A boneless ham is a ham in which the bones and much of the fat have been removed. The meat is then molded into a ham shape. A boneless ham isn't as flavorful as a bone-in ham, and the texture may be slightly different because of processing techniques. However, a boneless ham is convenient, and easy to carve and serve your family at dinnertime.
Uncooked Boneless Ham
Uncooked boneless hams are cured in a brine consisting of water, sugar, salt and other preservatives and flavorings. The hams are often smoked or treated with smoke flavoring. Allow 30 to 40 minutes per pound for cooking a whole, uncooked boneless ham. Place the ham in a baking pan with about 1 cup of water, then attach the lid or cover the pan securely with aluminum foil. Check the temperature before removing the ham from the oven. The ham is done when a meat thermometer registers at least 148 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part of the ham. Don't cook the ham too long, as overcooking causes the meat to become dry.
Precooked Boneless Ham
Similar to uncooked hams, precooked hams are cured and may or may not be smoked. Precooked hams are appropriate for eating cold, or can be warmed in a 325-degree Fahrenheit oven. To heat a precooked boneless ham, place the ham in a shallow baking pan. Add a small amount of water to prevent the ham from becoming dry and sticking to the pan. Cover the pan securely with a lid or with aluminum foil and heat until the ham is heated through and the internal temperature registers at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow about 12 minutes per pound.
Fresh Boneless Ham
An unsmoked, uncured ham must be packaged with the words "fresh" on the label. The package will also indicate that the ham is not ready to eat and must be cooked thoroughly. Cooking a fresh boneless ham takes about 10 to 15 minutes per pound. Temperature is especially important for an uncured ham, which must register at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that no bacteria is present.
Allow a cooked, boneless ham to rest for five to 10 minutes before serving. Serving a boneless ham is especially easy, as there are no bones to cut around. Place the ham on a serving platter, then use a sharp knife to cut the ham into slices about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Many packaged hams come with a glaze that is heated and poured over the ham according to the directions on the package. Serve the ham with your family's favorite side dishes, such as rice or roasted potatoes, and a generous green salad with a creamy Caesar dressing.
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M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.