Slow cooking a fully cooked ham in a crockpot is a delicious and convenient way to prepare this classic holiday dish. Not only is it easy to do, but the result is a juicy, succulent ham with a crisp glaze that is sure to impress your guests. In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know about cooking a fully cooked ham in a crockpot, including the benefits, choosing the right size of ham, preparing your crockpot, seasoning options, adding liquid, setting the temperature, and checking the internal temperature of your ham.
The benefits of cooking a fully cooked ham in a crockpot
Slow cooking a fully cooked ham in a crockpot has several benefits, including convenience and flavor. The crockpot provides a moist cooking environment, allowing the ham to cook evenly and stay moist. Additionally, the slow cooking process infuses the ham with flavor, resulting in a succulent and delicious dish. Cooked in the crockpot, the ham will also have a crispy exterior with the perfect glaze.
Another benefit of cooking a fully cooked ham in a crockpot is that it frees up your oven for other dishes. During the holidays, when oven space is at a premium, using a crockpot to cook your ham can be a lifesaver. Plus, the crockpot is a set-it-and-forget-it appliance, allowing you to focus on other tasks while your ham cooks to perfection. Overall, cooking a fully cooked ham in a crockpot is a convenient and delicious way to serve up a crowd-pleasing dish.
What is a fully cooked ham?
A fully cooked ham is a pre-cooked ham that is ready to serve. This type of ham has been smoked or cured and is usually sold boneless or bone-in. Unlike a raw ham, a fully cooked ham does not need to be cooked for food safety reasons. However, slow cooking it in a crockpot is an effective way of enhancing its flavor and overall quality.
It is important to note that fully cooked hams come in different varieties, such as spiral-cut, honey-glazed, and black forest. Spiral-cut hams are pre-sliced, making them easy to serve and perfect for sandwiches. Honey-glazed hams have a sweet and savory flavor, while black forest hams have a smoky taste. When choosing a fully cooked ham, consider the occasion and your personal preferences to find the perfect one for your meal.
Choosing the right size of ham for your crockpot
The size of the ham you choose will depend on the size of your crockpot. A standard 6-8 quart crockpot can accommodate a ham weighing between 5-8 pounds. Ensure the ham fits comfortably in the crockpot without touching the sides. A larger ham may need to be cut into smaller pieces to fit it inside the crockpot.
It's important to note that the size of the ham will also affect the cooking time. A smaller ham will cook faster than a larger one, so be sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly. Additionally, consider the number of people you will be serving. A larger ham will provide more servings, but a smaller ham may be more appropriate for a smaller gathering or if you don't want leftovers. Keep these factors in mind when selecting the right size ham for your crockpot.
Preparing your crockpot for cooking a fully cooked ham
Before cooking your ham, ensure your crockpot is clean and dry. Line the bottom of the crockpot with foil to prevent the ham from sticking to it, making it easier to clean up later.
Seasoning options for your fully cooked ham in crockpot
There are many ways to season your fully cooked ham in the crockpot. Some popular options include brown sugar, honey, mustard, cloves, or pineapple. You can also use a pre-made glaze if you prefer. Apply the seasoning generously over the surface of the ham to achieve the best flavor.
Adding liquid to your crockpot for cooking a fully cooked ham
It's important to add liquid to your crockpot to prevent the ham from drying out during the cooking process. You can use water, apple juice, chicken or vegetable stock, or even cola - which creates a unique and delicious flavor. Add enough liquid to cover the bottom of the crockpot but not so much that it covers the ham completely.
What temperature should your crockpot be set to for cooking a fully cooked ham?
Set your crockpot to a low temperature, between 275-300°F. A fully cooked ham only needs to be heated through, so a slow and steady temperature is recommended for a juicy and tender result.
How long does it take to cook a fully cooked ham in a crockpot?
Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the ham and your crockpot, but a general guideline is 4-6 hours on low for a 5-8 pound ham. Check the packaging of your ham for specific instructions on cook time and temperature. It's important to check the internal temperature of the ham to ensure it is fully heated through.
Checking the internal temperature of your fully cooked ham in the crockpot
Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the ham. The ham should reach an internal temperature of 140°F. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, being careful not to touch the bone as this will give an inaccurate reading.
Resting and serving your fully cooked ham from the crockpot
Once the ham has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the crockpot and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and result in a more flavorful and tender meat. Serve the ham with the glaze and delicious sides.
Delicious side dishes to serve with your slow-cooked, fully cooked ham
There are many side dishes that pair well with a slow-cooked, fully cooked ham. Some popular options include roasted vegetables such as Brussels sprouts or carrots, mashed potatoes, or sweet potato casserole. Biscuits or dinner rolls and a fresh green salad also make great companions to this savory dish.
In conclusion, slow cooking a fully cooked ham in a crockpot is a great way to get a juicy, flavorful dish with minimal effort. Follow these tips and guidelines to achieve the best result possible and serve up a delicious meal to impress your guests.