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The Perfect Christmas Ham: A Festive Guide

When it comes to Australian Christmas traditions, you just can’t beat a succulent, aromatic Christmas ham.  Roasted to perfection, a glistening glaze, and served with all the trimmings, a well-prepared Christmas ham can be the centrepiece of your Christmas table.

And at the Market we’re lucky that you can choose to walk away with a deliciously pre-done ham by Nick & Sue’s Gourmet Deli, or Commercial Butchers, which is guaranteed to be tasty, succulent and perfect every time.

However, for those wanting to go the extra mile and prepare their own, there are a few important things to take into consideration before rising to the challenge.

Selecting the Perfect Ham

Choose the right type: The first step to crafting the perfect Christmas ham is selecting the right type of ham. Our favourite is bone-in ham, hands down.

Consider the size: A good rule is to plan for 225 grams of ham per person if it’s the main dish.

Preparing the Ham

Preheat your oven: Preheat your oven to 160°C for a slow roast, which ensures even cooking and a moist ham.

Score the ham: Use a sharp knife to score the ham in a diamond or crosshatch pattern, approximately 1 cm deep. This not only looks beautiful when cooked but also allows the glaze to penetrate the meat.

Creating the Glaze

Ingredients: A great ham is all about the glaze, and you have a few options to choose from. Classic glazes include combinations of brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, cloves, and pineapple juice. Experiment with different flavours to find your favourite.

Applying the glaze: About 30 minutes before the ham is done cooking, start applying the glaze. Baste the ham generously and return it to the oven. Repeat this process every 10-15 minutes until the ham reaches its desired internal temperature.

Cooking and Timing

Cooking time: The cooking time for your Christmas ham depends on its size and type. A general rule is to roast it for about 15-20 minutes per kilogram. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 60°C for fully cooked ham.

Resting the ham: Once your ham is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15-30 minutes. This ensures a moist and tender result.

Serving and Presentation

Carving: When it’s time to carve your Christmas ham, follow the bone structure for bone-in ham or slice across the grain for boneless ham. A sharp carving knife will make this task much easier.

Accompaniments: Serve your ham with traditional sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls. The sweet and savoury ham pairs well with a variety of flavours.

Presentation: To make your ham the star of the show, garnish it with fresh herbs, citrus slices, or cherries for a festive touch. The glaze should give it a beautiful sheen.