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Seattle Kitchen

Holiday ham tips from Northwest chef Tom Douglas

Seattle Kitchen host Tom Douglas says the best advice for making this dish delicious is keeping it simple. (AP Photo/file)

A classic baked ham on the table is a sight familiar to many households around holiday time. Seattle Kitchen host Tom Douglas says the best advice for making this dish delicious is keeping it simple.

When selecting a ham, Douglas says the first thing he looks at is the percentage of water weight, which should be listed on the package.

"A lot of times it can be 10, 12, 15 percent saline solution, they're all pumped up and you pay for that water weight that all drains out when you put it into the oven," he says. He likes to keep it under 5 to 6 percent water.

Considering how you plan to prepare the ham also impacts the purchase decision at the store. Douglas steers clear of the spiral cut because he likes to cut his own. He suggests getting a half a ham with the bone in.

He says the fact that a ham is really already cooked, the only way you can actually manipulate the taste is by your glaze. Coming up with a delicious glaze, he says is pretty easy.

"You can make anything," says Douglas. "You could reach right into your refrigerator and get out a jar of orange marmalade and it would be a delicious ham glaze."

Douglas says he likes to make large cuts into the ham to really let the glaze flavor sink into the meat.

"If it's got skin left on it, I cut the skin back and I cut the fat back to the pink meat," says Douglas. "I'll crisscross, make some large crevices into the meat and then put my glaze on the meat, so when you eat it, it's more like a prime rib roast where you actually get a little bit of crust with every slice."

For his glaze, Douglas likes to use a coffee-espresso blend he came up with. The recipe for this glaze can be found in his first book "Seattle Kitchen."

"I think it's pretty darn good."

About the Author


Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.

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