Taste Test: Spiral-Cut Ham

Our testers pigged out to discover which presliced hams are the tastiest for your holiday table

archer farms ham
Courtesy of Archer Farms
Our testers pigged out to discover which presliced hams are the tastiest for your holiday table
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archer farms ham
Courtesy of Archer Farms
Winner: Archer Farms ($1.89/lb., at Target)
Looking for a "balance of pork and smoky flavors"? This ham is perfection. Our tasters also raved about its "moist," hearty texture.
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2 of 9
hillshire farm brown sugar cured ham
Courtesy of Hillshire Farm
Hillshire Farm Brown Sugar Cured ($3 to $3.49/lb.)
A "juicy" ham, it won praise for its texture — "slightly chewy ... in a good way" — as well as its "sweet and nicely spiced" flavor. Although the "slight clove flavor" was a little heavy for some tasters, most thought the seasoning paired perfectly with the brown sugar and the inherent saltiness of the ham. One taster admitted, "I want it in my belly with biscuits."
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3 of 9
niman ranch ham
Courtesy of Niman Ranch
Niman Ranch ($7 to $8/lb.)
Tasters who preferred "mild" flavor, "minimal smokiness," and a "slightly dry" texture gravitated toward this ham. Many commented on the texture, which was the closest of the bunch to unbrined, "real meat," with some enjoying it and others calling it "spongy."
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4 of 9
smithfield paula deens crunchy glaze
Courtesy of Smithfield
Smithfield Paula Deen's Crunchy Glaze ($26 on average)
Many tasters noted that this ham was very moist. Some liked this more traditional ham texture, while others did not, calling it "limp" and "slimy." Many volunteers also noted that this ham was quite salty and found that it overpowered the overall pork flavor.
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5 of 9
hillshire farm honey cured ham
Courtesy of Hillshire Farm
Hillshire Farm Honey Cured ($3 to $3.49/lb.)
Some volunteers noted a "strange," artificial flavor to this middle-of-the-pack contender, while others thought it was "tangy." A few were fond of the flavor, calling it "enjoyable and distinctive." It also lost a few points for its texture, which was "too dry."
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cooks brown sugar spiral half ham
Courtesy of Cook's
Cook's Brown Sugar Spiral Half Ham ($2.39 to $2.59/lb.)
Some tasters made note of a "funny aftertaste" with this ham, describing it as artificial and borderline "industrial." However, many said that, overall, this ham had a nice texture and that the flavor was "not too smoky," which they appreciated.
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7 of 9
smithfield honey glaze ham
Courtesy of Smithfield
Smithfield Honey Glaze ($23.50 on average)
Tasters described this ham's flavor as "bland" and "simple." Some were turned off by how watery this "moist" ham was, and missed that "smoky" flavor. Several tasters also made note of how fatty the ham seemed, which they did not enjoy.
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8 of 9
cooks honey spiral half ham
Courtesy of Cook's
Cook's Honey Spiral Half Ham ($2.39 to $2.59/lb.)
Tasters were fond of this ham's "robust and smoky" flavor, saying that it reminded them of "BBQ." However, some tasters found that the texture was a bit too "stringy" for their preferences.
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9 of 9
hormel cure 81 ham
Courtesy of Hormel
Hormel Cure 81 ($1.99 to $2.99/lb.)
None of the volunteers voted for this ham over the others tasted. While many commented on its "traditional" ham taste, they were turned off by the texture, which they described as "tough and dry." One taster also noted that it "could be bolder and smokier."
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