How Do I Cook a Butt Portion Ready-to-Cook Ham?

Most of the hams sold in grocery stores have already been cooked. These hams can be safely served at room temperature or reheated to warm them. A ham labeled "ready to cook" hasn't been cooked, although it may have been smoked. This fresh ham may not have the characteristic cured, smoky flavor of a pre-cooked ham, but may taste more like a pork roast. When cooked properly, it becomes juicy and tender with a crispy crust. Plan on 1/4 to 1/3 pound per serving for a boneless butt ham; 1/3 to 1/2 pound per serving for a bone-in ham.

Step 1

Unwrap the ham and salt it generously with approximately 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. Refrigerate the salted ham at 40 degrees Fahrenheit for up to three days. Fresh hams have not been dry-cured, brined or smoked. Salting them ahead of time allows the salt to permeate the meat, adding flavor and tenderness.

Step 2

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the ham in a shallow roasting pan and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Step 3

Bake the fresh ham for about 17 to 20 minutes per pound, or until a thermometer inserted in the ham reads 130 degrees.

Step 4

Combine fruit preserves, juice or chutney with mustard, vinegar or soy sauce for a sweet and tangy glaze. Remove the foil and brush the glaze on the ham. Continue baking until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove the ham from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 3 minutes before carving it.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt

  • Shallow roasting pan

  • Aluminum foil

  • Meat thermometer

  • Fruit preserves, juice or chutney

  • Mustard, vinegar or soy sauce


Cooking a pre-cooked ham, such as a spiral ham, is very similar to cooking a fresh ham. Place the ham in a roasting pan with water and cover it with foil. Bake the ham at 325 degrees for 12 minutes per pound. Pre-cooked hams are prone to becoming dry so be careful not to overcook.

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