How to Cook a Half of Ham

There are several reasons for learning how to cook a half of ham. Many years ago when families were larger whole hams were readily available.  Large families like mine would never have considered roasting only a half. A whole ham was great for a special meal, maybe leaving enough for seasoning a pot of beans. Now I find halves of hams are always available in the meat markets but not always so with whole hams. This is partly due to smaller families but also the increase in price per pound makes it impossible for some to buy the whole ham.

How to Cook a Half of HamHow to Cook a Half of Ham

After I learned how to cook a half of ham, I discovered  another reason why I like cooking the halves. Regardless how hams are cured, I find all hams to be at least a little salty. I like to rid the meat of this extra salt by soaking in water and marinades. The large cut end enables the liquid to soak up in the ham.  When I am reading to cook the half of ham, I place the cut side down.on a rack allowing the extra liquid to drain out, also pulling out extra salt.

As you learn how to cook a half of ham you will see this absorption through the cut also helps to flavor the ham. Many juices like apple or orange act as a seasoning and also cuts down the salty taste. Great marinades can be made by adding ingredients like brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves and others. All these flavors are absorbed through this large  cut of the ham half producing a very delicious presentation when baked.

If you learn how to cook a half of ham you may want to try one of the old fashioned cured hams. I mentioned "salty", these old fashioned ones are really salty. The flavor is wonderful but care must be given to the preparation of cooking before finishing to eliminate much of the salt. Pre-boiling rids the meat of the salt and also eliminates a lot of the extra fat.


Pineapple Spiced HamPineapple Spiced Ham

Since I learned how to cook a half of ham this pineapple spiced ham has been one of my favorites.

  • 1 Fully cooked ham half (5-6 pounds)
  • 1 Can sliced pineapple (8 Ounces)
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Small jar maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

Place ham half in shallow roasting pan; bake for 30 minutes.

Drain the pineapple reserving 2 TABLESPOONS of the juice.

Combine sugar, cloves, mustard and vinegar in small bowl.

Stir in the reserved 2 tablespoons of juice; score ham 1/4 inch deep.

Arrange pineapple slices and cherries over the ham securing with toothpicks.

Spoon the sugar mixture over the ham (Over top of fruit).

Return to oven and bake until internal temperature reaches 140F degrees.

NOTE: Should take about 45 minutes longer.

Serves 6-8.


Sweet Brandy Glazed Baked Ham HalfSweet Brandy Glazed Baked Ham Half

Learn how to cook a half of ham with a delicious flavor of brandy and cloves.

  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 Cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 2-3 Tablespoons brandy (Fruit flavored brandy (apple or apricot) is also good)
  • 1 Half ham (5 to 7 pounds- fully cooked)
  • Whole cloves (I like a lot)

Preheat oven to325F degrees.

FOR GLAZE combine sugar, corn syrup and mustard in small sauce; stir in brandy.

NOTE: Glaze should be spreadable with a brush but not too thin.

Heat and stir over low heat just to blend well; set aside.

Trim excess fat from ham; place ham cut side down on rack in shallow roasting pan.

Score ham with knife in diamond shapes; insert whole cloves in ham.

NOTE: When I have a spiral cut ham, I insert the cloves in those cuts all over ham half. I also press in whole cloves in the end where there are no slice cuts (The more, the better).

Brush the ham with glaze; bake until internal temperature reaches 140F degreess.

This should take about 1  1/2 to 2 hours; brush ham with glaze every 15 minutes.


Spoon remaining glaze over ham; bake until interrnal temperature reaches 160F degrees and glaze is baked in.


Baked Ham with Orange SauceBaked Ham with Orange Sauce

Learn how to cook a half of ham to serve with orange sauce.

  • 1 Fully cooked ham half (About 5 pounds)
  • Whole cloves

Orange Sauce

  • 1 Can (15 Ounces) Mandarin oranges (Drain)
  • 1 1/2 Cups orange juice
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Trim excess fat from ham; insert whole cloves all over ham.

Place ham in shallow roasting pan; bake until internal temperature reaches 140F degrees.

TO MAKE SAUCE combine  orange juice, sugar, cornstarch and ginger in saucepan.

Mix ingredients well; cook and stir over medium high heat until thickened.

Stir in the drained Mandarin oranges; set aside and keep warm until ready to serve.

TO SERVE slice ham and serve topped with orange sauce


Learn how to cook a half of ham with honey butter glaze.

  • 1 Half of ham (About 5-7 pounds)
  • 1 Whole firm apple (Not peeled)
  • 3-6 Whole cloves
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Stick cinnamon

Honey Butter Glaze

  • 1/2 Cup honey
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 Teaspoon grated nutmeg

FOR HAM HALF place in a large stainless steel or enamel pot; cover with boiling water.

Press the cloves into the apple; add apple, bay leaf and cinnamon stick to the pot.

Bring mixture to a simmer; cover and simmer until meat is tender when touched with fork.

NOTE: Should take about 3 hours.

Remove pot from heat and remove lid; cool to room temperature.

Cover pot again and refrigerate in liquid overnight.

NOTE: If pot is too large for your refrigerator, you can use a cooler with ice.Temperature should be kept below 45 degrees.


MAKE HONEY BUTTER GLAZE by mixing honey, water and butter in saucepan over medium heat until hot.

Remove the layer of fat which formed on top of the broth.

NOTE: This fat is great for seasoning dried beans, green beans and even when baking biscuits.

Trim off excess fat from all over the ham half; place ham on a broiler rack with cut site down.

Score ham half and brush with Honey Butter Glaze; sprinkle nutmeg over the top.

Bake until hot about 30 to 60 minutes brushing ham every 15 minutes with glaze.

Serve immediately.


Learn how to cook a half of ham with delicious maple flavor.

  • 1 Ham half (About 5-6 pounds boneless precooked smoked)
  • 1  1/2 Cups maple syrup
  • 1  1/4 Cup flour
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Teaspoon maple extract

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Place ham with fat side up on a rack in shallow roasting pan.

NOTE: DO NOT cover or add water; bake for 45 minutes.

Pour pan juices into a saucepan; skim off the fat and set aside.

Pour the maple syrup over the ham; return to oven.

Bake ham another 45 to 60 minutes until internal temperature is 140F degrees.

NOTE: If  baking a NON COOKED ham internal temperature should reach 160F degrees. (2 1/4 to 2  1/2 hours)

Remove ham from pan and set aside while making the sauce.

Blend the flour into the   reserved pan juices (In saucepan) until smooth.

Stir in the 1 cup of water, mustard and Worcestershire; mix until blended.

Stir in the pan drippings from ham pan with the maple syrup; add maple extract.

Over medium high heat bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl; keep warm.

Slice ham onto a  serving platter and serve with the bowl of sauce.


Learn how to cook a half of ham with oyster grits stuffing.

  • 1 Half of country style ham (5-6 pounds bone removed)
  • 4 Cups of the grits stuffing
  • 2 Cups apple cider

Grits Stuffing

  • 3 Cups water
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 Cup butter
  • 1 Cup regular grits (NOT cooked)
  • 1 Pound oysters (Drained)
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Red bell pepper (Diced)
  • 6 Green onions (Chopped)
  • 3 Beaten eggs
  • 1 Cup fine dry breadcrumbs

Cover ham with water and soak at least 24 hours.

Rinse ham with fresh water, drain and pat dry.

MAKE STUFFING by combining water, salt, red pepper and butter in large saucepan.

Bring mixture to a boil; stir in grits and return to a boil stirring occasionally.

REDUCE HEAT, cover and simmer 10 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and COOL.

Stir in oysters (OR you can use the chopped ham from the center which you will be removing).

Combine the Parmesan, red bell pepper, green onions, eggs and breadcrumbs; stir into grits.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 325F degrees.

With a sharp knife cut out the center of the ham leaving 1 1/2 inch border.

NOTE: You can use ham to replace oysters or use in other recipes or for sandwiches.

Spoon 4 CUPS of the grits stuffing into the ham cavity.

NOTE: Bake REMAINING GRITS in greased baking dish.

Tie ham with kitchen string and wrap in cheesecloth; place small end down in baking pan.

Add the apple cider to the pan; bake 1 hour basting frequently with pan drippings.

Place dish of remaining grits stuffing in oven; bake ham and grits for 30 minutes.

NOTE: After baking PRECOOKED ham it should register 140F degrees on meat thermometer; UNCOOKED ham should register 160-170F degrees.

Set dish of stuffing aside and keep warm.

Remove cheesecloth from the ham; return ham to roasting pan.

Baste ham with the pan drippings; place under broiler to brown (Watch carefully).

Serves 12.


Learn how to cook a half of ham with bourbon glaze and topped with orange slices.

  • 1 Half ham (About 5-6 fully cooked smoked)
  • 3/4 Cup whole cloves
  • 3/4 Cup bourbon (Divided)
  • 2 Cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1-2 Sliced naval oranges

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Wrap ham half in aluminum foil; place in shallow baking pan.

Bake ham for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove ham from oven; INCREASE OVEN TEMPERATURE to 450F degrees.

Remove foil from ham; remove skin and excess fat from the ham.

Cut 1/4 inch deep diamond pattern o err the ham; insert cloves in diamonds.

Brush ham with about 1/2 CUP of the bourbon.

Stir remaining bourbon with sugar and mustard in a small bowl; pat evenly over ham.

Arrange orange slices over the ham and secure with toothpicks; lightly base with toothpicks.

Return to oven until internal temperature reaches 140F degrees (About 30 minutes).

Let stand 15 minutes before slicing; serves about 6-8.


Learn how to cook a half of ham using cherry pie filling.

  • 1 Fully cooked ham half (5-6 pounds)
  • 1 Can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
  • 1 Cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 Cup sherry
  • 1/4 Cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Place ham half in shallow roasting pan; bake about 40 minutes.


Remove ham from oven and pour drippings from the pan.

Remove excess fat; score ham in diamond pattern.

Remove cherries  from pie filling and set aside.

Combine remaining cherry pie filling sauce; marmalade sherry and orange juice.

Blend mixture and pour over the ham; continue baking ( baste with drippings) until done.

NOTE: Internal temperature should reach 140F degrees; about 30-40 minutes longer

Slice ham on platter and garnish with reserved cherries.


Learn how to cook a half of ham with brown sugar bourbon glaze.

  • 1 Ham half (6-7 pounds country style-the salty type)
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Cup bourbon
  • 1 Cup water

Soak the ham overnight in cold water.

Brush outside of ham half with stiff brush (not the cut side).

Rinse several times in fresh cold water; pat dry.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 200F degrees.

Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil; place ham on foil.

Combine and mix the sugar, bourbon and water in bowl.

Cover ham with the sugar mixture; pull up foil around ham and seal.

Place in oven and bake for 6-7 hours until done.


Learn how to cook a half of ham with apple jelly glaze.

  • 1 Fully cooked ham half (5 Pounds)


  • 1 Cup apple jelly
  • 1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juce
  • About 1/4 cup whole cloves 
  • Canned spiced apple rings for garnish 

Trim any excess fat on outside of ham; score diamond shapes 1/4 inch deep ever ham.

insert the whole cloves all over ham; place on rack in shallow baking pan and set aside.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 325F degrees.

FOR GLAZE combine jelly, nutmeg, mustard and lemon juice in a small saucepan.

Bring mixture to a boil while stirring constantly.

Brush glaze generously over the ham and place in oven.

Bake for 20 minutes per pound brushing every 20 minutes with the glaze.

Before the last 30 minutes arrange apple rings over ham securing with wooden picks.

Spread remaining glaze over ham and apple rings; bake until done.