How to prepare a ham

Looking for a crowdpleaser for a big celebration? The Good Food cookery team show you how to cook and glaze a ham for the perfect centrepiece dish.

Points to remember

  • If necessary, soak the gammon (ham) in cold water to reduce saltiness, according to butcher or packet instructions (most do not need this anymore as curing methods have changed).
  • Weigh to calculate the cooking time.
  • Place in a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for 30 mins per 450g/1lb, periodically skimming and discarding any white froth that comes to the surface.
  • Drain, reserving the stock if you like, leave to cool a little, then remove the top layer of skin, leaving a thin layer of fat around the meat.
  • Score the fat, then brush with a glaze of your choice. Place in a foil-lined roasting tin and bake at 220C/fan 200C for 20-30 mins (based on a 5kg ham) or until the glaze is golden.
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TIPS
GET YOUR PAN RIGHT

Make sure you have a pan big enough to fit the gammon. The water should cover the meat.

COOK IT THROUGH

Make sure the ham is fully cooked after boiling – the baking stage is only to caramelise the skin.

GAMMON OR HAM?

Gammon is cured in the same way as bacon and is the raw meat you buy from the shops. Technically it’s only ‘ham’ after it’s cooked.