When you're entertaining guests during the holiday season, one of the best ways to feed everyone is by cooking a ham. It's festive, filling, and fits right in with all your other potluck dishes. A slow cooker boneless ham is a breeze to prepare.
Crock-Pot Boneless Ham
First, you'll need to choose a ham to suit the number of people you plan on hosting. A single ham can serve a large group, so you typically won't need to buy more than one. Expect to start the cooking process early, on the day you want to serve.
When you pick up a ham from the store, pay attention to whether it's already cooked. Many store-bought hams come pre-cooked, in which case the crock-pot is really a vehicle to heat it up and flavor it with additional ingredients.
In other cases, you'll need to cook the plain ham in the slow cooker completely — so it's crucial to monitor the internal temperature throughout the process. There are different ways of preparing ham, from dry curing to smoking, and the cooking process will be different for each one. Pay attention to the packaging, and follow directions regarding to reheating.
With a pre-cooked ham, start by making a glaze. Typical holiday glazes include brown sugar, honey, mustard or pineapple, depending on your preference.
Once you've made the glaze, pour it slowly over the ham, until the outside has been covered. Then, cover the crock-pot, and cook on low for several hours, or until the internal temperature has reached 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
During this time, the meat will reheat for serving, and the glaze will seep into the ham to flavor it, making it perfectly ready for your gathering. It should be heated all the way through, so you can just slice and serve. If you bought your ham fresh, rather than pre-cooked, you're better off cooking it in the oven to ensure you've properly cooked the entire ham.
It's also totally possible to make slow cooker ham recipes without brown sugar, if that's what you prefer. You can flavor it with anything from water with spices to broth to apple cider and vinegar. This is ideal if you're looking for a more savory or spicy flavor profile.
Read more: 5 Healthy Red Meat Recipes That Satisfy
Eating Boneless Ham
It's worth noting that for your long-term heart health, it's best to limit your consumption of processed meats, which includes cured ham and bacon. These meats are treated with preservatives to extend their shelf life, and they also contain high levels of sodium. Harvard Health recommends eating no more than 2 servings, per week, of processed meat. Uncured ham is considered fresh, so it doesn't fall into this category. However, the American Heart Association suggests limiting your intake of red meat in favor of poultry, fish and beans when possible.
For special occasions, though, sometimes there's nothing better than a slow cooker ham with a homemade glaze. It takes a while to cook, but you can essentially "set it and forget it" so you won't have to do too much active work in the kitchen. As long as you've checked the internal temperature, you can be sure your boneless ham in the crockpot is fully ready to serve.