Jennifer Causey

If it's the centerpiece of your Easter menu, then now is the time to–ahem—bone up on this beloved Southern meat.

Southern Living Editors

An Easter ham is the focal point of the food display on Easter Sunday–glazed to perfection with just the right garnishes and sliced by the member of the family with stellar knife skills. It’s only right that the ham not only look good, but taste good as well. Whether you are new to cooking ham or a ham-cooking expert, these three ways of cooking a traditional Easter ham are most common and are all sure to be crowd-pleasers.

Fully Cooked

Often referred to as "city ham," this ready-to-eat ham is most likely the type you'll purchase for holiday meals. Opt for the shank end of the ham instead of the sirloin end—it has one straight bone for easier slicing. Though the meat needs no additional cooking, you can heat it and add a glaze or sauce for more flavor. Dress it up with garnishes such as dried fruit or pineapple rings, or use dark, leafy lettuce to line the surface of the serving tray to trick guests into think you spent hours cooking the ham yourself.

Fresh

This is the same cut (a leg) as other hams but has not been cured, smoked, or brined. Think of it as a very big pork roast. While less showy than a fully cooked ham, this flavorful variation will impress traditional guests who love a meal made from scratch. Add a glaze or rub with spices and herbs and let it slow cook to perfection.

Related: Ham-and-Bean Soup Recipe

Dry-Cured

Also called country ham, this cured and smoked beauty can take about a year to age to its full potential. The ham is served at its best when sliced thinly. Serve with biscuits for Easter brunch or alongside other traditional Easter sides for dinner.

Now that you know the different ways to prepare for your Easter lunch, how do you plan to serve your ham?