26 September 2023

Glaze for Christmas Ham

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By Christine Salins.


While Christmas this year is likely to look a little different for many people, one thing remains true: a glazed Christmas ham is an Aussie staple and the perfect centrepiece for any Christmas feast. It’s incredibly easy to prepare, fulfilling my mantra of minimum effort, maximum effect.

We’ve got a wonderful glaze recipe here, courtesy of Victorian producer, Otway Pork, but first some tips on how to prepare your ham. Take it out of the fridge an hour before starting, as this makes it much easier to remove the skin.

When you’re ready to remove the skin, use a small knife to cut through the skin 10cm from the top of the hock. Gently slide the knife between the skin and the fat at the front of the ham. Run the knife (or your hand) under the skin and gently peel it back until only a layer of fat is left.

Score the ham by cutting it in a crisscross pattern to form even diamonds across the layer of fat, avoiding cutting the meat underneath. Scoring the ham allows the glaze to stick and the fat to render, creating a glorious golden crisp finish.

For food safety reasons, make sure the ham is not out of the fridge for more than two hours. To store it, soak a ham bag in a mixture of 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Wring out the ham bag, place the ham inside and refrigerate. To keep the ham really fresh, soak the bag in a similar water/vinegar mix every couple of days.

Otway Pork produces an array of pork products from fresh cuts to sausages, meatballs and small goods but the crème de la crème is its Christmas ham, cured in a brine developed and refined over 20 years by their head butcher, a third-generation butcher.

A few weeks ago we reviewed The Ethical Omnivore, which advocates choosing meat produced under “sustainable, compassionate and ecologically beneficial” systems. Australian-owned Otway Pork would seemingly fit the bill, having been founded in 1999 by a group of agricultural experts and being the country’s largest producer of pigs that live outdoors with access to shelter.

Its seven farms in Western Victoria only farm and sell female pigs, unusual in Australia but a practice that ensures the pork is of a consistent high standard and doesn’t contain boar taint. The pigs thrive on a natural grain-based diet and Otway Pork owns and manages the entire process, from the farms to the boning facility and all the way to retail – something that is also rare within the industry.

Its products are available in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia from select Coles, Woolworths, IGAs, independent supermarkets and select butchers and specialist stores.

Otway Pork’s Christmas Ham Glaze

½ cup orange marmalade

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together until thick and the sugar has dissolved.

Heat the oven to 240 deg C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Brush half the glaze mixture onto the fat of the ham, making sure that you get the glaze into all the scored diamonds. The total cooking time for the ham is 30 minutes but remove it from the oven every 10 minutes to baste the ham with the remaining glaze mix.

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