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Food & Drink How To Hub: How to Cook a Ham Joint

A ham joint can be used for all sorts of dishes, from a proper roast dinner, to pies, sandwiches, salads and soups. The humble ham joint is a winner every time.

Here’s exactly how to cook a ham joint…

The ham

If you’re wondering how to cook a joint of ham, there are a few things you need to know first. In order to end up as ham, pork is put through a brining process. It’s soaked in salt, which is what makes it so salty. Depending on the ham you get, you may need to soak it in water to reduce the salty flavour a little.

Ham can be cooked in a number of ways depending on the kind of taste you want to go for. The most popular method is roast ham, but you can also poach it on the hob if you like. You can opt for smoked or unsmoked, but keep in mind smoked ham joints can turn out a bit too salty.

The glaze

For the glaze, mix a knob of butter with brown sugar and caramelise in the pan. You can add pineapples which go really well with ham, or some English mustard. Or for a quick solution, simply mix honey and mustard together.

The accompaniments

You can’t go wrong with a standard roast ham dinner. Cook some veg such as carrots, leeks and broccoli with your ham or opt for green beans and peas. Oh, and don’t forget those roasties!.

Cooking a ham joint

 Step 1. Put your ham in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring the water to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover it, and let it simmer for around 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

For extra flavour, you can also add onions, carrots, pepper and bay leaves.

Check the cooking instructions for accurate timings based on the size of joint you have (it’s usually around 20 minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz). Make sure you don’t let the water boil dry, keep it topped up.

Step 2. Place your ham in a roasting tin and cover with foil. Add any vegetables and potatoes.

Step 3. You may want to make a glaze for your ham (see above). Before you pop it in the oven, remove the skin and score your ham in a criss cross pattern, before brushing the glaze all over the ham with a pastry brush. Then add some cloves inside the scores.

Step 4. Put your ham joint in the oven for the designated amount of time. Ham joints will vary in cooking time depending on their size. Check instructions for temperature, but for a ham joint, low and slow in the oven is the best way to go.

How to serve a ham joint 

  • Let your ham rest for about fifteen to thirty minutes before serving up. This enables the juices to really soak in, plus it’ll make it easier to carve.
  • If there are any juices left over from your ham, you can use them to make a gravy.
  • If you want to serve your gammon cold, take it out to rest and return to room temperature for thirty minutes before serving.

Different ways to serve ham

A ham joint is a very versatile dish, meaning you can do something different with it each time you cook it! Here are just a few ham joint recipes.

  • Ham, egg and chips
  • Pea and ham soup
  • Ham and chicken pie
  • Ham omelette
  • Ham sandwiches
  • Ham quiche
  • Ham, leek and mushroom pasta


You’ve got the ham joint recipes and some top tips for cooking a joint of ham, now you just need to get your ingredients. Stock up on supplies at your local convenience store.