Christmas is coming, and the best Christmas food is ham. Fact.
Here's our explanation of all things hammy.
Gammon or ham – what’s the difference?
Broadly speaking, gammon is a pork joint that has been cured but is still raw.
Once it is cooked, we call it ham.
What cut is a gammon, or ham?
We cure and sell the pork leg. We use the same pure bred, native, traditional breed pigs that we butcher for chops, shoulders, belly and sausages.
What's "green" gammon?
Green means it has been cured but not smoked. We cure our pork legs in a salt and spice brine that we make ourselves. Whether you get a green or smoked gammon/ham is a matter of taste. Smoked gammon has been cured then smoked.
Hard to say. It's nice to cook your own ham from a gammon; you get to choose how to do it, and the spices you use. It's also the most cost effective - but it does take time and a big pot, often in short supply at Christmas. We can cook you a ham, and you can glaze it yourself at home, or you can buy a glazed ham from us, all sticky and ready to go.
At The Butchery Ltd, over Christmas, we sell the following:
Green bone-in gammon, £8.50kg
Green boneless gammon, £12.50kg
Smoked bone-in gammon, £9kg
Smoked boneless gammon, £11.50kg
Cooked ham, £18.50kg
Glazed ham, £20.50kg
We don't sell bone-in joints that weigh less than 3.5kg. They would just be one weird big slice. If you want a whole leg, we can do that too.
How much do I need?
It depends what you want to do with it.
If you’re serving roast ham as a main course, we recommend you allow 300g per person of uncooked weight, plus more for extra hungry people and leftovers.
If you want a Christmas ham for slicing for sandwiches and such, you will need to think about how many people you have, how much fridge space you have, how long you want to be eating ham for...
I bought a green gammon from you. Do I need to soak it?
Here’s a useful way to test.
Cut a thin piece of gammon off the end and fry it till cooked through. Leave to cool, then taste it. If it’s too salty, give the gammon a soak for a good few hours or overnight in cold water. If you are in a rush you can bring to the boil, then change the water and start the chosen cooking method, though this way is not as effective.
I have a gammon, how do I make a glazed ham?
To start, always use a meat thermometer.
Very briefly: Soak it, simmer it, skin it, glaze it, bake it quickly; internal temp should be 65C.
More details, still easy: Soak the ham as needed. Place the ham in a saucepan large enough to hold it, and cover with cold water. Add a few bay leaves, a scant handful each of fennel seeds, coriander seeds and allspice berries, halved oranges if you like. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to a bare simmer, until the internal temperature reaches 60C (65C if you're not going to glaze until later), this can take a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Lift the ham out of the water, and set aside. Take off the skin with a sharp knife, leaving a good layer of fat. Score the fat into a diamond pattern. Put in the oven for 5 minutes while you make the glaze (with marmalade, honey, brown sugar, apricot jam, cranberry sauce, any sweetish chutneys in the fridge, maple syrup, golden syrup etc - whatever you like!). Pour/spread over the glaze and return the ham to the oven and cook till the glaze is sticky and burnished. Baste as necessary. You want the ham to have an internal temperature of 65C.
You can do the glazing stage later, on a cooled ham, in which case, simmer the gammon until 65C.
What other ways of cooking would you recommend?
Perhaps even more than a glazed ham, we like roast ham as a main meal. Soak as needed, then remove the skin, and slather the gammon with a dark glaze of spices, brown sugars and treacle, maybe some ale. Roast slowly in an oven preheated to 160C, basting with extra glaze as required, and cook so it’s sticky and really dark and 65C inside.
Fan of crackling?
We’ve used this recipe for crackling ham from Delicious magazine and had great success.
I need more recipe help!
There isn't a shortage of ham recipes out there.
Felicity Cloake’s perfect Christmas ham is a nice recipe and has some links to other recipes in the article.
Nigella likes to simmer it in cola or ginger ale .
How do I keep my ham?
We use a ham bag. That’s a soft cotton bag with a drawstring, or you can use an old, clean pillowcase or a tea towel. We mix a little vinegar with cold water, soak the bag, then wring it out really well. Then pop the ham in it, and keep it in the fridge. It helps it keep longer. Wash and then re-soak the bag in the vinegar solution every couple of days.
TOP TIPS for leftovers
Cheese and ham toasties are the best food probably ever, and the best use for Christmas ham and the Christmas cheeseboard post Christmas day. And we never get sick of having the Christmas ham about. But, if you're experiencing ham fatigue, slice or shred it into small pieces, portion it up in small bags and freeze it. Now you'll have emergency handfuls of ham to chuck into pea soup, chicken pies, spaghetti carbonara, on pizzas, in omelettes, etc..! Every freezer needs emergency ham.