Smoking for Idiots – Gammon

A relatively simple process with a little bit of preparation unlike some other meats.
It’s a two step process. Brining and then smoking.

The sequence is.

What you’ll need.

  • Gammon – make your choice on the size. I was smoking for two of us so it’s a small cut.
  • Brown Sugar 250g
  • Fennel Seeds  Half a teaspoon
  • Cloves  Half a teaspoon.
  • Mustard
  • Apple Juice.
    For the glaze you’ll need.
  • A drop or two of mustard (teaspoon)
  • Ground Nutmeg Half a teaspoon
  • Cinnamon Half a teaspoon
  • Brown Sugar – yes more. 50g or a shake and a bit.
  • Ground All Spice Half a teaspoon
  • Glug or two of Brandy or anything alcoholic really.

You’ll also need a pan or dish large enough to put your gammon in and cover it with the brine.

Time you’ll need – 18 hours total. Most of that is in the brining stage which is generally done the day before.


Take the Fennel seeds and cloves lightly fry them till you get a faint whiff of their aromas. Transfer them to a pestle and mortar and crush them. If you don’t have one of those, I’ve used a rolling pin on a flat surface before, or even the end of the rolling pin into a tea cup. As long as they get crushed.

Mix the spices and the sugar together. If you wanted to make sure it’s all crushed and mixed pop it into a food blender and blitz it. I find putting it into a mug and covering the end whilst shaking does the job just as well.

Put your gammon into the dish/pot you’re going to put it in the fridge with and then cover it with water (still in it’s wrapper is fine). Take the gammon out and that’s how much water you’ll need to boil. I was putting the pan I was going to boil the water in into the fridge so it’s an easy process.

Bring the water to simmer and then add 2/3rd of the crushed spices/sugar mix. Stir till most of it dissolves. The water should have a brown/red look about it. Take it off the heat.

Let the water cool back to room temperature.

Take your gammon and place it in the water, making sure it’s submerged fully. Pop it in the fridge over night.

Seal the remaining 1/3rd of your spice mix as you’ll need it tomorrow.

Smoking – Prep.

Take the gammon out of the fridge, wash off the brine and pat it dry. You’ll probably find it’s taken on a brown tinge from the brine.

Score the top of the gammon with a knife to create a diamond pattern.

Take the Mustard and give the meat a light covering, enough for the spice mix to stick to it.

Take the remaining 1/3rd of the spice mix you made yesterday and spread it all over the gammon, making sure it goes into all the crevices.

That’s it prepared and ready for the smoker.

Smoking – Smoking
Make sure your water tray is in place and has been filled up. For this one I used a mixture of apple juice and water.
Take make my life easier when filling this I generally put the tray in place and then using a repurposed container that has been sliced, I fill it with water from the outside tap and fill it in situ. Saves trying to keep it from spilling as you carry it through the house.

Get the smoker up to 100°C and get your two probe thermometer up and running. Obviously one for the smoker area and the other will be for the meat.

Place your meat directly above the water bath and close the lid.

Take a handful of apple wood chips, and put them in a tin foil pouch, piercing a few holes on the sides whilst making sure the edges are sealed. Put your wood chip tinfoil pouch on top of your coals and let the smoking begin.


After the smoking period (the first 45 minutes – 1 hour), it’s time to put the first coat of glaze on.

To make the glaze, take the glaze ingredients and put them in a pan, as you can see I’d normally use a glug of brandy but I was out of that so I used Amaretto as it was alcoholic and available.

  • A drop or two of mustard (teaspoon)
  • Ground Nutmeg Half a teaspoon
  • Cinnamon Half a teaspoon
  • Brown Sugar – yes more. 50g or a shake and a bit.
  • Ground All Spice Half a teaspoon
  • Glug or two of Brandy or anything alcoholic really.

Bring to a simmer, stirring so everything gets mixed. Keep stirring till it starts to run like thin honey. If doesn’t add a little more sugar.

Let it cool down and you’ll see it’ll thicken nicely.

Just before you glaze the gammon after the first hour of smoking – quickly heat the pan so it becomes runny, then glaze the meat. Paste onto the meat with a brush and get it into all the grooves/sides and bottom.

If you keep the temperature at a steady 100°C, it’ll probably take a good couple of hours (3-4) to cook the gammon. During this time; give it a couple of glazes an hour or so apart from each other.

You want to get the gammon to 63°C internally. Once it’s there; take it out and let it rest, wrapped in foil for 15 minutes or so.

You can then slice it and serve it how you wish (chips and fried egg being a personal favourite.)