12 Ways You Can Ruin Your Christmas Ham

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6. Transferring straight from fridge to oven

You must bring the ham to room temperature before putting it in the oven because it will cook evenly, Alexander noted. Otherwise you’ll end up with ham looking great on the surface, because that part warmed up quickly, and undercooked meat on the inside. “This is a good step for any roasted meat.” When it comes to food safety, use common sense and basic food safety measures, like washing hands and using just one cutting board.

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7. Hurrying the cooking process

You don’t want to take less time than suggested in the recipe you’re using. Cooking at a low temperature and slowly is the only way to make sure the ham won’t turn out dry, according to Alexander. “The city ham is par-cooked. Using a heat as low as 250 degrees F and bringing it to a final temp of 140 degrees will assure it is not dry,” he said.

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8. Forgetting to score the skin

It’s common for people to forget to score the skin, Alexander noted. Scoring is the cutting a crisscross pattern into the skin and fat so it can pour off when melted. “It is important so that it not only allows the flavor of whatever you are adding to penetrate more into the meat, it also renders out fat.”

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9. Scoring improperly

The right way to score the skin is to cut 1/4 of an inch into the meat, according to Alexander. Using the classic diamond pattern is ideal, he added. “After you reach the temp [I’d] would remove the skin as it is rubbery, unless you want to take the time to raise the temp to 400 degrees and make the skin crispy.” This makes the ham very good but it’s not traditional, he noted.

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10. Placing the thermometer at the wrong place

The best place to put the meat thermometer to accurately measure the temperature is near the bone because the meat is thickest there, Alexander noted. “I like 250-275 degrees F [oven temperature] until the internal temp is 140 degrees F.” Don’t wait for it to go much higher, especially if the ham is already pre-cooked. “The meat bone should wobble and come out of the ham,” Alexander said.