Are you looking for a hassle-free way to cook a delicious ham joint for your next family gathering or holiday feast?
Look no further than your trusty slow cooker!
With the right ingredients and a little bit of patience, you can create a succulent and flavorful ham joint that will have your guests coming back for seconds.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of cooking a ham joint in a slow cooker, including tips and tricks for getting the perfect texture and flavor.
So sit back, relax, and let’s get cooking!
Can You Cook A Ham Joint In Slow Cooker?
Yes, you absolutely can cook a ham joint in a slow cooker! In fact, it’s one of the easiest and most foolproof ways to prepare this classic dish.
The beauty of using a slow cooker is that you can set it and forget it, allowing the ham to cook low and slow for several hours while you go about your day. This method ensures that the ham stays moist and tender, without the risk of overcooking or drying out.
Why Use A Slow Cooker For Cooking Ham Joint?
There are several reasons why using a slow cooker for cooking a ham joint is a great idea. Firstly, the slow cooking process allows for the flavors of the ham to fully develop, resulting in a more flavorful and succulent end product. Additionally, using a slow cooker means that you don’t have to worry about constantly monitoring the ham while it cooks, as the slow cooker does all the work for you.
Another benefit of using a slow cooker is that it’s an incredibly versatile cooking method. You can add different spices, herbs, and liquids to the slow cooker to create a wide variety of flavor profiles. For example, you could use dry cider, cloves, peppercorns, and onions to create a sweet and savory glaze for your ham joint.
Finally, using a slow cooker is a great way to save time and energy in the kitchen. You can prepare your ham joint in the morning and let it cook all day while you go about your business. This means that you don’t have to spend hours slaving over a hot stove, and you can enjoy a delicious meal without all the fuss.
Choosing The Right Ham Joint For Slow Cooking
When it comes to choosing the right ham joint for slow cooking, there are a few factors to consider. First and foremost, you want to make sure that the ham will fit inside your slow cooker with the lid completely closed. This is important because if the lid doesn’t fit properly, the heat will escape and the ham won’t cook evenly.
It’s also important to consider the size and shape of the ham. Picking a ham based purely on weight can lead you to an odd shaped cut that won’t fit your crock pot. A good rule of thumb is to choose a ham that is no larger than 8 pounds for a 6-7 quart slow cooker. If your ham is smaller, you can adjust the cooking time accordingly to prevent overcooking.
Another factor to consider is whether you want a bone-in or boneless ham. While both will work in a slow cooker, a bone-in ham is more likely to stay juicy and flavorful. Plus, once the ham is cooked, it falls right off of the bone. If you choose a boneless ham, be sure to monitor the cooking time closely to prevent it from drying out.
When it comes to flavor, you have several options for braising liquid. While water will do the job, using apple juice, cider, ginger ale or cola will add more depth and complexity to the dish. Aromatics like onion, carrot, bay leaves, and peppercorns can also be added to further enhance the flavor of the ham.
Ultimately, the choice of ham joint comes down to personal preference and availability. Whether you choose a whole or spiral-sliced ham, bone-in or boneless, smoked or unsmoked, as long as it fits in your slow cooker and is fully cooked (if using spiral-sliced), you can’t go wrong.
Preparing The Ham Joint For Slow Cooking
Before you begin cooking the ham joint in the slow cooker, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure it turns out perfectly. First, place the ham joint in the slow cooker, fat side up. Then, position the carrots and onions around the side of it.
Next, it’s time to add some flavor. Rub your preferred spices into the top of the gammon, whether that be mixed spice, cinnamon or cloves. You can also add bay leaves and peppercorns for extra aroma. Pour your chosen liquids into the slow cooker, being careful to avoid pouring them over the top of the ham. Apple juice, cider or broth are all great options.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours. The internal temperature should read at least 145 degrees F before serving. Once cooked, carefully remove the ham from the slow cooker and set it aside to cool.
Now it’s time to prepare the ham for roasting. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and set a rack over a roasting pan. Scrunch up some foil to make sure the ham sits level on the rack (if needed). Carefully remove the rind from the gammon joint, leaving a small layer of fat intact. Lightly score the fat in a diamond pattern, taking care not to cut too deeply.
Mix together your chosen glaze ingredients and warm briefly in the microwave or a saucepan. Brush the ham liberally with the glaze and roast in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, basting with the glaze every 10 minutes, until golden brown.
Cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Transfer to a large platter and carve. Serve hot or cold and enjoy!
Adding Flavor To Your Slow-cooked Ham Joint
While a simple ham joint cooked in water can be delicious, adding some extra flavors can really take it to the next level. Here are some ideas for adding flavor to your slow-cooked ham joint:
1. Aromatics: Adding onion, carrot, bay leaves, and peppercorns to your cooking liquid can enhance the flavor of your ham. These ingredients are commonly used in traditional ham recipes and add a subtle depth of flavor.
2. Braising liquid: Instead of using plain water, consider using apple juice, cider, ginger ale, or cola to add more flavor to your ham. The sweetness of the apple juice or cola can balance out the saltiness of the ham, while the ginger ale adds a unique twist.
3. Glaze: A glaze made from honey, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard can add a sweet and tangy flavor to your ham. Simply mix the ingredients together and brush it over the ham before finishing it in the oven.
4. Spices: Adding cloves or mixed spice to your cooking liquid can give your ham a festive and flavorful taste. However, be careful not to overdo it as these spices can be quite strong.
5. Soda or juice: Using soda or juice like ginger ale, coke, fanta, pineapple juice, or apple juice in place of water can remove some of the saltiness from the ham and leave it more tender and easy to eat.
Remember that when cooking with a slow cooker, flavors tend to intensify over time. So start with a little bit of seasoning and adjust as needed towards the end of the cooking process. With these tips, you can create a delicious and flavorful slow-cooked ham joint that will impress any dinner guest!
Cooking Times And Temperature For A Perfect Ham Joint
When it comes to cooking a ham joint in a slow cooker, it’s important to get the temperature and cooking time just right to achieve the best texture and flavor. The ideal temperature for a properly cooked ham joint is 155°F (68°C) when measured at the center. It’s important to note that when you turn off the slow cooker, the ham will continue to cook with its internal heat, which means that the meat will be able to reach up to 160°F (71°C) in temperature.
Slow cooking in a slow cooker is the best way to cook a ham joint. This method ensures that the meat is cooked all the way through and stays moist and tender. To determine the cooking time, weigh the ham joint to calculate cooking time. Generally, roast ham joint cooking time is 20 minutes per 450g, plus an added 20 minutes.
To start, put the ham joint in the slow cooker and add any flavorings you wish, such as cinnamon, bay, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and onion. Cover with water or stock and set the slow cooker to low heat. Cook for half of the calculated cooking time, periodically checking on it and skimming off any excess fat or foam that rises to the surface.
After half of the cooking time has elapsed, flip the ham joint over and continue cooking for the remaining time. When done, remove from the slow cooker and let it rest for a few minutes before carving.
Using a meat thermometer is also recommended to ensure that the ham joint is cooked through. Make sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. If the meat is boiled before being placed in the slow cooker, aim for a temperature reading of 140°F (60°C). If it’s uncooked prior to being placed in the slow cooker, aim for a temperature reading of at least 160°F (71°C).
Tips For Serving And Storing Your Slow-cooked Ham Joint
Once your slow-cooked ham joint is done, it’s important to properly store and serve it to ensure maximum freshness and flavor. Here are some tips for doing just that:
1. Refrigerate leftovers promptly: After serving your ham joint, be sure to refrigerate any leftovers as soon as possible. Do not allow the ham to sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
2. Store leftovers properly: Leftover ham should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, foil, an airtight bag or airtight container before being stored in a refrigerator at 40°F or less. This will help keep the ham fresh and prevent it from drying out.
3. Use leftovers within a few days: Cooked ham will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days. If you don’t plan on using the leftovers within that time frame, consider freezing them instead.
4. Reheat leftovers carefully: To reheat leftover ham, place it in a 300 degrees F oven just until thoroughly warmed. Be careful not to overheat the ham, as this can cause it to dry out.
5. Get creative with leftovers: Leftover ham can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, casseroles or salads for quick and filling meals. Don’t let any of your delicious slow-cooked ham go to waste!
By following these tips, you can ensure that your slow-cooked ham joint stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible. So go ahead and give this easy and tasty cooking method a try – your taste buds (and your busy schedule) will thank you!