Christmas Ham

OK, so I know I’m a bit behind the programme posting a Christmas recipe on January 7th. This is the joy of being the Christmas cook – there is no real time recipe production or photography – I started writing this in 2018!

Serves 12 – 16


  • A cooked or uncooked ham (circa 5kg, 1- 12 lb)
  • A tin of pineapple rings
  • 1 cup of demerara (dark brown) sugar

We have missed the quality of the pork products which we took for granted living in Ireland – being famous for its rashers and sausages. So this year, before Christmas, we did a trial run on the hams in the hope of replacing the watery flavourless version we had experienced in NZ, in favour of something more tasty. We landed on a Patoa Farms free farmed triple smoked cooked ham. It was full of flavour and moist without having the watery film present.

Uncooked Hams
Normally I would buy an uncooked ham, soak it overnight to reduce the salt the content, boil to cook and then glaze to finish. If  feeding a large group you will want a 5kg ham (10 – 12lbs). You will need a very large pot! Cover the ham entirely in fresh water and bring to the boil. If there is a white froth on the top of the water then the ham is still salty, so discard the water, cover with cold fresh water again and add two onions (peeled and quartered), some pepper corns, some cinnamon sticks, a small handful of cloves or a few star anise, sticks of celery (leaves are good), a couple of roughly carrots. Bring to the boil. Simmer until cooked – circa 20 minutes per 500g. For larger hams you may need to keep topping up the water. Drain and allow to cool. If you need to, you can leave the ham covered in the fridge overnight.

Cooked Hams

Turn on your oven to 250 degrees.

When you are ready to glaze the ham peel off the rind, but leave a decent layer of fat. Score lines about 1 inch wide across the fat and then again in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern. Drain the pineapple rings (set aside), retaining the juice. Mix a couple of tablespoons of the juice with the sugar to form a thick paste. Rub this all over the ham. Insert a clove at each diamond intersection:

Christmas Ham Pre Glaze

The sugar content will burn in the oven so you may wish to place the ham on tin foil on your baking tray to save having to scrub it off later. Bake for 20 minutes or so, basting regularly, until the ham is lovely and golden all over. You can serve immediately or serve cold later dressed with pineapple rings and glace cherries.

We have ours carved wafer thin and flash fried on the bbq, along with the pineapple rings, with eggs for Christmas breakfast.

Because my cooking is much better than my photography I often use stock images. The baked ham on the cover image is courtesy of Brent Hofaker.

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