The Best Way to Smoke a Ham

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Contrary to popular belief, ham is one of the greatest meats to smoke. Not only is ham irresistibly tasty when properly cooked, but it is also simple to smoke.

While most people are accustomed to baked hams, nothing beats the taste of a low and slow-smoked ham.

What Is Ham?

Ham, often known as fresh ham, is the hind leg of a hog.

Hams are made from the top of the back leg, from the knee to the hip, and include the powerful meaty posterior muscles.

Ham, like other pieces of meat, may be roasted with or without the bone.

Ham, on the other hand, may be pre-cured and cooked in a variety of ways.

The ultimate outcome of your ham is determined by the kind of hog utilized, as well as the cooking and curing technique.

Types of Ham

The ham world may be perplexing at times, but understanding the many sorts of hams can make the smoking process much simpler.

Fresh or green hams, dry-cured hams, injected hams, and wet-cured hams are the four varieties of hams.

Yet, when you buy a ham, it is generally sold under a different name.

For example, Iberico ham, spiral sliced ham, prosciutto, boiling ham, Virginia ham, picnic ham, tinned ham, smoked ham, or Smithfield ham may be labeled.

Wet-wet cured hams are the most prevalent kind of ham. Before you buy these hams, they are brine-injected and pre-cooked.

The brine is normally made out of spices, sugar, salt, and a few other substances, and the cooking procedure is nearly always done with smoke.

Before to the invention of the refrigerator, this notion was developed to preserve huge portions of meat such as hog butt.

Wet-cured hams are pinkish-purple in color and frequently have a baked-on sweet glaze.

Moreover, wet-cured hams are often passed through a machine that gives them their trademark spiral cut as it turns through the apparatus.

Spiral sliced hams are easy to carve and may be eaten cold straight from the package.

They are frequently wrapped in plastic shrink wrap with the word “cooked” on the label.

In theory, since wet hams are pre-cooked, all you have to do to eat it hot is reheat it thoroughly.

Just avoid excessive heat and don’t cook the ham for too long. It is safe to drink after it hits 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, some people believe that the finest ham to smoke is fresh ham.

The perfect ham, according to these people, is uncured, boneless, and split in half.

While cured hams are widely available in supermarkets, finding a fresh ham might be challenging. You may, however, get a fresh ham from your neighborhood butcher.

A fresh ham takes around 5 hours to smoke at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The ham is done when it reaches a temperature of 165°F.

It’s also worth mentioning that a fresh ham must still be cured and coated before smoking.

Choose a fresh or frozen ham, but not a reduced sodium ham or a pre-smoked ham. The salty taste of ham is well-known.

Also, a significant amount of salt is spontaneously released from the ham when it is basted with the glaze.

Low-sodium hams do not have enough salt and are flavorless. Avoid low-sodium smoked hams unless you want an unpleasant, tasteless smoked ham.

Even though it is obvious that a pre-smoked ham is the last thing you want to smoke, it is still worth discussing.

Pre-cooked hams are often smoked or injected with a smoky-flavored liquor. Smoking a pre-smoked ham results in a double-smoked ham that may or may not taste well.

Finally, the perfect ham has been correctly stripped of its fat. A heavy fat cap should not be present on hams.

Nobody loves the coating of fat, and it serves no function in terms of imparting moisture or taste to the ham.

Additionally, the glaze should cover the meat, which will be eaten rather than the fat, which will be discarded.

Whole or Half Ham

Whether you buy a full or half ham depends on how many people you want to feed and how many portions you believe your guests will devour.

A whole ham weighs 18-20 pounds and includes the butt and shank. A half ham, on the other hand, is a butt or a shank.

Each visitor will consume around three-quarters of a bone-in ham. To make things easy, a 7-8 pound half ham is great if there are 10 or less individuals.

If you’re feeding 15 people, an 11-12 pound ham is ideal.

Hot Tip
If you are hosting a large gathering and are feeding more than 20 people, a 15 pound or larger whole ham is the way to go.

Natural Juices or Water Added

Water was added during the wet curing process, according to most ham labels.

Whilst it is typical to believe that the more water there is, the more moisture there is, this is not the case with ham.

Sadly, adding extra water to the ham reduces its taste and texture.

If water or a water product is added, the only ham available is ham; opt for a ham with 18.5%-17% protein.

The proportion of protein may be seen in the nutritional facts.

Spiral or Non-spiral Ham

Whether you choose a spiral or non-spiral ham is determined by how easy you want the smoking procedure to be. To be honest, both forms of ham are delicious.

Spiral hams, on the other hand, smoke quicker than uncut hams. Also, there is no need to slice them, and the more smoky taste is imparted between the pieces of meat.

An uncut ham, on the other hand, allows you to score the outside of the flesh with a gorgeous diamond pattern, making the ham more visually attractive.

The ham may also be carved into bigger pieces, making it less prone to dry up during the smoking process.

Butt or Shank

With disputes over sirloin vs. ribeye and pork shoulder vs. pig butt, it’s no wonder that there’s one over whether hog butt or shank is superior.

When the butt is sliced from the top region of the thigh, it is more sensitive and tasty than its counterpart.

Yet, since this incision includes a portion of the hip bone, it is more difficult to slice.

The shank is the lowest section of the leg that gives the leg its distinctive funnel shape. The shank is somewhat more durable than the shank.

It does, however, have a great taste and is much simpler to cut.

How to Smoke Ham Without Drying It Out?

The secret to a moist ham is to baste it during the cooking process. Every 30-45 minutes, baste the ham with your preferred liquid.

In addition, if your ham seems to be drying out too much after the first hour, you may cover it with foil.

How to Reheat a Smoked Ham?

It is simple to reheat a smoked ham. Cover the ham in foil and place it in a 325°F oven until it reaches a temperature of 135°F to 140°F.

You may also reheat your ham in the oven by placing it in an oven bag.

You should allow 10 minutes for each pound of ham to reheat.

Do I Have to Cure My Ham Before Smoking It?

Although curing ham is not required, it does help you keep the meat’s fluids and the ham’s unique pink hue. It is recommended to think about curing ham in this manner if you want a moist, juicy ham that genuinely looks like ham.

What Do I Spray on Ham When Smoking?

Most people use apple cider vinegar, melted butter, stock, or apple juice to spritz their hm. Nonetheless, pineapple juice complements the salty taste of the ham exceptionally nicely.

Any of these liquids will work well as a basting liquid as long as you use a food-grade spray container.

Wood Chips

Everyone understands how vital wood chips are to the smoking process, whether you smoke ribs 3-2-1 style or brisket.

Although though curing, brining, and basting the ham with a glaze are all important steps in the smoking process, if you smoke your meat with the incorrect sort of wood, the taste will be off.

Various kinds of wood chips have distinct tastes. To compliment the sort of meat they are smoking, most BBQ specialists have devised their own secret mix of wood chips.

Some people favor hickory, while others prefer cherry.

However, pecan wood is an excellent method to flavor ham. Pecan wood offers a subtle nutty taste that does not overpower the ham flavor.

How to Smoke a Ham

After buying your ham, you must defrost it before gathering your resources.

2-2 cups of pineapple juice. You’ll need a smoker, aluminum foil, your favorite wood chips, a bottle of honey mustard, 1 pound of brown sugar, and 1 12 teaspoon of salt.

If you do not have a smoker, you may set up hot and indirect heating zones on your grill and smoke the ham on the cooler side.

After that, preheat your smoker. Fill your smoker with coals, making sure to include your choice wood chips.

Start your smoker and let it to reach 225F after you have all of your cooking utensils and supplies.

Remove the ham from its packing and pat dry with paper towels during the pre-heating step.

Spread the dijon mustard over the exterior of the ham, then gently coat it with the brown sugar to make a paste on the hand.

Remember that the ham will get a stronger layer of brown sugar later in the roasting process, so don’t overdo it.

Add the ham to the smoker after the pre-heating step is complete.

Remove it from the smoker after two hours and set it on a piece of aluminum foil.

Baste the ham with pineapple juice, cover it in aluminum foil, and return it to the smoker for an hour.

After an hour, take a temperature reading on your ham. The internal temperature of the ham should be between 140F and 145F.

Unwrap the top of the foil but do not take it off the ham to glaze it.

Bend the foil to form a makeshift boat to keep the ham’s juices from escaping. Apply a thick layer of brown sugar on the ham, then baste it with pineapple juice.

Pour the pineapple juice into a spray bottle for this stage if possible.

The pineapple juice dissolves the brown sugar, and the smoker’s heat produces a gorgeous, delectable glaze that works nicely with the glaze’s salty, smoky taste.

Continue to smoke your ham for another hour, checking the temperature to ensure it is 145F or above.

Even though 145F is the recommended temperature, if you use a cured or pre-cooked ham, the meat should not be overdone if the temperature is higher.

Take the ham from the smoker and cover it loosely with foil to protect the meat from sweating for 30 minutes to an hour.

Use a quality meat cutting knife or an electric fillet knife to carve your ham.

Final Thoughts

From Easter to Thanksgiving to Christmas, or whenever you want ham, smoked ham is unlike any ham you’ve ever had. After 4 hours, with a little curing, basting, and glazing, you’ll have a show-stopping main dish worthy of admiration.


How long to smoke a fully cooked ham at 225?

4 hours. If you’re using a pellet smoker or don’t have a temperature probe like this one, set the smoker to 225 degrees for 1.5 hours, then check the interior temperature after removing the ham from the smoker.

How long does it take to smoke a ham?

How much time does it take to smoke a ham? A ham will take around three hours to smoke on your smoker at 240 degrees F. This is about 20 minutes per pound of pre-cooked ham. When thoroughly warmed through, the interior temperature should be 140 degrees F.

How do you smoke a precooked ham in a smoker?

Put the ham on the smoker, flat side down. Smoke the ham for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F. With a silicone brush, apply one round of glaze to the ham. Continue smoking for another 30 minutes, or until the ham reaches 140°F, and then remove.

What’s the best way to smoke a precooked ham?

Place the ham in an uncovered aluminum pan or directly on the grill grates. Shut the top and smoke the meat until it reaches a temperature of 130° to 135°F on the inside. Boss Tip: Depending on the size of your ham, this might take an hour or two. Allow around 10 minutes each pound.

Do you wrap a ham in foil to smoke?

After basting and wrapping the ham in aluminum foil, return it to the smoker for 1 hour at 225 degrees. It’s time to glaze your ham when it has reached 140 degrees internal temperature after 1 hour.

Can you put a fully cooked ham in a smoker?

Smoking is possible with both raw and cooked ham. What Exactly Does “Double Smoked Ham” Mean? The majority of store-bought ham has already been smoked. Twice smoking a ham is just smoking it again while it is being reheated.

Is it worth smoking a precooked ham?

Smoking ham is our favorite method to eat it. Although smoking ham requires extra preparation, the end result is unparalleled taste that is well worth it. It’s up to you whether you smoke a raw ham (one that hasn’t been cured, often known as a “green ham”) or a pre-cooked and cured ham.

How long does it take to smoke a 10 pound ham?

2 hours. The key is to maintain the temperature constant at 250°F so the ham cooks gently without drying out. This dish, cooked with a 9- to 10-pound ham, serves 12 people, or less if there is enough of leftover ham for sandwiches, soups, or quiche. It takes between 3-12 hours to smoke a 10-pound ham.

What type of wood to smoke a ham?

Applewood. Applewood gives meats a delicate taste and sweetness. This wood should only be used for grilling pork, particularly ham, and poultry.

How do you pellet smoke a fully cooked ham?

Insert a temperature probe inside your unglazed ham, then place both in your pellet grill. Put the cover back on. Smoke your unglazed ham for 1-2 hours or 10 minutes each pound of ham, or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F to 135°F.

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