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Christmas dinner traditions vary from family to family.

While most of us have turkey on the big day, it’s not uncommon for people to have another meat such as ham on the side to double up as leftovers for the Boxing Day feast.

Whether you’re looking to improve your ham-cooking skills this Christmas, or you’re cooking it for the very first time, we’ve got you covered.

Daily Star spoke to Ligia Lugo, culinary expert, recipe developer and co-founder of The Daring Kitchen and Vie De La Vegan and Michelin Starred chef Jeff Baker to find out exactly how it should be done.

The duo discusses everything from what ham to buy, to the common mistakes we’re making and a step-by-step for how it’s done.

Use bone-in ham
The first thing to consider is what ham to buy says Ligia.

“For the most delicious Christmas ham go for bone-in ham.

“The meat is juicier and after you have finished with it you can use the bone to make an amazon broth.”

Add a glaze and some spice
To give the ham some flavour, whip up a tasty glaze.

“A syrupy glaze will give the Christmas ham a burnished and caramelized finish”, says Ligia.

“You can use runny honey or maple syrup.

“Add a snappy spice like mustard or ginger to give some extra depth.

“Citrus juice or vinegar will add some acidity to help balance the sweetness, especially if you add sugar for additional caramelization.”

Baste regularly
Once the ham has been glazed, it’s time to put it in the oven.

But Ligia says: “Do not forget to baste the ham every 10-15 minutes as your glaze reduces.”

Common mistakes:
Not covering the ham
Just before you put your ham into the oven, cover it with tin foil stresses Ligia.

“If it is cooked uncovered the ham may end up dry.

“It should be covered for at least half of the cooking time so make sure to get an aluminum foil or an oven bag.

“Remove the cover during the second half of the cooking for the glazing process.”

Cooking at too high of a temperature:
Ligia added: “You don’t want that because the meat will dry out.

“Give the meat enough time and cook it at 275-300 F.”

Now be sure to put these tips to the test when following Michelin Starred chef, Jeff Baker, from Farmison & Co’s recipe.

Jeff recommends making a glaze of black treacle (150ml), whiskey (4tbsp), mustard powder (2 tbsp) and vegetable oil.

Ingredients:
2.5kg unsmoked gammon joint
300ml black treacle
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 tsp ground mace
1 tbsp black peppercorns
10 cloves
10 juniper berries
For the glaze:
150ml black treacle
4 tbsp whiskey
2 tbsp mustard powder
Vegetable oil to grease
Method:

  1. Soak the gammon in cold water for a couple of hours pre-cooking.
  2. To cook, use a pan that can hold the joint comfortably.
  3. Dissolve 300ml of the black treacle with 700 ml freshly boiled water and stir.
  4. Pour the treacle mix over the gammon with the bay and spices then top up with water to cover, bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for around 2½-3 hours, until the middle of the ham reaches 65°C when tested with a digital thermometer & the meat is easy to pierce.
  5. Leave to cool in the broth until you can handle it or leave to cool completely.