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Why using Guinness will transform your Christmas ham

Fan favourite and frankly the real star of the show, the festive ham is the Robin to turkey’s Batman. Here’s how to make your ham the best yet using a can of Guinness.

If you’re looking for an easy, cost-effective way to level-up your Christmas ham then a can of stout could be the answer.

According to the experts, baking your ham in Guinness not only adds depth of flavour but can also stop your ham from drying out in the oven.

Pouring a 500ml can of Guinness into the baking tray before putting the ham in to roast, as well as using the stout to baste the ham every 10 minutes, will infuse the meat with a malty flavour that contrasts with the sweetness of the ham.

The yeasted hops and barley used to produce Guinness provide notes of coffee and chocolate, which will take your glaze to another level.

What’s more, cooking your ham with stout creates a deep brown crust for a wow effect when you carry your ham to the Christmas table.

If you want to get a bit more complex then try making a sticky glaze by heating Guinness in a saucepan with brown sugar and two teaspoons of mustard until the mixture thickens, and using it to baste your ham throughout the cooking period for a beautiful caramelised coating with a slightly crisp finish. Some like to add honey and/or marmalade to the mixture for an added layer of flavour.

For a booze-free ham, chefs can substitute traditional Guinness for Guinness 0.0. The alcohol-free extension of the brand is about to become even more visible in 2024 as production is due to expand by 300% following a €25 million investment by parent company Diageo.

Of course it doesn’t have to be Guinness. Conor McGregor’s Forged Irish Stout is a blend of different malts, including pale malt, crystal malt, Irish malt, black malt, roasted barley, and wheat, which could make your ham a knock-out. The UFC champion’s stout brand, which recently landed a major on-trade deal, is also available in 400 ASDA supermarkets across the UK.

Forged Irish Stout has the same alcohol content (4.2% ABV) as Guinness.

For something a bit punchier without overwhelming the flavour of the ham, you can pick up a 500ml bottle of Black Sheep Milk Stout (at 4.4% ABV) from Tesco for £2. This creamy stout is brewed with lactose and packs in notes of chocolate, vanilla and coffee with a light bitterness.

The Dorset-made Badger Coffee Stout, available in Morrisons for £2.50 per 500ml bottle, has noticeable toffee flavours, which could lead to a show-stopping Christmas ham. It comes in at 5% ABV.




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