How To Smoke A Ham

I’ve been smoking hams like this for years and I have perfected my recipe so that this process is easy and produces the most delicious ham you will ever put in your mouth.

When I first started smoking hams, I just did it for family and friends, but now I get requests from many different people to smoke a ham… people request the ham more than they do a smoked butt or beef brisket.

If you have never smoked a ham before, don’t worry.

Just follow this recipe and stick to the steps and you will have perfectly smoked ham that your friends and family will be bragging about for a long time.

Here’s how it’s done:

First you’ll need to purchase your ham. When I refer to ham I’m not talking about a “green ham” (one that’s not cured). I’m actually referring to a sugar cured ham that you can find in most all grocery stores – especially around the holidays. If you smoked a “green ham” it will turn out more like BBQ or pulled pork… and that is not what you want for your Holiday Ham.

The ham you will purchase will have already been smoked and cured somewhat.

Traditionally, most people purchase these hams and then cook them in the oven slowly for several hours. This method of cooking a holiday ham in the oven with a sweet glaze is good… but once you’ve tried it on the smoker, you’ll never put one in the oven again.

One brand that I like to cook is Mash’s brand sugar cured ham. I find them at grocery store in my hometown and they usually run around $15-20 bucks depending on the sale price.

These hams will keep in the freezer, so if you catch them on sale you can go ahead and purchase it and throw it in the freezer until you are ready to smoke. I have personally had a holiday ham last for 9 months in the freezer… and once I thawed it and smoked it, it turned out just fine.

Other items you’ll need include:

•                  Smoker for indirect cooking

•                  Aluminum Foil

•                  Cherry or Your Favorite Fruit Wood

•                  Honey Dijon Mustard – 1 bottle

•                  Brown Sugar – 1 lb

•                  A “Sweet” BBQ Dry Rub

•                  Pineapple Juice

Now that you have all of the necessary ingredients, set up the smoker for indirect cooking and bring the temp up to 225.

While the smoker is climbing up to temperature, unwrap your thawed Ham and use paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Next you want to coat the outside with the Honey Dijon Mustard and then lightly dust with your Dry Rub.

Once you add a few chunks of wood to your smoker’s coals your ham is ready to go on.

After smoking the ham for two hours at 225 degrees, take it off the smoker and wrap in aluminum foil. But before you close the aluminum foil completely, you want to baste the ham with your pineapple juice. I have found it is easiest to pour the juice into a spray bottle then just hit the ham with a few squirts.

Once I have basted my ham with pineapple juice and wrapped it in aluminum foil, I place it back on the smoker and allow it to cook for 1 hour at 225 degrees.

After 1 hour, check the internal temperature of your holiday ham. You are looking for an internal temp of 145 degrees, and at this point, your ham should be close.

If it’s at least 140 degrees internal, it’s time to glaze.

Unwrap the top of the ham, but keep it setting in the foil. I try and make a “boat” to keep the juices from spilling. Now that the ham is exposed, sprinkle brown sugar over the entire outside. Once your ham is covered in brown sugar, spray it really well with pineapple juice. This will cause the brown sugar to dissolve and the heat from the smoker will create a beautiful, delicious glaze that goes perfectly with the taste of your smoked ham.

Your holiday ham will stay on the smoker for 1 hour while you allow the sugar and juice to create your glaze.

At the 4 hour mark your ham is ready to come off the smoker. But you always want to check your internal temp just to be sure. Your ham should be at least 145 degrees internal. If it’s a little higher than that, don’t worry… as long as you haven’t kept it on the smoker for more than 4 hours it shouldn’t be overly done.

Now you will remove your ham from the smoker and loosely tent it with the foil while you allow it to rest. I recommend letting it rest for around 20 – 30 minutes… then it’s ready to eat.

When cutting your ham, I suggest a really good meat carving knife… but an electric filet knife works great too. I promise you that once your family and friends try this ham that you’ll never cook it any other way.

About Malcolm (the Author)

For over a decade now Malcom Reed has been competing in barbecue competitions... and it didn't take long for this hobby to develop into a full-blown addiction. After being inspired by the comradery and brotherhood of the sport, Malcom developed, a website devoted to sharing BBQ techniques and promoting the Competition BBQ Lifestyle. Through his cooking team, The Killer Hogs, and his barbecue business, Malcom is a constant student of 'Que... and his goal is to and his goal is to share his knowledge and passion with everyone.