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How Long Should A Bone-In Ham Take To Cook?

bone-in ham
bone-in ham - Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

Whether you're cooking a holiday feast for your family and friends or just trying to mix things up on a Tuesday, it's very important to know exactly how to cook your ham. Hams come in all shapes and sizes, meaning there's not quite a catch-all approach as with, say, cooking cheeseburgers or chicken legs. Beyond just a visual perspective and flavor difference, bone-in ham also differs from its spiral boneless ham sibling in cooking time as well.

Generally, bone-in ham takes slightly longer to cook than boneless ham. If you're cooking a bone-in ham, plan to cook it for around 22 to 25 minutes per pound on medium heat. That estimate is for hams that weigh between five to seven pounds. For slightly bigger hams that weigh more than 10 pounds, your cooking time is slightly shorter — about 20 minutes per pound. Comparatively, for a boneless ham, the cooking time can range from 15 to more than 20 minutes per pound depending on the weight of the ham.

So what does that mean for your holiday dinner? Well, typically a six pound bone-in ham can take over two hours to fully cook. It's best probably to break out a calculator before popping your ham into the oven. However, you shouldn't fret too much.

Read more: 11 Things You Didn't Know You Should Be Doing With Bacon

Is Bone-In Ham Already Cooked?

sliced ham on cutting board
sliced ham on cutting board - Candice Bell/Shutterstock

When it comes to cooking ham, you most likely don't have to worry about your ham being undercooked. Many bone-in hams are cured and pre-cooked prior to being sold. So, essentially, you are reheating the meat for consumption. However, according to the USDA, you should bring your cooked ham to an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is to kill any potentially harmful microbes the meat may have been exposed to during packaging.

Not all hams are cooked before being sold. If your ham is uncooked then it will likely say something such as "cook thoroughly" on the package or something similar. If your ham is uncooked then you should cook it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, if your ham was packaged outside of a meat manufacturer, then it should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Uncooked ham will require a longer cooking time than pre-cooked ham so plan accordingly if you go that route. For bone-in ham, you should look to cook smaller hams at 35 to 40 minutes per pound and larger hams at 22 to 26 minutes per pound. While this doesn't seem like a big difference, it does add up over time.

Tips For Cooking Bone-In Ham

cooked bone-in ham
cooked bone-in ham - Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock

The USDA recommends cooking ham at a temperature of at least 325 degrees Fahrenheit, but you may not want to consider going higher for fear of overcooking the meat. When it comes to choosing a boneless or bone-in ham, you may want to pick a bone-in ham for this same reason. While boneless hams may be more convenient to cook, the bone in a ham helps prevent the meat from drying out. It will lead to a juicier final product with more flavor.

However, there are a few other things that you want to keep in mind as well. For one, consider covering your ham in a layer of aluminum foil. This will provide a protective layer that will prevent the direct heat of the stove from ruining the outer layer of your ham. The last thing you want is a ham that looks like a football. Likewise, consider braising your ham in a broth or juice while it cooks for added moisture. This will result in a moist, flavorful piece of meat. Finally, be sure to not overcook your ham by making sure you cook it for an appropriate amount of time for its weight. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.