All you need to know in order to prepare the perfect Christmas Day ham!


  • whole ham on the bone (approx 7 ½ lb/3.5kg)
  • 4 tblsp irish mist
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 4 tblsp irish whiskey marmalade
  • 18 cloves


  • Soak the ham first for up to an hour.
  • Put into a pot, cover with water and bring to the boil.
  • Allow to simmer for about 2 hours and turn off the heat allowing the meat to cool in the cooking liquor.
  • Remove the ham from the cooking liquor and using a sharp knife remove the rind leaving a even layer of fat. Score diamond shaped lines into the fat and stud the cloves into the layer of fat and put onto a baking tray.
  • To make the glaze mix the sugar, marmalade and Irish Mist together until well combined. Spread this over the cloves studded ham
  • Loosely cover with tin foil and bake in the oven at 150C (300F/Gas 2) for about an hour or perhaps a little more, depending largely on your oven.
  • Take the tin foil off at this stage and turn up the heat for an additional 20 minutes until browned.
  • Rest the meat for an additional 30 minutes out of the oven before slicing.
  • Cooking your ham graphic: 8/10 lb. around 3 1/2 hours, 10/12 lb. around 3 1/2 to 4 hours, 12/15 lb around 4 to 4 1/2 hours, 15/18 lb around 4 1/2 to 5 hours, 18/22 lb. around 5 to 6 hours, 22/24 lb around 6 to 6 1/2 hours


  • I prefer to cook my ham by placing in a pot and bringing it to the boil then simmering for 2 – 2 ½ hrs before putting into the oven to bake for the final hour, but if you prefer to bake your ham from the start here are my recommendations:
  • After allowing the Ham to soak in water for at least 2 – 4 hours, pat dry and place ham fat side up on a rack in a shallow baking pan and add a little water under rack - cover with foil and bake for the following times, but remember to remove the foil for the last half hour.

Kevin's tips:

Hams are sold with or without the bone. You will need approximately 3/4 pound of bone-in ham per person, or 1/4 pound of boneless ham. When you freeze ham you take away from the quality of the meat. If you do freeze wrap tightly and do not freeze over 2 months.

Alternatively you can turn any leftovers into a savoury pea soup and then freeze the soup! You can store tightly wrapped left over ham in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Baking with glaze will add more flavour and help keep the meat moist, (it's not necessary to do but it does add a nice touch). Do not baste ham in its own juices when baking as this will make the joint salty. Let ham rest before slicing for up to 30 minutes before slicing.