5 Reasons Why Ham Is the Perfect Main Dish for a Buffet

published Mar 26, 2015
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(Image credit: Bochkarev Photography)

I used to fret over parties with a buffet. The main dish was the trickiest part. Should I cook something or just buy something? Hot or cold entree? Would someone have to be tasked with carving a large piece of meat?

But now the buffet entree is the easiest decision to make, since it will probably be a big spiral-sliced ham. Ham is popular for holidays like Easter and Christmas, but it’s also great for any big gathering. Here’s why it’s my favorite party main.

1. Ham is easy and impressive.

If you buy a big ham that is already cooked, all you have to do is heat and serve. A spiral-sliced ham even takes carving out of the picture, so you have beautiful, even slices that look great on a platter.

2. Ham feeds a crowd.

Ham is perfect for large parties, since it’s a big piece of meat that you can even buy boneless. There’s plenty to go around, but it’s not as expensive as something like prime rib.

3. Ham is customizable.

While you can glaze a ham with the packet that it might come with, you can make your own glazes or toppings to easily customize it. Go with the traditional pineapple rings or try a brown sugar and mustard glaze!

4. Ham can be served warm or at room temperature.

Many main entrees usually have to be served warm, making it a bit of a challenge when the buffet may sit for a few hours while people are trickling in and out. Ham is great because it can be served warm, but it’s also just fine at room temperature. Plus, unlike roast beef, you don’t have to worry about some people who like well-done meat versus those who like rare.

5. Ham goes with a variety of side dishes.

Ham doesn’t get smothered with gravy or sauce, so it can be served with simple salads or vegetable side dishes. My favorite way to serve ham, which I did for a housewarming party, was to put out little freshly made biscuits, various cheeses, jams, and hot-pepper jelly. Everyone got to make their own little biscuit sandwiches, and the ham stretched to feed a lot of people.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

Ham Recipes