Ham is a classic dish that many of us enjoy, especially during the holidays. But when it comes to preparing it, there are often questions about whether or not to leave the netting on.
Some people swear by it, while others insist on removing it. So, what’s the right answer?
In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of cooking ham in netting and provide some helpful tips to ensure your ham turns out perfectly every time.
So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!
Do You Cook Ham In Netting?
The short answer is yes, you can cook ham in netting. In fact, leaving the netting on can help the ham retain its shape and make it easier to carve.
However, it’s important to note that not all ham comes with netting. If your ham is wrapped in plastic, you should remove it before cooking.
If your ham does come with netting, there are a few things you can do to ensure it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the netting. First, loosen the netting all around the ham before seasoning it. This will help prevent the netting from becoming too embedded in the meat.
Next, consider spraying the ham and netting with non-stick cooking spray before seasoning it. This will help prevent the seasoning from sticking to the netting and make it easier to remove after cooking.
When it comes to cooking the ham, you can either sear it with the netting on or remove it before cooking. If you choose to sear it with the netting on, be sure to use a high heat and sear all sides of the ham evenly.
If you prefer to remove the netting before cooking, you can tie the ham up with twine to help it retain its shape. Just be sure to tie it tightly enough so that it doesn’t fall apart during cooking.
What Is Ham Netting And Why Is It Used?
Ham netting is a type of mesh or netting material that is used to wrap around hams and other meats during the cooking process. It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, including polyester, elastic, plastic, and string. The purpose of ham netting is to help the ham hold its shape while cooking or smoking.
Meat netting shrinks as the meat cooks and cures, eliminating the need to tighten the twine. It is ideal for preserved meats such as ham, boneless hams, Canadian bacon, and dried sausage. Meat netting can also leave a rectangular or pineapple pattern on the product, giving it an old-world appearance.
Ham netting is easy to use and versatile. It can be screwed to a surface of choice using clamps included in the set. Ham netting can also be used for smoking poultry, deer ham and shoulder, roast, bacon, pork butts, cheese, gammon, loin, and neck.
If you’re cooking a cottage ham, which is a boneless shoulder butt cured in brine and wrapped in netting before being sold raw and wrapped in plastic, it’s important to leave the netting on during cooking. The purpose of the netting is to hold the cottage ham together while cooking.
Pros Of Cooking Ham In Netting
Cooking ham in netting has several benefits. First and foremost, the netting helps the ham retain its shape during cooking. This is especially important if you’re cooking a large ham, as it can be difficult to keep it from falling apart without the support of the netting.
Additionally, the netting can help prevent the ham from drying out during cooking. By holding the meat together, it helps to trap in moisture and keep the ham juicy and tender.
Finally, leaving the netting on can make it easier to carve the ham. The netting acts as a guide for your knife, helping you to make even slices without accidentally cutting too deep or unevenly.
Cons Of Cooking Ham In Netting
While cooking ham in netting can have its benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. One issue is that the netting can cause the ham to shrink and lose moisture during cooking. This can result in a drier, tougher ham that is less enjoyable to eat.
Additionally, if the netting is not removed before serving, it can be difficult to cut through and may not be very appetizing to look at. This can be especially problematic if you are serving the ham to guests or at a special occasion.
Another potential issue with cooking ham in netting is that it can be difficult to season the meat evenly. The netting can trap seasoning in certain areas, leading to uneven flavor throughout the ham.
Finally, some people may simply find the netting to be an unappealing texture or flavor. If you are someone who does not enjoy the taste or texture of netting, it may be best to remove it before cooking your ham.
How To Cook Ham With Netting On
If you decide to leave the netting on your ham, there are a few things you should keep in mind when cooking it. First, preheat your oven to 325°F.
Next, place the ham in a roasting pan and add about 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. This will help keep the ham moist while it cooks.
Cover the ham with foil and bake it for about 20 minutes per pound. So, if you have a 10-pound ham, you should bake it for about 3 hours and 20 minutes.
About halfway through the cooking process, remove the foil and baste the ham with its own juices. This will help keep it moist and flavorful.
When the ham is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving. This will help the juices redistribute throughout the meat and make it easier to carve.
To carve the ham, use a large sharp knife and slice across the grain. If you prefer, you can also use two forks to shred the ham.
How To Cook Ham With Netting Off
If you choose to remove the netting before cooking your ham, there are a few steps you should follow to ensure it cooks evenly and stays moist.
First, preheat your oven to 325°F. Then, remove the netting from the ham and discard it. Next, use a sharp knife to score the fat in a diamond pattern. This will help the glaze penetrate the ham and give it a beautiful presentation.
Once you’ve scored the fat, you can apply your glaze. There are many different glaze recipes to choose from, but a classic honey mustard glaze is always a crowd-pleaser. Simply mix together honey, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon and cloves.
Brush the glaze all over the ham, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Then, place the ham in a roasting pan and cover it with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F.
Once the ham is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and make it more tender.
When carving your ham, be sure to slice against the grain for maximum tenderness. You can also shred the meat with two forks if you prefer a more pulled pork-style texture.
Tips For Serving And Storing Ham
After cooking your ham, it’s important to store it properly to ensure its freshness and safety. Ham should be tightly wrapped to prevent it from drying out due to exposure to air. Ideally, the ham should be kept in its original packaging, but if that’s not possible, you can rewrap it in plastic wrap, foil, or place it in an airtight container.
When storing ham in the fridge, it will safely keep for up to a week. If you have excess ham, you can slice it up and store it in a vacuum-sealed container for easy access for sandwiches or snacks. Alternatively, you can cut off large chunks of leftover ham from the bone and store them in a vacuum-sealed bag or freeze them for later use.
If you freeze your ham, it can stay fresh for up to three months. To freeze the ham, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. You can also finely dice the ham and freeze it in 1/2 cup portions for use in various dishes like quiches, frittatas, omelettes, jaffles, and even soups.
Don’t discard the ham bone after carving. It can be used to make soup and can be frozen for later use.
When serving your cooked ham, you can choose to leave the netting on while carving. This will help the ham retain its shape and make it easier to carve. However, if you prefer to remove the netting before serving, make sure to tie the ham up with twine to help it retain its shape.
Finally, remember that reheating cooked ham is essential before serving. A partially cooked ham will need to cook 20 minutes per pound at about 350 degrees (175 celsius), while a fully cooked ham will take less time, about 10 minutes per pound, to heat through. Use a meat thermometer to gauge exactly when the ham is done and let it rest for 30 minutes tented under foil before slicing and serving.