It is easy to ensure the meat you cook is tender and easy to cut and eat almost every time. This is especially nice if you have family members who are older, have dental issues, or who are toddlers and pre school age.
Always bake meat at 350 or 375 degrees. The meat will cook slower, which is a key element in tender meat. Meat cooked too fast will be tough and more difficult to chew, and you will probably need both a steak knife and fork to cut it.
First wash the roast, ham, or other meat thoroughly before placing it in the pan or roaster. Cover the meat completely with water and put a lid on the pan and put it in the oven. Center the pan in the oven.
Make sure you do not put the pan on the lowest rack unless the roaster is so large you have no other choice. The second rack from the bottom works best.
Once the pan is in the oven let it cook, checking it every hour to make sure there is plenty of water remaining in the pan and turning it over. The time it takes to cook the meat depends on the weight. In most instances it takes one hour to one and half hours of baking per pound for the meat to be tender.
Once a fork goes into the meat easily and quickly it is tender and ready to be removed from the pan. Remove the meat and place it on a serving platter or in a large serving dish. Spoon the broth over the meat so that it will stay moist and tender.
For a ham, I usually take a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil that is long enough to both line the bottom of the pan and fold over the ham for sealing. Place the aluminum foil in the pan so equal lengths of foil hangs over each end of. Take the ham, lay it in the pan and, after covering the bottom with wather, fold both ends of the aluminum foil together and roll them to seal the ham in.
Ham has a tendency to dry out while baking so the aluminum foil helps to keep that from happening. Once again, unroll the foil every hour, using a syringe type baster to moisten the ham with the broth and then roll the foil back up.
The baking time of one to one and a half hour per pound of meat still applies and you still want to keep the oven temperature at 350 to 375 degrees. This is paramount. I understand this may not be possible if you have a shorter amount of time available to spend baking the meat.
One thing that I need to point out is that if you want a whole chicken that will hold its shape when you take it out of the oven, or if the chicken has been stuffed for cooking, you will want to cut the baking time in half. If not the chicken will fall apart when you remove it from the pan.