Do You Remove the Rind From Ham Before Baking? A Detailed Guide

Baking a delicious glazed ham is a cherished holiday tradition for many families However, one common question that often arises is whether or not you should remove the rind before putting the ham in the oven In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the pros and cons of removing the ham rind and provide tips for prepping hams with and without the rind.

What is Ham Rind?

The rind refers to the thick, rubbery skin that surrounds a ham. It is an inedible protective layer that helps retain moisture and shape during the curing, smoking and cooking process. Underneath the rind is a layer of fat which imparts delicious flavor.

On some hams sold at retail, both the rind and fat layer remain intact. These are called “rind-on” hams. Other times, the butcher or producer removes the rind but leaves most of the fat in place before packaging.

Should You Remove the Rind Before Baking?

The consensus among most cooks is yes you should remove the rind from ham prior to baking. Here are the main reasons why

  • The rind is not palatable. It remains chewy and tough even after hours of baking. Removing it improves the texture and appearance.

  • It prevents glaze penetration The thick rind can form a barrier that keeps glazes and juices from permeating into the meat

  • Traps moisture and fat. Leaving the rind on can cause moisture and rendered fat to get trapped underneath rather than baste the ham.

  • Gives better texture control. Removing the rind allows you to better control the final texture. Leaving it on may create unwanted chewiness.

  • Enhances presentation. A rind-free ham coated with an enticing glaze is far more appetizing and elegant.

However, there are a couple reasons you may want to leave the rind on:

  • It can protect the exterior from drying out.

  • It adds crunch and texture contrast when the rind gets very crisp.

How to Remove the Rind

Removing the rind is easy once you know the proper technique. You’ll need a sharp, flexible knife.

  1. Score the rind. Make shallow cuts in a crosshatch pattern through just the rind layer, leaving the fat intact. This allows the glaze or sauce to penetrate.

  2. Loosen the rind. Make a cut around the shank end to loosen the skin.

  3. Slide the knife under the rind. Work from top to bottom, carefully sliding the knife under the scored rind to separate it from the fat.

  4. Pull it off. Grab a corner of the skin with a paper towel and gently peel it away. Discard rind.

  5. Trim remaining fat. If desired, trim the fat layer to your preferred thickness. Leave at least 1/4 inch.

Baking Tips for Hams With and Without Rind

Follow these handy tips for delicious results when baking with or without the rind:

Baking Hams With the Rind On

  • Score the rind deeply

How to skin and glaze a ham

Should Ham rind be removed before baking?

The short answer is yes, you should remove the rind from ham before baking. The rind is not edible and can prevent the glaze from penetrating the meat, resulting in a less flavorful and less attractive ham. However, it’s important to note that you should leave as much of the fat on as possible.

Can You bake a ham without rind?

To bake without the rind, place the ham cut-side down in a baking pan and cover with foil or a baking bag. You can also add a little bit of liquid, like wine or water, to the bottom of the pan for additional moisture.

How do you remove rind from a ham?

Continue to trim around the entire ham until all the rind is removed and the layer of fat is the desired thickness. To remove the rind after cooking, use a small sharp knife to slice through the skin around the shank to release it completely from the meat.

How do you prepare a ham rind for cooking?

To prepare the rind of a ham for cooking, make ¼-inch-deep gashes from the butt end to the shank and cut through the rind at 1-inch intervals with a boning knife. Place the ham on a flat surface with the rind side up before making these cuts. In a mixing bowl, blend the salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, sage, and oil.

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