Traditional Christmas gammon

Traditional Christmas Gammon

It is that time of the year again – time for a traditional Christmas gammon feast. Over the years I’ve tried a number of recipes. Back in 2009 I made one by cooking the gammon in Coke,  another year with a Chinese five-spice mix for an oriental flavour, a South African version with Castle lager, one with a mustard glaze and another with marmalade. Suffice to say, I’ve tried them all.

Yet, the one that never fails to satisfy is the traditional Christmas gammon topped with pineapple and a cranberry glaze. It’s tried and tested and even through the presentation may come straight from an 80’s Christmas table, we know it works. The only challenge is that the crispy glazed pineapple rings also become a very hot commodity at the Christmas table. So if you do not spark and get yourself a piece, someone will be sure to have grabbed it already – evidenced by the picture below. ;-(

Traditional Christmas Gammon dinner
Traditional Christmas Gammon dinner with all the trimmings

I was also quite surprised that we never uploaded any of our gammon recipes to Sustenance before – an obvious oversight, since gammon is a firm favourite in the house.

Just one thing to remember, if you use a smoked gammon then pre-cooking it in a vegetable broth/bath is not necessary in my opinion. Slow roasting on a 160/180 oven should do the trick. Otherwise you can prepare a bath by placing the gammon in a pot with enough fresh water to half cover the joint. Add some peppercorns, parsley stalks, an onion, a carrot and a bay leaf. Heat up to just about to boiling point and then set to a slow simmer. You don’t want to boil the gammon. Then just finish it off under the grill to glaze and crisp up.

I therefore present to you the recipe for a traditional Christmas gammon topped with pineapple and a cranberry glaze.

Traditional Christmas gammon

Traditional Christmas gammon

Traditional Christmas gammon topped with pineapple and a cranberry glaze. An old family favourite that stood the test of time.


  • 1 large gammon (approx 2-3kg)
  • sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup/jar cranberry jelly
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Pineapple rings (1 fresh or 1 can)
  • Toothpicks to secure the cherries and pineapple rings to the gammon
  • 12 cloves


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Rub the gammon with the olive oil an sea salt.
  3. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes per 500g plus an extra 30 minutes.
  4. When cooked through, remove the rind and score the fat in a diamond pattern.
  5. Place a few cloves randomly along the diamond pattern.
  6. Use toothpicks to secure the pineapple rings and the cherries to the fatty part of the gammon.
  7. Heat the cranberry jelly, syrup from the pineapples (if you used canned) and butter in a small saucepan until melted.
  8. Pour 1 cup water into the roasting tray so that the gammon does not dry out.
  9. Glaze the gammon with the cranberry syrup, then return the gammon to the oven until the fat caramelises.
  10. Leave the gammon to rest for 15 minutes before carving into thin slices. (remember to take out the toothpicks).

Let me know what flavour profile you like for your Christmas gammon dish.

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