From the Archives: How to Pick and Cook a Holiday Ham

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Ham season is upon us, which means that we should all be brushing up on our cured pork knowledge. Don't know the difference between a city and a country ham? Don't know how to cook them even if you do know the difference? Don't know how to serve them once they're done cooking? Don't worry, we got you covered with answers to all those questions and more in our Guide to How to Pick and Cook a Holiday Ham.

And once you've got all the basics covered, it's time to pick a recipe. You could go with a traditional roast city ham with any number of glazes and flavorings, like this Balsamic-Glazed Ham, this Sour Cherry-Glazed Ham, this Mustard and Brown Sugar-Rubbed Ham, or this Maple-Glazed Ham. As a New Englander, I've got to side with the last option this round.

Or if a saltier, meatier country ham is in your sights, pair it with cola in this Cherry Coke-Glazed Country Ham. Itching to fire up the grill? Coke will come to your rescue again with this Coke and Pineapple-Glazed Grilled Ham. And if a sous-vide machine happens to be lurking in your kitchen, then there's no better way to cook a good ham than at a low, steady temperature.

If there's one thing I know about hams, it's this: there are ALWAYS leftovers. This is not a bad thing, especially not when you've got Monte Cristo Sandwiches, Ham and Cheddar Biscuits, or Ham and Grits with Red Eye Gravy to make for brunch the next day, or Ham and Split Pea Soup and Deviled Ham Sandwiches for lunch.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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