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How to Cook and Prepare on your Own Gammon and Ham

Why cook your own ham?

Indulge in the art of cooking your own ham, and discover a world of flavours that surpasses anything you’ll find in supermarket chillers. From satisfying family snacks to delightful sandwiches, packed lunches, and even versatile meals like risotto, omelettes, soup, and quiches, the possibilities are endless. Plus, by preparing your own ham, you have the power to determine the perfect balance of salt and sugar, making it a healthier and more conscious choice. Embrace the joy of homemade ham and elevate your culinary creations to a whole new level!

Home cooked ham

What’s the difference between a gammon and ham?

This is a common question we get asked at our Farmers Market stalls and our butcher shops. They are essentially the same cut, taken from the hind legs of a pig. A gammon is raw and usually cured and once cooked becomes a ham.

What size of gammon to use?

Gammons come in kilo sizes from 1kg right up to 8kgs and is offered smoked or unsmoked and with bone or without. Having the bone kept in gives a greater depth of flavour but makes carving a bit harder. You’ll also get better stock from a bone in joint.

If you are cooking your ham for the first time, stick with boneless and a smaller cut. We used a 1KG gammon here to show how easy it can be. Once you’ve mastered this, you can go for a 4KG show stopper for your next party centre piece.

How to prepare your gammon joint

To soak or not to soak? Check with your butcher or pack instructions whether you need to soak your gammon. Here at Puddledub, our gammons do not need soaking as they have been mild cured.

When to soak your gammon?

Traditionally gammons were cured in large amounts of salt as a preservative. Soaking was necessary to remove all this salt to prevent it spoiling the flavour.

Cooking your Gammon

Before you start
1. Weigh your meat to calculate cooking times. To work out your cooking time, allow 20 minutes per lb (1lb is 454g). For example for a 1KG gammon it’s going to be 40 minutes.
2. Now is the time to double check your gammon fits in your pot and the lid can close properly.
3. Most gammon are bound with string. Keep these intact at this stage. 

We have put the following recipe together with Jenny Thomson at Courses for Cooks. We have a used a 1kg unsmoked bone removed Gammon. It’s pretty much the smallest gammon you can get and costs from £7 to over £15 depending on your supplier. An unsmoked Puddledub 1kg gammon is £9.06.

Gammon with a Clove & Mustard Crust

Serves 4


1kg Puddledub gammon
750ml good quality ginger beer
½ tsp peppercorns
1 stick celery
2 small carrots
1 medium onion

For the Glaze
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
1 tsp English mustard powder
Whole cloves


1. Put the meat, ginger beer, vegetables and peppercorns into a deep sided pot, top up to just cover the meat with water.

2. Bring to the boil, put a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes per kilo.

3. Mix the demerara sugar and English mustard powder together with 1 tsp water to make a paste for the glaze.

4. Once the meat has cooked for its allotted time, remove from the pot onto an oven proof dish.

5. Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

6. Remove any string holding the gammon together.

7. With a sharp knife, remove the rind from the gammon, leaving a layer of fat attached to the meat.

TIP from the Butchery Topside gammon joints, like the one featured below, do not have fat attached to the cut. A slice of fat is attached by your butcher and bound by string. Removing the rind and scoring the layer of fat and also applying the glaze can be tricky but it does mean topside is the leanest gammon cut.  All other gammon cuts have a layer of fat attached to the cut which makes trimming the rind and scoring the thin layer of fat much easier. (Don’t burn yourself!)

Cutting the rind

8. Score the fat in a criss cross pattern, push cloves into the cuts, then spread the sugar and mustard mixture evenly over the top of the fat.

9. Place in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, then remove from the oven.

10. If eating hot, allow the meat to rest for 10min before carving. If eating cold, allow to cool completely then refrigerate overnight before slicing for sandwiches etc.

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