How Long Do I Cook A Ham For, Per Pound?


10 Answers

Neal Widdows Profile
Neal Widdows answered
Ham is a very tasty meat, so when cooking it how do you ensure you get the best possible taste out of this succulent food?

The length of time it takes to cook a ham obviously depends on its size, as well as whether it is rolled and boneless, or has bones. It also depends on the thickness and quality of the meat, and the density of the bones.

How Long to Cook a Ham Per Pound?
As a general rule, ham is cooked for 20 minutes per pound; however different parts of ham are cooked for different periods of time. The size of the cut is also a factor that must be taken into consideration.

A whole smoked ham on the bone weighting between 10 - 14 pounds should be cooked for 18 - 20 minutes per pound. A half cut of ham with the bone usually weighs approximately half of a whole, and will take between 22 and 25 minutes per pound. However a shank, butt, shoulder or a shoulder roll of smoked ham will take between 30 and 40 minutes a pound.

Canned ham should be cooked at 325 degrees Fahrenheit according to weight. One to two pounds of the meat should be cooked for 23 - 25 minutes per pound, three pounds for 21 - 23 minutes and five pounds for 17 - 20 minutes.

Fresh ham takes a slightly different time again; a whole leg on the bone weighing between 12 - 16 pounds should be cooked for 22 to 26 minutes per pound. A boneless leg of the same size should be cooked for 10 - 14 minutes per pound, with a half leg of 5 to 8 pounds being cooked for between 35 - 50 minutes.

Fresh ham should be cooked at between 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. Though at its rarest, ham should be cooked for between 22 - 25 minutes on average at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remember when you take a ham out of the oven it will still cook, so taking it out at five degrees below the final temperature will still ensure it cooks for another few minutes. Overcooking should be avoided because it reduces flavour, dries out the ham, and reduces the amount of juice in the meat.
Bernie Zuccarelli Profile
I worked for many years in many different restaurants and commercial kitchens.  Early in my career I would ask how long something should cook for, and the answer would invariably be "until it is done."  I soon stopped asking the question.

Seriously, though, the real question here is "How do I know when a ham is done?" There are two main ways of telling when ham - or most any non-red meat such as pork or poultry - is done.  If you pierce it with a fork, and the juices run clear then the meat is done. 

I don't like to do that; if it is not close enough to being done when you pierce the meat, too much of the juice runs out and you are left with a dry piece of meat.  A better way is to use an accurate cooking thermometer. 

If you are making a prepared ham, you aren't really cooking it - it is fully cooked when it is packaged.  What you are doing is heating the meat so that whatever sauce and seasoning you have added can "cook in."  For this type of ham, I would bake it to an internal temperature of about 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are using a "fresh ham", then you are indeed actually cooking it.  There are many ways to prepare this type of ham.  You can rub it with some olive oil and whatever spices you like, then roast it with the vegetables right there in the pan with the ham. 

Roast it until your meat thermometer registers 150 degrees Fahrenheit.  Take the ham out of the oven, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rest for 15 minutes.  This lets the juices in the meat re-distribute and allows the heat still in the meat to finish the cooking process. 

Don't carve any meat straight out of the oven.  The juices will all run out.  The good news is you will have enough stock to make about a gallon of gravy.  The bad news is you will be putting a very dry roast on your table.

You can also cook a fresh ham like a corned beef.  The cut known as the "Pork Shoulder Picnic" is good for this.  It is an inexpensive yet flavorful cut that stands up well to this method of cooking.  It is a one-pot meal, and doesn't require a lot of constant attention while it cooks. 

Put the ham in a big pot with enough water to cover.  Add whatever spices you like, along with some aromatic vegetables such as onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.  Also add whatever herbs you like.  I recommend basil, bay leaf, whole mustard seed, pepper, and a little cayenne for a bit of extra fire. 

Bring all this to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about an hour and a half.  Of course, the time will vary based on the size of the ham, how big the pot is, and how much water is in the pot. 

When the ham is a uniform light brown color on the outside - that is, when the entire outside of the ham is no longer pink - add some fairly large pieces of cut-up potatoes.  With this method of cooking, it is okay to stick a fork into the meat to test how done it is - just don't do it too many times. 

When a large cooking fork goes all the way into the meat without much resistance, it's ready for the potatoes. Simmer until poking a small, sharp knife goes into the potato fairly easily.

Then add the vegetables that will cook fast: Leafy greens, cabbage, some fresh or frozen green beans, whatever you like and happen to have handy in your fridge or freezer.  Don't overcook these vegetables. Take them out of the pot and put them into a serving bowl as soon as you see the color of the vegetables brighten and they are still firm to the bite. A little crunch is good. 

Check the temperature with your meat thermometer.  Push it gently into the thickest part of the ham.  You are looking for an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Follow the resting instructions for the oven-roasted ham, and remember not to carve any meat right out of the oven or pot. Resting lets the juices in the meat settle back deep into the meat where they started, and allows the residual heat to finish cooking the ham. 

Put the vegetables in serving bowls, and keep the liquid.  It is not exactly perfect soup stock, but it is great for cooking beans or making split pea soup.  Just follow the package directions for whatever kind of beans or peas you are using, and use the ham stock for the cooking liquid. YUM!

I hope these tips and hints prove useful.

terry cooper Profile
terry cooper answered
I cook mine in a roasting pan with Dr. Pepper and pineapple. After I put the pineapple on, I will put whole cloves in the center of the pineapple, and then coat with a heavy layer of brown sugar. Then I'll roast for three to four hours.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
For a five pound ham that you would like to bake in the oven, cook the ham at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until internal temperature reads 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or cook for 10 to 12 minutes per pound.

Cook partially cooked ham at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until internal temperature reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or for 15 to 20 minutes per pound.

Account for variables such as glazing or basting, which can enhance and inject flavors into the meat. The sooner you use it in the cooking process, the deeper the marination. This method will work from a 5-15 pound ham.

If you're using a smoker, drastic drops in temperature in the smoker will give you mixed results. Try to fortify your smoker in stable temperature conditions. Your temperatures will be much lower and the duration of cooking time is increased in order not to dry out the outer layer before the  core is properly heated.

A five pound ham, purchased partially cooked with a basting glaze from the start of cooking, and re-applied every hour on the hour, will need to be cooked at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-6 hours. Observe every hour, and contemplate how to achieve your personal desired effect.
Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
There are a number of tasty recipes for cooking a whole ham. The basic thing to decide is whether to cook it on top of the stove or in the oven (if your oven is big enough.) I like using the stove top myself.

If you are boiling the ham, you can of course just cook it in water, it will still taste very nice (about 1 hour per kilo plus 15-20 minutes extra should do it). You will probably want to add some herbs and seasoning. Don't add salt though - there will be lots of that in the ham, and in fact unless you like it very salty, it's advisable to soak the meat in cold water overnight before cooking, or pour over boiling water and then replace with cold.

Or you can cook it in the same way, but use wine or cider instead of water (or half and half.) Nigella Lawson even has a lovely recipe for ham boiled in Coke in her book "Nigella Bites." Same principle really, but just use Coke. The main thing is to cook slowly - let it get really tender and add more liquid if it gets dry.
Shelagh Young Profile
Shelagh Young answered
Cooked ham bought from grocers is leg of pork that has been cured using a brine or dry salt cure. It is then usually boned and cooked. The best hams are simmered in stock.

Commercial production can include moulding different meat parts together, injecting with brine and other chemicals to preserve and plump the meat and then steam-cooking before slicing and packaging. Some hams are also smoked as part of the process.

Domestic cooks usually prefer part-boiling the ham before baking in the oven. The length of time of cooking depends on the weight of the meat, and whether or not the bone is left in or removed. Various recipes exist. Glazing the ham before baking with mustard and honey is common.

A variation favoured by Nigella Lawson is simmering the ham in cola drink before baking. Treacle glazes and brown sugar are also used to glaze and some prefer to stud the ham with cloves before boiling.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Ten minutes per pound - without a doubt!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Most of the answers I've seen on here are wrong.  Most hams sold these days are "ready to cook" and will need to be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
You can cook a ham for about 8 to 10 minutes per pound.
thanked the writer.
erika duan
erika duan commented
Most hams you can buy at the store are already cooked so all you have to do is bring it up to Temp. To 165 degrees. About 10 minutes per pound at 375 degrees.....wrong answer very doll
Jaya Mckoy
Jaya Mckoy commented
Kinda right but no
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I think it's half an hour per pound. I don't eat pork because there are worms in pork, and it is not organic. You put a piece of pork in a glass of 7up and let it sit room temperature, after a few days you will see worms crawling out of piece of pork.

I'm not trying to discourage you, but we need to know this. I don't care how much they wash it and cleanse it, to me its unsanitary meat to eat. More fish I say, and no more beef.

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