South African’s don’t turkey for Christmas, we gammon

If South Africa had a national drink it would be brandy and coke and unlike our American counterparts, a turkey just does not cut it on the average South African’s Christmas table.

Why not celebrate our unique pallet and put the two together this Christmas? That’s right, you could be serving a brandy and coke glazed gammon this Christmas.


  • Large gammon, weighing 2.5kg to 3 kg, bone in or out
  • 1 can (330 ml) ginger ale
  • 1 bottle (330 ml) of your favourite beer
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 thumb-length quill of cinnamon
  • Large blade of mace (or a quarter of a nutmeg, grated)
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) whole black peppercorns
  • water (to cover)
  • whole cloves (to stud)

For the glaze:

  • 1 can (330 ml) Coca-Cola
  • 4 tsp (20 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) hot English mustard powder
  • 100 ml brown sugar
  • 1tsp (5 ml) instant coffee
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) brandy of your choosing

Weigh your gammon or make a note of the weight printed on the label. This will determine how long you need to cook it.

Put the gammon, ginger ale, beer, star anise, bay leaves, cloves, onion, cinnamon, mace and peppercorns into a large deep pot. Add enough water to cover the gammon and bring the water to the boil then turn down the heat so that the gammon cooks at a slow simmer.

Partially cover the pot with a tilted lid. If you’re using a boneless gammon cook the meat for 30 to 40 minutes per kilogram. If you’re using a gammon with a large bone, cook it for 45 to 55 minutes per kilogram or according to the instructions on the wrapping. Top up with more water if necessary.


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