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Not Cooking a Spiral-Sliced Ham to Death

 A 9-pound, spiral-sliced, precooked ham should take 180 minutes to cook to an internal temperature of 160°? Cover or uncover? This is for 1 o'clock lunch Easter Sunday.

 A precooked ham can be served cold, at room temperature, or warmed. If you really cook a precooked ham, you are likely to dry it out, and people will shun your Easter feasts in the future.

Some producers of spiral-sliced hams recommend that you not cook them. Others allow you to use relatively low heat (275°F (135°C) to warm the ham through. They estimate two hours for a half ham; three hours for a whole ham (or 12 to 15 minutes per pound). Definitely don't take it above an internal temperature of 140°F (60°C).

They recommend placing the cut ham face down and covering the pan tightly with a lid or foil, or using a roasting bag, all to retain as much moisture as possible.

The 160°F (71°C) benchmark is for an uncooked ham, which is baked at 325°F (°C) for about 25 minutes per pound. You also cover the pan or use a roasting bag. You really need an instant-read thermometer to be sure you get the center of the meat to 160°F.

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