Sous Vide ham

In the Sous Vide Recipes Forum
I could not find any information on cooking a ham Sous Vide so I set out to discover if my idea would work. It did, gloriously! What I'm about to describe is so utterly simple, I'm shocked that I could find not find any record online of anyone trying it before.

I described in my reply to a post on the equipment forum (see "Another potential sous vide tool") how I use a stockpot, a Taylor digital thermometer and my Jenn-Air electric stove to cook Sous Vide.

For Easter, I purchased an 8 lb. supermarket-brand smoked, cured ham (bone-in, shank half). It was not fully cooked, as many hams are, but this method will work for either. The ham was shrink-wrapped in heavy plastic, a ready-made Sous Vide pouch.

I put a vegetable steamer in the bottom of my stockpot and sat the ham on it. Then I filled the stockpot with warm water and put it in the oven. I threaded the probe from my Taylor digital thermometer thru the oven door and under the lid of the stockpot so I could monitor the temp.

My Jenn-Air easily held the stockpot within a range of 139-142 degrees. I cooked it for 24 hours. At that point, I needed the oven for the scalloped potatoes, so I removed the stockpot with the ham, placed it on one of the small burners on my stovetop and held it there. It was a simple matter to keep it in a range of 135-141 degrees by manually turning the burner on its lowest setting until the alarm went off on my digital thermometer when it hit 141 degrees. I turned the burner off for twenty minutes or so until it dropped to 135, then turned the burner back on for about 30 mins until the alarm went off again. I was working in the kitchen the entire time which made the process very simple.

A half-hour before dinner, I took the stockpot to the sink and carefully poured out about half the water. To my surprise, I was easily able to grasp the ham by the plastic wrap without burning myself. I lifted it out of the pot and into a large bowl. I cut the plastic and removed it, saving the liquid that drained out to use for the split pea soup that will come in a few days.

I transferred the ham to a glass baking pan and brushed on a thick glaze that I had made from honey and brown sugar. I put the ham back into the 140 degree oven for about 15-20 mins to set the glaze.

When I carved it just before bringing it to the table, the results were utterly perfect. Every bit of the ham was as moist and tender as it could be. All of our dinner guests commented that it was the best ham they had ever had. If your oven has the capability to hold a low temp like my Jenn-Air does, try this method. You will never, ever bake another ham, I guarantee.

5 Replies So Far

The ham sounds great!
Glad you are getting such good results with your oven, it sounds like that is an awesome ham. If I had an oven that I didn't want to bludgeon to death for inefficiency, I'd give it a try. Have you done much else in this fashion?
I have done quite a few different meats in this manner; chicken breasts, pork chops, beef steaks, beef roasts and a corned beef, all with complete success. I was happy to discover that I was able to cook Sous Vide without a big expenditure.
I used a similar technique the first couple of times to do some experimental sous vide lamb cutlet joints. I heated the water in a large pan to 59C using a digital probe thermometer and set my Siemens oven to 60C. Dropped in the packets of lamb and cooked for 8-9 hours. The oven held the temperature perfectly according to the thermometer. I've got an electrical water bath now, so my oven doesn't get tied up for hours, but it will work very well. However the oven thermostat can only be set every 5C, though I guess one could hold an intermediate temperature pretty well all the same.
I'm glad to hear there are other brands of ovens with this capability. Now that I have experience with it, I would buy no other type. Recently I began making my own mayonnaise when I discovered how simple it is and how much better mayo is without that soybean oil taste. But some of my friends were reluctant to try it because I had made it with regular unpasteurized eggs and they were concerned about the safety.

With a little experimentation, I found that it's very simple to pasteurize shell eggs at 135F for 75 minutes in my oven. The whites are slightly cloudy but the effect is indiscernible in mayonnaise. Now when my guests visit, they leave with jars of specialty mayo that I've made for them adding garlic or herb infused oils to give them a flavor unavailable anywhere else. And, as you may have surmised, they are less expensive than store-bought to boot.

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