ham. As the late Marion Cunningham put it, “Baked ham is an ideal main dish for beginning cooks and the best answer for the harried cook.” Leftover ham freezes beautifully (hi, hello sandwiches, sautéed greens, fried rice). And what’s more festive than a honking roast? Cooking a beautiful bone-in ham with a Dijon mustard or maple syrup is easier than you may think (promise!). So today, we’re answering your most frequently asked questions, like *What is a ham, anyway? What types of hams are there to choose from in the grocery store? How many minutes per pound? Do I always have to cook my ham in the oven? What about a slow-cooker or Instant Pot?
We generally think of baked ham as the centerpiece on an Easter or Christmas table. If you’ve never baked a ham before, start with our Super Simple Glazed Ham; a half ham is scored and covered in a combination of whole-grain mustard, honey, nutmeg, ground cloves, and brown sugar. And then something really cool happens. To keep the ham moist—and to give it even more flavor—use a spray bottle filled with bourbon (!!!) to mist the brown sugar-spice coating. It’s an innovative, mess-free technique that lends itself to so many other applications.