A glazed ham

I so often see people pouring syrupy glazes on hot hams that have not been allowed to cool off first. A lot of basting, a lot of opening and closing the oven door, puffing and panting…a lot of stress.

How to Cook a Ham

Here we go, but before I do, there are two ways to cook a green or cold smoked ham: Oven or Poach. I’m going for the latter as it gives you a delicious and plentiful stock that can be a real addition for either gravy or the days of cooking afterwards.



  1. Lower your ham into a large pot of cold water. It should always be submerged!
  2. Place four sticks of celery, one leek, 2 bay leaves and 8 peppercorns around it. Your water will need no salt. Poach at barely even a simmer, more a gentle wobble with a lid on, topping up with boiling water if needs be.
    NOTE: Using a lid is good but remember that once on, the temperature can go from a simmer to a boil unrecognised and all too easily, so check.
  3. Do not cook by timing as one woman’s oven is another man’s incinerator. Purchase a probe as meat thermometers are incredibly useful in their accuracy. You want the temperature to reach 66°C before taking out of the water. This will take approximately 70-90 minutes. Once taken out and the ham will still be cooking as the internal centre temperature of the meat will still be rising. The perfect ‘end’ temperature will be about 70-72°C.
  4. Allow your ham to cool completely.
  5. Cut the rind from the ham but carefully, so as to ensure as much fat is left on top as possible.
  6. Score about half a centimetre deep through the fat with a sharp knife making a diamond criss-cross to about the size of a postage stamp (so to speak). Plug a clove in the middle of each square.
  7. Turn the grill to high but making sure the shelf is not too close to the element.
  8. Line the baking tray with foil as paper will burn and rest the ham on top, fat side facing up.
  9. Mix the mustard powder, ground coriander, salt, and pepper.
  10. Making sure it lands on the fat, not the work surface, dust the ham well and thoroughly. Pat the mixture down only very gently.
  11. Next sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top.
  12. Trail 4 tablespoons of the honey over the top and immediately sit it under the grill.
  13. After about 6 minutes (with the door fractionally open) give it another spoonful of honey. The sugars should be bubbling and browning well.
  14. Use scrunched up tin foil to prop up any less done parts that need to sit up under the grill.
  15. You still have one more spoonful of honey in reserve.
  16. When browned remove.
  17. WARNING: Burn or over brown and you will create a sugar armour on the ham that will make slicing difficult.
  18. Your ham is ready for slicing.

Your ham must be allowed to completely cool before stage two, Glazing.

  1. When glazing use a liner in the bottom of the tray as caramelized or burnt sugars can be a real pain to get off.
  2. Make sure rind is removed before basting.
  3. By adding a ‘powder layer’ of English mustard, ground coriander and then the granular sugar it allows more gooey additions of honey or molasses a proper chance to settle and stick instead of running off.
  4. If your ham is only glazing well in places due to a steep run off, then I use scrunched up tin foil to prop it in position if any turning is needed.

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