Honey-baked ham

This recipe is also posted up under First take your ham - on the Lucky Dip page.  For further information about what to do with both the ham and ham stock, click on to that article and watch out for further ham-related recipes.

The cooking time will alter according to the weight of your gammon.  As a rough guide, allow 30 minutes per kilo, plus an extra 30 minutes in total cooking time.  Luckily honey-baked ham is very forgiving.

Serves 6

1.150kg free range, dry-cured smoked or unsmoked gammon joint

2 onions, halved

2 sticks celery, cut into a few pieces

2 large carrots, cut into a few pieces

4 sprigs parsley

1 bay leaf


Whole cloves for studding

2 tablespoons runny honey

2 tablespoons pale Muscovado sugar

1 tablespoon English mustard powder


1 Rinse the gammon under the cold tap and place in a large saucepan.  Cover completely with cold water.  Add the onions, celery, carrots, parsley and bay leaf.


2  Set over a high heat.  As the liquid heats, it will begin to throw up some scum.  Skim frequently until the mixture starts to boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.  Skim and leave to simmer uncovered for an hour.  Then remove the pan from the heat and leave the ham to cool in the broth for an hour or so.

Lift the gammon out of its broth and place on a plate.  Strain the broth into a containers. Mine gammon yielded around 3.7 litres stock.  Once it is tepid, cover and chill or freeze until needed for soup.

4  Heat the oven to fan assisted 180ºC/gas 5.  Using a small knife, peel away the tough skin of the gammon joint.  I usually remove the string as it no longer fits the size of the cooked joint.  Lightly score the fat in a diamond pattern.  Stud the diamond corners with cloves. 

5 Place a large sheet of baking paper in a shallow roasting tray – this saves on the washing up!  Place the gammon on the paper.  Mix together the honey, sugar and mustard powder.  Rub this all over the gammon. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes.  It is ready when the mixture has melted into a sticky glaze.

6 Honey-baked ham can be served hot, warm or cold.  It’s lovely eaten warm with butter-soaked jacket potatoes and Branston pickle or home-made piccalilli – there’s a lovely recipe in my new vegetable book.

For crusty rolls, use unsalted butter and season the finely sliced ham with Dijon mustard and gherkins.

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