How to cook and prepare your own gammon and ham

How to cook and prepare your own gammon and ham

Cooking and preparing your own ham

Looking to cook your own ham at home? We’ve put together a simple and easy to follow recipe for you.


Why cook your own ham?

Cooking your own ham really does give you a product far superior to the ham you’ll find in supermarket chillers.

It’s well worth the effort and once cooked, it will keep well in the fridge and can be used for family snacks, sandwiches, packed lunches as well as multiple family meals like risotto, omelettes, soup and quiches.

It's healthier too as you are in control the salt and sugar content.

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.

We are also going all out and using ginger beer rather than water on this first attempt at cooking our ham. The upside of this is it will produce a lovely sweet flavour with a mild kick but the downside is you can’t use the liquid afterwards as stock.

Gammon with a Clove & Mustard Crust
Serves 4

Preparing the gammon


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.

Cook your own ham at home

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. Be careful however as it will be hot. 

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 – 30min, 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 refridgerate overnight before slicing for sandwiches etc.


Nutritional Information Per serving. This recipe serves 4.
Kcals 327
Fat 13.3g
Saturates 5.4g
Carbohydrate 3g
Protein 49.3g
Sugar 2.7g
Salt 3mg

Why cook your own ham?

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Joanna Mitchell

Joanna Mitchell

Jo Mitchell is a member of the Mitchell family and helps market Puddledub. Mum of 2 boys and living on the family farm helps Jo tell the story of farm life and provenance as well as sampling many of Puddledub's gluten free products.