Christmas ham is a delicious tradition countless families love digging into each year. But much like its holiday predecessor, the Thanksgiving turkey, there is the lingering danger of drying your dinner out while it cooks in the oven. Luckily, there’s a simple trick for locking in all the moisture and getting perfectly juicy and tender meat.
In fact, it’s even easier than the tip for icing down parts of your turkey before roasting it. If your first guess is to douse your ham in tons of cooking wine or stock, or baste it as it cooks, think again.
The experts at MyRecipe claim those methods will likely backfire and cause you to slice into dried out meat. This might sound like a strange comparison, but think about how your lips can still feel parched despite using a lot of chapstick. It’s a similar idea here with the ham.
Instead, all you need is half a cup of wine or stock poured at the bottom of your pan and then cover the ham with foil before popping it in the oven. According to the website, all of that liquid will get soaked up and “infuse moisture into the meat throughout the baking process.” If you want to glaze the ham, you can remove the foil before brushing that on and cooking for a bit longer (usually about 20 to 30 minutes depending on your recipe).
Another important tip for pulling a juicy Christmas ham out of the oven: Don’t go for boneless meat. Sure, it’s easier to carve up, but MyRecipes says ham with bones (or just partially de-boned) will retain more moisture. Plus, you can use the discarded bones for savory soups and stews — win-win!
Once your ham is done cooking, there’s one last thing to keep in mind — don’t carve it up immediately. Like most baked or roasted meats, allowing your Christmas ham to rest for about 15 to 20 minutes before slicing to ensure the best flavor and also make it easier to cut into. You can click here for some more helpful ham carving tips.