Learn how to cook ham with our step-by-step guide to cooking the perfect roast gammon. Learning how to make gammon is a worthwhile skill.
Whether for Christmas dinner or Sunday lunch, our recipe for how to cook a ham makes it easy to make a delicious dish at home any time. Home cooked ham is so much cheaper than buying it sliced and ready cooked – and it is much tastier too! It makes a perfect centre piece for a Christmas or buffet party table and the best thing is that all your roast gammon leftovers have no end of uses in sandwiches, pies, pasta bakes and soups, to name just a few.
Gammon is the premium joint from the hind leg of a pig, whereas bacon joints are slightly cheaper and come from the front legs or shoulder. Available smoked or unsmoked, choose whichever flavour you prefer for cooking gammon joint. Larger gammon joints sometimes have the bone in but if buying from a butcher you can ask them to remove the bone for easier carving, smaller bacon joints are usually boned, rolled and tied into a neat shape.
To unsure the ham stays moist, it’s best to boil it for most of the cooking time and then glaze and bake in the oven for the final 30 mins to give it an attractive finish and added flavour.
Gammon and bacon are pork cuts that have been salt cured. Sometimes it is necessary to soak the meat for a few hours before boiling to remove excess salt, however these days most supermarket gammon and bacon is mildly cured so doesn’t need soaking but if buying from a butcher just ask if it needs to soaked. If you’re not sure how salty the meat will be, place the meat in a pan of cold water to cover, bring to the boil, throw away the water and replace with fresh water for cooking. Now you know everything you need to, follow our easy step-by-step guide for how to cook a ham.
How to cook a ham
- 1.5kg bacon or gammon joint
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 black peppercorns
- 3tbsp runny honey
- 1tbsp Dijon mustard
Place the gammon or bacon joint in a large pan. Cover with cold water and add the onion, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 mins per 500g (1.5kg will need to simmer for 1 hour).
Remove the ham from the pan, cool slightly then cut off the rind leaving a thin layer of fat covering the ham.
Score the across the fat diagonally in opposite directions to make a diamond pattern.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/170°C (fan oven)/Gas Mark 5. Place the ham in a baking tin. Mix together the honey and mustard and liberally brush the mixture over the fat. Cover the ends of the ham with foil to prevent them drying out and bake for 30 mins until the fat is golden.
Remove from the oven and serve hot or cold.