Smoked Vanilla & Whiskey Glazed Ham With Pineapple Relish

Smoked Vanilla & Whiskey Glazed Ham With Pineapple Relish

Celebrate the holiday season with sensational feasts featuring a perfectly cooked ham taking centre stage on your Christmas table. Enhance your culinary skills with our expert tips and techniques for baking a delectable ham that will leave your guests in awe. Renowned Chef Russell Billing shares an extraordinary recipe to not only impress your diners but also tantalise their taste buds with an exceptionally flavorful ham and make your Christmas memorable with a ham that's not just visually stunning but irresistibly delicious.

Tips for The Perfect Christmas Ham
1. Select the Perfect Ham
2. Preparation matters
3. Score and glaze the ham
4. Baking with the right equipment
5. Basting techniques

Selecting the Perfect Ham

Selecting the best possible ham for your budget is paramount to ensuring optimal results. Selecting ham on the bone guarantees a better quality of meat as well as flavour and tenderness. The colour of the meat should be an even pink and a decent amount of fat coverage will help ensure the ham doesn’t dry out while it’s cooking.


Preparation Matters

Ensure you have all ingredients on hand and carefully read the instructions to ensure you understand all the required steps. The order of preparation is important as some ingredients require preparation before others. For example, in the recipe below, Chef Russell Billing provides instructions for preparing the glaze that is used during the baking process.


Score and Glaze the Ham

When baking a ham, it should be scored in long continuous strokes. Chef Russell Billing recommends scores 1cm apart in one direction before rotating the ham and repeating in the other direction to form a diamond pattern. This allows the glaze to penetrate and create a beautifully caramelised exterior however it’s important to avoid cutting into the flesh as this will dry the meat during the cooking process.


Baking with The Right Equipment

Baking ham in large quantities for commercial catering or restaurant service does not need to be a time-consuming exercise. With the right equipment, this can be a simple process with high quality and consistent results. Chef Russell Billing uses the Rational iCombi Pro to prepare his delectable recipe below. This commercial equipment uses intuitive technology to prepare food, tasty ham in this instance, with excellent results.

iCombi Pro Combi Ovens are easy to use, self-cleaning and feature so many benefits you’ll be spoilt for choice when preparing meals in these ovens. Rational provides free demonstrations with advice to help you select the most appropriate model for your kitchen. Book an appointment today to get started on the journey to efficient cooking with consistent results every time.


Basting techniques

To keep your ham moist as it bakes, basting is the secret sauce. Chef Russell Billing suggests generously brushing the ham with the pan juices approximately every 15 minutes until it's beautifully caramelized all around. This technique seals in the flavour, creating a symphony of tastes that diners are sure to relish.

In the recipe below, Chef Russell Billing delivers step-by-step instructions to prepare a Smoked Vanilla & Whiskey Glazed Ham with Pineapple Relish. This recipe will leave a lasting impression on all who eat it with unique flavour profiles that will leave diners begging for more.


  • 1 leg ham, rind removed & score the fat
  • 20g dried cloves
  • Fine Manuka smoking chips


Ham Glaze

  • 5g flaky sea salt
  • Finely grated rind of 2 oranges plus 500ml strained orange juice
  • 300g honey
  • 380g caster sugar
  • 125ml Scotch Whiskey or Bourbon
  • 30g vanilla paste or 2x vanilla pods
  • 300g salted butter
  • 2tbsp dijon mustard


Pineapple Relish

  • 2tsp fish sauce
  • 1 fresh pineapple diced
  • 1 cup loosely packed coriander finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint finely chopped
  • 4tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4tbsp lime juice
  • 2 long red chilli finely chopped
  • 5 red shallots thinly sliced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, stalks removed, thinly sliced
  • 150g caster sugar



Ham Glaze

For ham glaze, combine orange rind, juice, honey, vanilla, mustard, sugar and sea salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and temperature reaches 118°C on a sugar thermometer. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in whisky and butter. Cool to room temperature before glazing the ham.

Pineapple Relish

For pineapple relish, combine sugar and 100ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir occasionally until sugar dissolves then simmer until syrupy (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add remaining ingredients, transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

The Ham

Place Vario Smoker into your iCombi Pro and select the smoking icon. Then select low-temperature smoking, and set the internal temperature to 50°C with the searing level medium/high.

Score ham in long continuous strokes about 1cm apart before rotating the ham and repeating in the other direction to form a diamond pattern (be careful not to cut into the flesh). Stud with cloves in the centre of each diamond.

Place ham in a roasting pan and pour glaze over to coat completely. Reposition any cloves that have moved,

Load the ham in when the iCombi prompts you to do so, basting with pan juices and any remaining glaze every 15 minutes or so until the ham is caramelised all over and the internal temperature has been reached. (1¼-1½ hours).

Cool briefly, then slice to serve.