How to cook a spiral cut ham (with glaze)

Photos for this recipe are from Erin Hungsberg (IG: erin_hungsberg)

I tested 2 ways to cook a spiral cut ham and have you covered for any occasion. I cooked one in the oven and one on the smoker to walk you through each method so you can decide which is best for you! 

Starting with a raw or fresh ham can be messy and intimidating, especially when there are a lot of easier and tasty options out there.The spiral hams are usually pre-smoked and they can be done in half the time as a raw ham. They even come with a brown sugar glaze you can use or you can make your own which I will also show you.

Where can you buy spiral cut hams? 

Spiral cut hams can be purchased at most grocery stores like Publix, Walmart, Kroger, Costco and Sam’s Club. Often times they are on sale during the holidays and you can get them for really cheap. I like the Smithfield brand as well as the Kirkland brand, but honestly they are all pretty good. 

How much do hams usually weigh? 

Most hams weigh about 8-12 pounds. The weight depends on if it’s a bone-in ham, a whole ham, or half ham. Most of the spiral cut hams are bone in and are a half portion. You can easily feed 10-15 people with a half spiral cut ham. 

Should you season pre cooked hams? 

Technically you don’t have to season a pre-cooked ham. They are already pretty flavorful and are great straight out of the package. However, I do like to season mine lightly with a bbq rub just to wake up the flavors a bit. I use my own BBQ dry rub but you can use any of your favorite store bought ones.

How long does it take to reheat a spiral cut ham?

According to most package instructions it takes 12-15 minutes per pound at 275°F. If you are glazing the ham, allow for an additional 10 minutes for the glaze to set at 425°F. The USDA recommends cooking a pre smoked ham to an internal temperature of 140°F. 

How do you bake a ham without drying it out? 

Spiral cut hams should be covered with aluminum foil to help retain moisture when re heating. You could also place a foil pan with water underneath the ham to create some steam inside the oven to keep everything moist.

Of course you want to make sure you have a good instant read thermometer so you can monitor the temperatures. Over cooking the ham past 140°F will likely result in a dry ham. 

What side goes down when cooking a spiral cut ham? 

The flat side of the ham goes down when cooking. This allows the ham to sit on a nice even surface and prevents it from drying out. As you glaze the ham from the top, having it level will ensure the glaze runs down the spirals evenly. 

When should I glaze a ham? 

The ham should be glazed towards the end of the cook. Whether you are baking the ham in the oven or doing a twice smoked ham on the smoker, the glaze should be added at the end. If you glaze your ham too early, the sugars could burn from the heat.

The package instructions for the oven baked method recommends turning the heat up high for the last 10 minutes to glaze and allow it to set. When I’m smoking a ham, I generally raise to  medium heat and glaze for the last 30 minutes. 

How to reheat a spiral cut ham in the oven. 

Remember that spiral cut ham is already cooked so essentially you are just reheating it. On the packaging there are instructions for reheating in the oven, along with how to make the glaze and apply it. Let’s walk through it together. 

First heat your oven to 275°F. Then remove all of the packaging materials and any plastic so you are just left with the ham. Place the ham in a shallow roasting pan flat side down. If you decide to add a little bbq seasoning to it, do so now by applying a thin layer on all sides. 

Cover the ham with aluminum foil and bake until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140°F. Use a meat thermometer and check after the first hour and then periodically after to ensure you do not overcook. 

To glaze the ham remove once it reaches 140°F and increase the temperature to 425°F. Prepare the glaze by following the instructions on the packet included.

Usually the glaze ingredients consistent of a powdered mix that has honey and brown sugar in it. In a small sauce pot add water and whisk in the powdered glaze mix. Bring to a simmer and you are ready to go. 

Brush or spoon over the glaze over the top of the ham and in-between the slices. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered and allow it to rest for an additional 10 minutes before serving.

How to reheat a spiral cut ham on a smoker. 

Most of the spiral cut hams you buy at the store have already been smoked. So if you decide to smoke them again, you are essentially making a double-smoked ham. The flavor you get from the double smoke method is really good and is a great way to add a little something extra to your holiday ham recipe. 

Start by removing the packaging from the ham and any plastic parts in or around the ham. I like to slather on some Dijon mustard which will act as a flavor enhancer and a binder to help any seasoning you add to the meat.

I used my homemade bbq rub but feel free to use any all purpose bbq rub of your choice. Then I set my smoker to 250°F degrees and smoke the ham until it reaches 130°F.

Once the ham hits 130°F I raise the temperature of my smoker to 350°F to add the glaze. 

Homemade glaze for spiral cut ham.

You can use the glaze packet that comes with the ham but it often lacks in flavor and doesn’t ever seem thick enough. My orange maple bourbon glaze recipe includes brown sugar, orange juice, maple syrup and a little bourbon.  

I use it in my pork belly pinwheels and my electric smoker ham recipe. It’s a go to of mine. 

I also add a little cinnamon and cayenne. It goes a long way to give the glaze an extra pop of flavor and all of the holiday feels. You can exclude the bourbon if you don’t want to use alcohol. 

Place all of the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Then reduce to low heat and cook, simmering until the glaze is reduced by half and has thickened. Once the glaze is off the heat and starts to cool down a bit it will thicken some more. You can also thicken the glaze by whisking in a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar. 

Add the glaze by brushing it onto the ham and try to get in-between some of the slices if you can. Having a foil pan underneath the ham also helps to keep things cleaner. Once the ham reaches 140°F remove the ham from the smoker and allow it to cool off for 10-15 minutes before serving. 

Slicing a spiral cut ham.

Turn the ham sideways and cut around the bone with a sharp knife to remove each slice. If you have some leftover glaze, you can also brush some onto each slice before serving. 

Sides that go well with ham. 

Smoked green bean casserole 

The best loaded baked beans 

Easy homemade pasta salad 

Creamy mashed potatoes 

What to do with leftover ham? 

My favorite thing to do with leftovers is make sliders with them. Here’s an awesome recipe I have for Ham and cheese sliders with cranberry sauce. Another option is fried ham and eggs. Nothing goes better! 

Final thoughts. 

Both ways to reheat ham are going to be great. If all you have is an oven, that will work great and you should be really happy with the results. Personally I like using the smoker method as the additional  smoke flavor really does make a difference for me.

I like using my own glaze as it produces a much better result. If you are using your oven at least consider the homemade glaze recipe instead of whatever is included with the ham. It will work wonders and you won’t be disappointed. 

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How to cook a spiral cut ham (With glaze)

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 spiral cut ham 
  • 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard (Optional binder) 
  • 2 tablespoons of an all purpose bbq rub or homemade 

Orange maple bourbon glaze 

  • 1/2 cup orange juice 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1/4 cup bourbon 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 

Instructions

Oven baked recipe 

  1. Preheat your oven to 275°F.
  2. Season with bbq rub if desired. Use Dijon mustard as a binder to help the rub stick (optional). Cover ham in foil and place on a baking tray. 
  3. Bake your ham until it gets to an internal temperature of 140°F.  In the mean time make the glaze shown in the next step. Then remove the ham from the oven and increase the temperature to 425°F.
  4. Make the glaze for the ham by combining all of the ingredients together in a small pot on medium heat. Once to a boil reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes until the glaze has thickened. The glaze will thicken more as it cools. (If needed to thicken further whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of powdered sugar until your desired consistency). 
  5. Remove foil from the ham and brush the glaze onto it.  Make sure you get a nice even coating on the top and sides. Place ham back into the oven at 425°F for 10 minutes. 
  6. Remove the ham from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with additional glaze if desired. 

Smoked recipe 

  1. Preheat your smoker between to 250°F. 
  2. Apply Dijon mustard binder to ham and cover with bbq rub. 
  3. Smoke your ham until it gets to an internal temperature of 130°F. 
  4. Make the glaze for the ham by combining all of the ingredients together in a small pot on medium heat. Once to a boil reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes until the glaze has thickened. The glaze will thicken more as it cools. (If needed to thicken further whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of powdered sugar until your desired consistency). 
  5. Once the ham is at 130°F internally start to brush the glaze onto the ham. Make sure you get a nice even coating on the top and sides. 
  6. Remove the ham from the smoker when it reaches 140°F and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with additional glaze if desired. 
  • Author: Jordan Hanger

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