How to Carve a Ham

The last step to making the perfect ham is carving it like a pro.

Published May 10, 2016.

Our foolproof method for a perfectly moist spiral-sliced holiday ham starts with a bone-in ham, preferably shank-end because they contain less gristle and fat and are easier to carve than butt-end hams. Here's a step by step guide on how to carve a ham for perfect, celebratory-worthy slices.

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Essential Equipment to Carve a Ham

Paring Knife

A paring knife is allows you to nimbly cut around the bone to loosen the attached slices. (See more ways to use a paring knife for all kinds of kitchen tasks.)

→ Buy our favorite paring knife: Wüsthof Classic with PEtec, 3 1/2-inch

→ Read our review of paring knives

Slicing Knife

A long knife is ideal for slicing the meat horizontally above the bone and through the spiral-cut slices, towards the back of the ham. We prefer the Granton edge (scalloped divots) for cutting even slices.

→ Buy our favorite slicing knife: Victorinox 12" Fibrox Pro Granton Edge Slicing/Carving Knife

→ Read our review of slicing knives

Carving Fork

When slicing meat, a carving fork is the best option for holding the roast firmly in place while keeping your hand out of harm’s way.

→ Buy our favorite carving fork: Mercer Cutlery Genesis 6-Inch High-Carbon Carving Fork

→ Read our review of carving forks

Carving Board

carving board is a necessary upgrade from a cutting board since it boasts a trench that traps liquid from a juicy roast. It also should be durable, handsome, and easy to clean.

→ Buy our favorite carving board: J.K. Adams Maple Reversible Carving Board

→ Read our review of carving boards

How to Carve a Ham

Despite the name, spiral-sliced hams are not fully sliced. Here’s how we neatly finish the job of freeing the cooked slices from the bone.

Step 1: With the ham on its side, cut around the bone with a paring knife to free the attached slices.
Step 2: Switch to a carving knife and slice horizontally above the bone to remove the entire section.
Step 3: Turn the ham to cut side down and slice down along the bone to remove the remaining meat.
Step 4: Carefully cut between the slices to separate them.

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