How Much Ham You Need Per Person For Easter

Glazed ham is a traditional centerpiece for the Easter table and all but signifies spring. While it's one of the easiest (and tastiest) meals to prepare for a formal holiday meal or a brunch buffet, there are some key decisions to make before you head to the butcher or grocery store. When choosing the proper ham, first consider how many people you are feeding, what else you are serving, and whether you want extras.

If you prefer the ease of carving a boneless ham, you will need ⅓- to ½-pound per person. Go larger if ham is the draw of your meal and if you want leftovers for split pea soup (you can safely store cooked ham in the refrigerator for up to five days). Or, scale back if you are serving a lot of children or have a ton of sides for people to feast on. 

Also keep in mind, cooking the meat on the bone is a more flavorful option, but it does take a bit more skill to carve to prevent hacking the meat into pieces. When preparing a bone-in ham, you also should take into account the weight of the bone when selecting the correct size since its weight will affect how much meat you actually have. Plan on ¾- to 1 pound of ham per guest in this case. If you do have leftovers, plan to save the bone too and use it to flavor stock for a slow-cooked Southern black-eyed pea soup

How to choose between fully cooked, fresh, or country ham

Depending on where you live, you can find fully cooked, fresh, or country ham available for purchase for your Easter meal. But how do you choose the best one? Fully cooked hams are sold bone-in, boneless, or spiral-cut. They are the easiest and quickest to prepare since the meat is cured and just needs to be heated to serve. Fully cooked hams can benefit from a glaze like this blood orange and honey-glazed ham recipe (apply during the last 30 minutes of cooking). The sweet topper balances the salty meat and adds a delicious sticky coating to the exterior. 

A fresh ham doesn't have the smoky taste of a fully cooked ham since it's not cured. The meat tastes more like other cuts of pork. But, like Thanksgiving turkey, fresh hams can be brined a day earlier so you can control the flavor. Since it's not cooked, this option takes longer to roast. Prepare to cook fresh ham in a low-heat oven for roughly 30 minutes per pound. For example, a 16-pound ham will take four-and-a-half hours to cook, plus 20 minutes to rest before carving.

Country ham is less available nationwide but is popular in the South. It can also be labeled as a Virginia or Smithfield ham. The meat is cured, smoked, and aged. It takes the longest time to prepare since the ham must be soaked and simmered before baking to remove some of its saltiness.

When shopping, just be sure to avoid hams labeled "water added" or "ham and water product" since the brine can make up to 20% of the weight, meaning it won't be as flavorful, and you're paying for less meat.