While it may seem counterintuitive to cook something that has already been cooked, it is a necessary process.
If you have a fully cooked ham and don’t know what to do with it or how to cook it, the very best way to prepare and roast a fully cooked ham is in a pressure cooker.
Not only is it delicious, but the process is also quick, easy, and non-drying.
Reasons To Cook A Fully Cooked Ham
- The meat may be contaminated with germs, especially if it was repackaged at another location to the processing plant. To kill any pathogens, the ham should be heated to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cooking enables you to add a deliciously sweet and sticky marinade or sauce that will enhance the flavor and appearance of the finished dish. You can also use water and add aromatic spices and flavorful vegetables such as onions and carrots.
- Cooking the precooked ham heats it through and moistens it before serving.
- Many hams are pre-salted so the cooking process (if done in water) helps to remove excess salt.
Why Pressure Cook The Ham Instead Of Roasting It
You may be wondering, why not simply roast the ham? Roasting is a dry cooking method and can result in dried out, tough ham.
It is better to first pressure cook or boil the ham to remove excess salt, plus add flavor and moistness, then briefly finish it off under the grill or in a very hot oven.
This final step will crisp the fat, brown the glaze, and give a deliciously sticky end result.
What Appliance To Use?
Any pressure cooker would work for this kind of job providing it is big enough to fit the piece of ham inside. You may use either an older type stovetop appliance or the newer electronic pressure cookers such as an Instant Pot.
An 8-quart Instant Pot will fit an 8-pound ham. You may have to trim the ends of the ham a little to make it fit. Here are our instructions for how to cook a fully-cooked ham in a pressure cooker.
Steps To Preparing A Fully-cooked Ham In A Pressure Cooker
The steps below are meant for a four-pound ham, so if you are not using that, be sure to adjust your steps and time accordingly.
1. Wrap the ham in aluminum foil only if it is pre-sliced
The first step to reheating and preparing your ham in a pressure cooker is to wrap your pre-sliced ham in aluminum foil. When doing this, make sure your ham still fits into the pressure cooker.
This will help the ham to keep its shape while it is being cooked. If your ham is whole, there is no need to do this, particularly if you want to add a glaze and some aromatics.
Also, wrapping it will not allow any of the excess salt to be removed. From this step on, we’re going to assume you have a whole, unsliced ham.
2. Pour 1.5 cups of liquid into the pressure cooker
For the pressure to build up inside the pot and create heat, there must be enough liquid. Most cookers recommend a minimum of one cupful. If you have a sliced, foil-wrapped ham, simply add water.
If you have a whole unwrapped ham, you have many exciting options. Recipes abound, but you can use anything from cola to ginger beer or a glaze containing honey, ginger, and other spices.
You may like to use apple juice or cider and stud the ham with cloves. A precooked ham is already smoked and salted, so never add salt to the cooking liquid. If you use broth, be sure it is salt-free.
3. Place the rack/trivet in the bottom of the pressure cooker pot
It is better to keep the ham off the base of the cooker for even cooking all around. If you have lost your rack, fashion a spiral of aluminum foil and lay it on the bottom of the pot.
4. Set the wrapped ham on the top of the rack
This step is simple, just place your ham on the rack that you placed back into the pressure cooker. Cut it to fit if need be.
5. Lock the lid
Before attempting to start the pressure cooker, ensure that the lid is locked into place to prevent any leaks.
6. Choose ‘High Pressure’
On your pressure cooker panel, switch the option to high pressure to fully reheat your ham faster.
7. Set a timer for 7 minutes
This time will vary slightly depending on your pressure cooker and the size of your ham but for most hams, 7 minutes will be enough. If your ham is especially large, you may wish to do it for 12 minutes.
Do not cook it for longer than that though. Remember – the meat is already cooked. You are simply reheating it and forcing some flavor in at the same time.
8. Allow the pressure cooker to quick release
Once the valve goes down, you are good to go. Remove the lid and admire your luscious piece of ham. If you have wrapped it in foil, unwrap it carefully to prevent burning yourself.
9. Transfer to a preheated grill or hot oven to finish
Baste the ham with the glaze and grill for just a couple of minutes to brown and get the glaze sticky. Keep a close eye on it as it will burn quickly.