Sunday 6 December 2015

Glazing a Ham

I have glazed hams several ways over the years.  The very best so far was when I bought a “raw ham” from the butcher which I then cooked at a very low temperature for about 8 hours on the day before and then finished off with a glaze at a moderate temperature for around 40 to 45 minutes – ie enough time to colour the glaze and warm the ham right through again.  If you were glazing at the end of the 8 hours you wouldn’t need anywhere near as long for the glaze – say 20 minutes.  But the 8 hour thing was a real mission on a hot day.  So I will stick with a cooked ham this year.

The best glazes mix something sweet, with something alcoholic and something tart/spicy.  So mixes like the ones I have listed all work well:

Brown sugar, whiskey, sherry, port or brandy, hot English mustard and marmalade
Brown sugar, orange juice, Dijon mustard and honey
Brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard and orange zest
Apricot jam, brandy and mustard
Cranberry sauce, honey and mustard
Honey and wasabi or horseradish

You could add a little ginger and/or chilli to almost all of these to add some extra kick.

Don’t worry too much about the relative quantities.  Glazing is pretty forgiving.  You do need about a cup and a half of glaze or more to ensure you can keep basting over the ham every 5 to 10 minutes during the glazing process.

I do stud the ham with cloves.  And I think it is a good idea to buy new cloves every year rather than using the old musty ones from the year before.  I put them either in the intersections between the diamonds of fat you have scored or in the middle of the diamonds – it doesn’t seem to make much difference.  One year I did the scoring too deeply and squares fell off which wasn’t so good.  So a light scoring is best.

Don’t forget to take the skin off before you start.  Leave a nice layer of fat because this is what holds the glaze and makes it taste great.  Even if you don’t eat fat the rest of the year, a tiny bit with a Christmas ham will be a treat.


  1. Yum, ham! Thanks for all the cool glazing ideas. The honey mustard is pretty classic, and I like the idea of marmalade or cranberry sauce.

  2. I don't think I've ever dealt with a raw ham. I love ham but I've only gotten it pre-cooked and glazed. I love your different flavor profiles - especially the brown sugar, orange juice, dijon mustard and honey. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

  3. Wow that looks delicious. I agree that it's worth buying new cloves -- so much more flavorful

  4. I've been looking at recipes for cooking a ham in my Crock Pot. Good idea about getting rid of old spices. In fact, I'm tackling and reorganizing my spice cabinet today, so it's a very timely reminder for me to be ruthless!

  5. Thanks for the reminder, I did one 2 years ago and it was fantastic and I'm not a big fan of ham. Might put it on the menu this Christmas.

  6. Congratulations!
    Your recipe was featured on Full Plate Thursday. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen


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