HoneyBaked Master Glazer shares expert tips to make the holiday meal spectacular

HoneyBaked Ham Easter tips
HoneyBaked Ham Easter tips / HoneyBaked

With the Easter holiday quickly approaching, many people are planning the special feast. Whether served as a mid-day brunch or a lavish dinner, one element is often the star of the table, the ham. Brian Heffern, a professionally-trained and certified HoneyBaked Master Glazer, has a few tips that will make the gathering a memorable and flavorful one.

Even though Easter baskets might be full of sweet treats, there is something irresistible about a perfectly cooked ham with a signature glaze. While traditions might have some people staying with favorite flavors, other holiday hosts may like to bring some adventurous seasonings to the table.

With HoneyBaked, the brand has options to satisfy any preference. As Heffern said, “Part of the reason HoneyBaked has become an Easter tradition year after year for so many people is the distinctive, delicious flavor of our signature Honey Baked Ham with its sweet and crunchy glaze. You can only get it at HoneyBaked, and that’s what makes it special.”

If it is a year to offer a slightly different taste, Heffern shared, “For those looking to add a bolder flavor to their Easter table, I’d recommend our Hickory Honey Mustard. It is by far our most popular sauce and it pairs perfectly with our ham.”

While ham might be the signature food for the holiday celebration, the table is not complete without an abundant amount of side dishes. Even though people might debate what is the best balance of main protein to sides on the plate, HoneyBaked has options that everyone will love. Sometimes, it might even entice guests to enjoy a second serving.

When asked about pairing sides with the HoneyBaked ham, Heffern offered a simple approach. He said, “It’s definitely important not to overlook the rest of the spread, including sides.” Although everyone has one or two must have items, Heffern has a long list of favorite sides.

Heffern recommends the following sides for an Easter feast.

  • "Maple Sweet Potato Soufflé - Our special recipe takes generous slices of select sweet potatoes and whips them into a creamy, smooth soufflé with brown sugar and spices, topped with crunchy pecans."
  • "Double Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese - This is a great one for the whole family – kids love it, as well as adults. It’s tossed in creamy white cheddar cheese, and topped with cheddar."
  • "Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin - Generous slices of select gold potatoes, smothered in a rich, creamy blend of cheddar cheeses."
  • "Baked Cinnamon Apples - Granny Smith with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar. It’s perfect as a complimentary side, or served as a dessert."

Looking at his list, the variety celebrates both flavors and textures. Specifically, Herffern said, “It’s all about a balance between a few sweeter side dishes, paired with more savory ones so there’s something on the table that everyone can enjoy.”

While the holiday table should look abundant, leftovers are never a bad word. Getting an extra meal or two out of the substantial purchase is important for any host. But, some people do not want to have a sense of déjà vu when they sit down at the table, again.

Heffern recommends a simple, approachable idea. He said, “One of the easiest ways to use Honey Baked Ham is to make sandwiches. Simply add some slices of HoneyBaked Ham to your favorite bread, along with some cheese, lettuce, and tomato. You can also add some of HoneyBaked’s Honey Mustard Mayonnaise or Hickory Honey Mustard for extra flavor. I’m also a fan of using King’s Hawaiian Rolls (which are available at HoneyBaked locations) to create quick and easy sliders.”

For a more substantial meal, consider a casserole. Heffern believes, “Casseroles are also a great way to use leftover Honey Baked Ham. Simply combine the ham with some pasta, veggies, and cheese, and bake it in the oven. You can also add some cream of mushroom soup for a creamy and delicious casserole.”

As everyone starts to plan their Easter meal celebration, Heffern shared what his family’s meal will look like this year.

Typically I’ll serve the ham at room temperature, taking it out of the refrigerator around 30 minutes before we sit down to eat. Every now and then, I also like to warm it by the slice. I always recommend cutting off the slices you would like warmed, then taking our crunchy glaze and breaking it up over the ham so that when it warms, the glaze is melting onto the pieces of ham. It is my best way to get the flavor of the sweet and crunchy glaze on every single slice.”

“We switch up the sides and other items so we do not have a ‘traditional’ meal for Easter, but we always have a Honey Baked Ham as our centerpiece. I’m a fan of the Signature Honey Baked Ham Meal for that reason — it includes our signature bone-in-half ham and you choose four of our Heat & Serve sides, so it’s customizable based on you and your guests’ favorites.”

Whether this year’s celebration is traditional, modern, or a blend of both, HoneyBaked Ham satisfies any and every option. The kids might be on the hunt for eggs, but the signature ham will draw everyone to the table.