So, we want to clarify one thing first before we go any further. We’re not here to talk about the insult, but rather the delicious meal of gammon. This is in no way a politically driven blog post, but rather a foodie driven blog that is aimed at helping you learn from the best and become a Masterchef.
If you are wanting to up the ante when it comes to your culinary skills, learning to cook gammon is a great next step after you’ve done a few of our cooking courses and practised our method to cook a turkey.
What exactly is a gammon, you ask? Well, in short, it is essentially ham. But the main difference between gammon and ham is that the gammon is sold raw and needs to be cooked first.
So before we go any further, let’s go into a bit more detail as to what the difference is between gammon and ham.
The Difference Between Gammon and Ham
As the holiday season rolls around, the traditional festive dishes come out of hiding and to the forefront of our kitchen. One of the classic celebratory dishes is gammon—which is a part of the raw pig that is then cooked, glazed, and decorated with garnish. It makes for a picture-perfect holiday season meal. But ham comes from a pig too, right? So what is the difference?
While both come from the same part of the pig—the hind legs—gammon is the raw version that needs to be cooked no matter what. Ham, on the other hand, is sold ready to eat. Gammon needs the same extra attention and preparation that bacon does. But once you cook gammon, you now have ham.
So in short, gammon is the before and ham is the after of the cooking process.
Tips and Tricks for Cooking Gammon
Now that we hopefully have clarified all that up for you, we want to share our top tips and tricks with you on cooking gammon so that you get the most delicious ham as the end result.
Start It Off Nice and Easy
When you start the cooking process of your ham, slow and steady wins this race. You don’t want to start by soaking your ham in boiling water. Instead, have the water at a gentler level so that the ham can simmer at a steady rate. This trick is super important in ensuring the meat does not lose any of its moistness.
Don’t Throw Away the Stock
The gammon stock that will build up as a result of the cooking process is something that you definitely want to keep for later on. It will bode well for an accompanying soup, casserole, or roast vegetables with your feast—adding an instant smoky flavour to anything it touches.
Roast With Foil
If you are opting for the roasting method over the poaching method, make sure that your gammon is covered with foil. This will hold the moistness in and be a guide in ensuring that the meat cooks at a lower level for longer. As we mentioned earlier, slow and steady is the way to go throughout the entire cooking process of gammon.
Get That Glaze Going
The glaze is really where you can take a gammon in so many different directions. To stay festive you can use spices like cinnamon or cloves. Or, go extra savoury with paprika or cumin glaze.
No matter what direction you take your glaze in, make sure the flavours stay simple and that you only use a few to hero the glaze. In the end, it should come out looking like honey.
Keep Basting Away
When it comes to cooking gammon, there is no such thing as over-basting. In fact, you should be trying to baste your gammon with the glaze at least every 15 minutes. This is because it reduces the risk of burning or getting dried out in the oven. Again, slow and steady with the gammon.
Quality Gammon Makes a Difference
No matter how good you are in the kitchen, one of the driving forces of making a gammon turn into a phenomenal tasting ham is the quality of meat you purchase. Ideally, you want to purchase the finest quality gammon that is within your budget. Quality meat will be a huge factor in how your end result tastes.
The Easy and Delicious Recipe for Cooking Gammon
This recipe should take around 15 minutes for you to prepare and two hours for cooking time, resulting in enough portions to serve up to 10 people.
The Ingredients You Need
Before you get going with this gammon recipe, make sure you have everything you need out and ready to go in the kitchen. We are also recommending you go with the honey mustard glaze for this recipe. Items that you will need include:
1. Two kilograms of boneless gammon, the best quality that your budget allows for
2. One sprig thyme, two bay leaves, and one rosemary sprig all bunched and tied together
3. One halved onion, two chopped carrots, and one chopped celery stick
4. One tablespoon of peppercorn and one teaspoon of cloves
5. One and a half tablespoons of mustard
6. 70 grams of honey
7. Two tablespoons of brown sugar
The Simple Method for Cooking Gammon and Creating Ham
1. First, you will want to prepare your gammon by cooking it in a large saucepan. You will add in all the tied-up herbs along with the chopped onions, carrots, celery, peppercorn, and cloves. Make sure that there is enough water to cover all the ingredients that you have put into the saucepan and bring the water to boil.
2. Once the water is at a boiling point, simmer the heat to low and cover with a lid for one hour and 15 minutes. After the time is up, turn the heat off but leave everything in the saucepan for an additional 30 minutes.
3. You will now remove the liquid, but make sure to store it in a container so that you can use it as stock for soup, vegetables, or another side dish. The meat should be cool enough for you to easily peel off the first layer of skin, leaving the layer of fat exposed.
4. Now get your artistic skills out, as you will make a criss-cross pattern across the layer of fat with your knife. This is both for presentation and roasting effects, and it is simply a fun step in the process. While you are doing this, let your oven heat to 200 degrees Celsius.
5. Place your gammon on a roasting tray and secure foil on the baking tray. Mix up your glaze using the mustard, honey, and sugar in a bowl and slather the gammon with it. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, take the gammon out of the oven and cover it with the rest of your glaze and return to the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes.
6. Once you take the gammon out of the oven, you will officially have a roast ham. Leave it out of the oven to cool for at least 15 minutes before you start to carve it up. Now top it off with some garnishes and serve your ham to your impressed dinner crowd.
Final Thoughts on Cooking Gammon
The process of turning a gammon into a delicious roast ham is one that is certainly worth the time and energy involved. The majority of the work takes place in the oven, so it really is up to you to be an efficient timekeeper and not rush the process.
The type of glaze that you use for this recipe will also dictate the outcome of your ham. While we recommend the honey and mustard glaze, other delicious glazes to consider include membrillo glaze that uses quince paste, sticky glaze that uses pineapple juice, or sticky maple glaze that uses applesauce.
And remember, cooking a gammon is the process of getting the perfect roast ham. The steps you take and the tips and tricks you follow will help you master the art of serving up a memorable dish that will make for a memorable meal.
Our final piece of advice is to not shy away from making a large portion. Gammon makes for great leftovers.
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