This recipe isn’t for a typical slow cooked ham. Most ham recipes want to dress it up with fruit and spices that result in a sweet, sticky (although mwuah! delicious) pink hunk of succulent meat.
My personal preference is for 100% ham, just ham, and nothing but the ham. To savor it in all of its intended juicy porkiness. I also know we will not be able to devour the entire ham in one meal, and already have plans for how to get more mileage out of the leftovers in myriad ways. I prefer the soup in the ham’s future to be devoid of random chunks of pineapple, clove overtones, etc.
This recipe involves all of two ingredients: Apple cider, and the star of the show, a smoked but uncooked 4.5 pound boneless ham. I have a larger slow cooker, and the 4.5 pound size fit easily with plenty of room left in the pot for fruit if I chose to go that route. The result was a slightly shrunken fully cooked ham that was super moist, and well, just perfectly hammy.
I kept the thin layer of fat on the outside while it cooked to extract the most flavor. After the cook, it was easy to scrape or trim off. My dog lives like a king sometimes.
Slow Cooker Ham
- 1 cup Fresh Apple Cider
- 4.5-6 lb Smoked, uncooked ham
If your ham has a bone, leave it in for more flavor. Use the bone again in your next batch of stock or bone broth.
If your ham has more than a thin band of fat around it, trim it back. You want a little for a more porky flavor, and you can trim it off once the ham is cooked and ready to serve.
Pour the cider into the slow cooker pot.
Place the trimmed ham into the pot. Put the lid on and set the cooker for 4 hours on LOW. Walk away and let it do its magic.
When the ham has been slow cooking for 2 hours or so, open the lid and check the temperature. Don't let the ham get above 160 degrees at this point or else it will end up a dry, flaky lump. The final temp should register around 140 degrees for a moist, pink ham. Different slow cookers can have varying temperature calibrations, so test at the halfway point to get an idea of where the ham is leaning to on the well-done scale.
After the 4 hours is up, stick a thermometer into the center of the ham and make sure it reads at least 140 degrees.
Remove the ham to a platter or cutting board to slice and serve, or divide. Serve slices immediately. Allow the rest to cool before dicing or chunking up for future meals. If desired or if you think the ham is a little on the dry side, baste it with the juices in the bottom of the pot. You could make a gravy from the leftover juices, just know it will have apple cider overtones and may be a little too sweet.