With your slow cooker, takeout is no longer your only option for dinner. The time-saving kitchen tool can have just about anything ready to go by the time you get home from work, even slow cooker smoked ham.
Cook your smoked bone-in ham over low heat for 5 to 6 hours in your slow cooker. Use your favorite honey glaze as your cooking liquid.
Selecting Your Smoked Ham
When perusing through the meat section of the grocery store, you may find many varieties of ham, including fresh, cured and smoked. Most smoked hams are first cured, according to the USDA, which means salt, nitrites, sugar or other preservatives have been added to the meat, by injection or through massage. After curing, the ham is smoked in a smokehouse to add more flavor and prolong its shelf life.
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Smoked ham may then be labeled as cooked or cook-before-eating, according to the USDA. It's not necessary to cook a precooked bone-in smoked ham, but you must cook the smoked ham labeled cook-before-eating. In either case, you can use your slow cooker to reheat a precooked ham or fully cook the smoked ham that requires cooking.
The USDA recommends that when reheating slow cooker smoked ham, you cook until your ham reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. For your cook-before-eating smoked ham, the ideal internal cooking temperature is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperature recommendations ensure any potential bacteria in the meat is killed so no one gets sick.
Slow Cooker Smoked Ham
When making your bone-in ham in crockpot, you need to take into consideration the size of your slow cooker before buying your ham. According to PennState Extension, your slow cooker shouldn't be more than two-thirds full, otherwise you risk undercooking the meat.
Slow cookers come in a number of sizes, ranging from 1 to 7 quarts. Review your slow cooker user guide to determine what size bone-in ham works best for your kitchen tool. Follow this easy recipe inspired by a LIVESTRONG.com article for cooking ham in your electric roaster. Use a 7-quart slow cooker for an 8-pound smoked, bone-in spiral ham.
- 8-pound smoked, bone-in spiral ham
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray and add your ham.
- In a small bowl, mix the honey, mustard and brown sugar, then pour over your ham.
- Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or until your ham has reached the desired temperature.
For a slow cooker boneless ham, make 1/4-inch cuts, creating a diamond shape, before adding the honey glaze and cook on the low setting. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your slow cooker to determine how long to cook.
Read more: How to Cook Rice in a Slow Cooker
Smoked Ham and Health
When it comes to your health, processed meats like ham have been getting a lot of attention. An October 2019 report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggested that there was no need for adults to reduce their intake of these meats as previously recommended. The authors of the report cited little evidence to support the recommended restrictions.
However, both Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the World Cancer Research Fund disagree. According to Harvard, there's a mountain of evidence that links the intake of processed and red meat to chronic diseases, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund says that you should significantly limit your intake of processed meats due to the associated health risks.
Compared to other types of meat, ham is low in calories and fat. However, due to the processing it undergoes, it's very high in sodium. Based on nutrient data from USDA, a 3-ounce serving of smoked ham contains 80 calories, 14 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 1 gram of carbohydrate and 890 milligrams of sodium.
The sodium content in your smoked ham meets 37 percent of the daily value. According to a March 2015 review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, too much sodium in your diet not only affects blood pressure, but also kidney function, fluid balance, hormone levels and heart function.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the amount of sodium in a 3-ounce serving of smoked ham.
- USDA: "Ham and Food Safety"
- PennState Extension: "The Benefits of Slow Cooker Meals"
- Annals of Internal Medicine: "Unprocessed Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption: Dietary Guideline Recommendations From the Nutritional Recommendations (NutriRECS) Consortium"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "New "Guidelines" Say to Continue Consumption Habits, But Recommendations Contradict Evidence"
- World Cancer Research Fund: "Limit Red and Processed Meat"
- USDA: "Smoked Ham"
- Journal of the American College of Cardiology: "Dietary Sodium and Health: More Than Just Blood Pressure"