APO: Heating Spiral Ham

I’d like to try heating the holiday spiral ham in the APO this year. I’m still out of my comfort zone creating my own settings for recipes that aren’t in the app. I was thinking sous vide mode at 140 degrees, but wasn’t sure about steam percentage or how to estimate how much time for a 12 pounder.

Considering it’s just going to be the 4 of us in the house, I was also thinking instead of heating the entire ham, maybe I’d just cut off one section and basically heat a stack of slices.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Since no-one has responded to this, I (a complete noob, mind you!) will make a suggestion based on my exceptionally limited experience (had ours for 10 days), my look at what the other recipes do, and blind faith that if I steer you wrong, someone will jump all over me on it, in which case, I will have taken a virtual bullet for your Christmas ham (a completely reasonable bargain from my point of view).

All disclaimers apply about not relying on advice, not fit for any particular purpose, can’t sue me if your ham is ruined or someone gets sick, blah, blah, blah…

I would do a cook using the temperature probe rather than time. Here in Ottawa, a spiral ham is actually a proper leg, bone-in, that comes improperly cooked and must be heated to temperature to be safe. If it were me (and it would have been, except my son – part of my bubble, so it’s okay, okay? :slight_smile: – is bringing the ham), I would

  • Set the probe temperature to 145, steam to 50% and cook it for as long as it takes for the probe to reach temperature. I’m guessing 3-4 hours, but it could be longer. But you can hold food at a given temperature, so I’d start it at least four hours ahead, and…
  • If it reached 145 too early, I’d then hold it using the oven temp (not the probe temp) at 142, 50% steam until 45 minutes or so before dinner. You’re no longer cooking, you’re just holding, so you should be fine. At that point…
  • Stop the oven, open the door to de-steam the oven, and do a (new) regular back-burner bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 (0% steam) to brown the ham.
  • Glaze the ham and continue to bake for another 10 minutes or so
  • Pull it out and let it rest

Again, I am a complete noob, and this is just a series of educated guesses. I’ve chosen 145 (probe) degrees because, normally, the temperature at the bone is supposed to be a MINIMUM of 140, but a spiral ham is, by definition, vented to the bone, so a few extra degrees won’t kill you (but a few less might :slight_smile: ). The browning and glaze-setting times are a guess at best, but, at that point, you’re doing a regular bake, so, for the glaze, at least, the instructions on your ham for setting the glaze should be entirely accurate. It’s the browning I’m not sure about, but maybe your ham (or your experience) offers advice on that as well.

One last thing: We always end up with a crap-ton of leftover ham, and it freezes just fine after it’s cooked. I wouldn’t mess with carving it up pre-cook, because that just complicates things. Good Tupperware (wait – is that even a thing outside of Canada? Are YOU outside of Canada?), freezer bags, or a vacuum sealer will take care of freezing cooked leftover ham just fine.

Okay, I’ve set myself as the target. Let’s see if anyone flames me and saves your ham, or if anyone thinks I’m close.

I wonder if @chatnoir or @BestGFBaker (who have been kind enough to respond to my own queries in the past) might be able to chime in…

Good luck – have a safe and happy holiday season!

You’ve got a great sense of humour Joe. First Cholent, now Ham.

What is it that you’re really cooking this time?

It’s a popular holiday menu item too and will be great gently cooked in your oven.

Thanks Joe! I really appreciated the advice and especially the post. I would call this a mild success with room for improvement. We both underestimated the amount of time necessary to reach 140 degrees. I took the ham out of the fridge only an hour before hand, which did not result in a good start temperature. And, 4 hours was not nearly enough time. But, that’s all I had based on other items. I ended up really bumping up the heat to reach a proper center temperature. The result was a way-too-hot exterior. The ham itself was great, but lost too much liquid in the process. This was more apparent in the state of leftovers.

I am looking forward to trying another ham this way, but it definitely needs several more hours if the entire cook is going to be in an 145 degree oven

Yeah, I’m going through the live-and-learn process myself (watch for my response to @chatnoir about salmon). I’m a bit surprised you lost that much liquid: What steam setting did you use?

Also, I think you could easily bump up the temps for the initial cook if you’re using the probe. that would speed up the cooking, and probably reduce the liquid losses as well (that second part is, once again, a complete guess on my part :slight_smile: ).

We need to start a “Complete Noob” thread…


Hi @chatnoir – or may I call you Frank?

It’s funny you should mention salmon: We did a salmon on Christmas Eve following the instructions on the app. Two important learnings from that:

  1. The time-to-cooked of 30 minutes was WILDLY optimistic (we were 90 minutes in before the probe even began to nudge the target temps – and the target temps are VERY(!!) underdone (more in a minute).
  2. Sous-vide-style fish (or maybe it’s just fish done to this recipe) has the texture of warm sushi and makes my wife gag. Which could have had an adverse effect on the number of presents under the tree with my name on them. Happily, my wife is pretty forgiving. Plus, I made a lot of rice.

After the fillets had been in the oven set per the app recipe and finally hit 118.4, I poked it with my finger and could see it was still entirely fleshy and had not developed the structure I expect with salmon, so I turned off the steam and broiled it for 10 minutes. It developed an excellent crust that I quite enjoyed, and the flesh developed that nice, “rows-of-flavor” structure I like – not quite enough for my wife, but I enjoyed it.

When I next do salmon, I’ll use the salt-and-sugar dry dry brine from the app, but I’ll cook it at 275 (100% steam) for however long the probe takes to hit 135 (the recipe calls for 118.4 degrees, but every other recipe I’ve seen says salmon remains sushi until it hits 140-145).

Time out for an observation, here: On the one hand, maybe Scott Heimendinger meant for the salmon to be hot sushi; on the other, it might be a lucky thing I’ve not died from some exotic raw-salmon-eating affliction. Anyway…

Once the salmon hits 135, I’ll let the steam out of the oven and hit it with the broiler for ten minutes to develop a crust, same as I did this time, except that I’ll also look for the internal temps to get up over 140. I personally don’t care for the skin – crispy or otherwise – but a crispy bark on the top of the flesh was very tasty and welcome.

So, that was my latest (mis-)adventure. If my wife ever lets me do salmon in the oven again, I’ll let you know how that goes.