how to smoke a ham

How to Smoke a Ham

It’s a crucial weapon in a barbecuer’s arsenal – how to smoke a ham, in the right way. It’s important all year round not just at holiday time.

A smoked ham is a delight for any meal, not just as an accompaniment for turkey at Christmas or Thanksgiving. 

Allow for around a pound of meat or 0.45kg per person.

How to Smoke a Ham – Carving Stage

Smoked ham is perfect for an incredible bagel with cream cheese and pickled veg, an outstanding sandwich or as an accompaniment to turkey (not just at holiday time – all year round).  

However it also deserves to take pride of place as the main event on your table.

How to Smoke a Ham Step 1 – Score the Fat into Diamond Shapes

The first thing we are are going to do to prepare our Smoked Ham is to score the fat in a criss-cross fashion to make diamond shapes. 

This is done in a similar way to our ‘Smoked Pork Loin Recipe.’

The reason we want to do this is so that our flavours, and particularly the salt can penetrate into the whole meat. 

It will end up looking like it has been browned and crisped into beautiful diamond shapes, enhancing your presentation. 

Use a sharp knife to do this scoring one way across the fatty surface, and then the other to produce your diamond shapes. 

How to Smoke a Ham Step 2 – Prepare for Smoking

Now you can place your ham into an aluminium tray.

To add to the already slightly sweet flavour of our ham we are going to place a number of whole cloves all over the fat, at the corners of each of the diamonds.

This is not just a Christmas flavour – it’s a sweet flavour you can use the whole year round. 

We also like to stick about 4-5 Bay leaves into our ham for presentation and flavour. This will help to infuse a lovely aniseed taste into the meat. 

Now for the booze. Rum and orange go exceptionally well with a smoked ham, so we are going to add two shots of rum and a decent-sized glass of orange juice. 

Pour generously over the top of your ham. The liquid will gather in the aluminium tray, as well as soak into your ham.

You want your ham to smoke in the tray with plenty of liquid for a fantastic flavour.

Make sure you bring your smoker up to temperature – 110°C or 225°F for a long smoke.

How to Smoke a Ham Step 3 – Place Your Ham in Smoker Until 1 Hour Before End of Cooking Time

At this point it’s time to get your ham onto the grills of your smoker in its tray, then close the lid. 

In terms of cooking time it will take around 20minutes per pound (0.45kg) to smoke your ham, so if your ham is 10pounds (4.5kg) it will take, you guessed it, around 3 and 1/2 hours.

A bigger 14pound (kg) ham will take 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

As a result of having plenty of liquid and smoke going into our ham, as well as a helpful layer of scored fat, we don’t need to worry too much about our ham drying out while smoking. 

However we will need to baste it with the rum and orange liquid a few times during cooking.

How to Smoke a Ham Step 4 – Remove from Smoker and Glaze

When your ham has only 1 hour left to cook take it off the heat, and add your lovely sticky glaze. 

Brush the glaze all over your ham, especially between the diamond shapes on the fat. 

How to Smoke a Ham Step 5 – Put the Ham Directly on the Grills To Smoke and Crisp Up for the Last Hour

Now put your ham back on the grills directly without the aluminium tray, and cook for a final hour. 

Make sure to rest your ham for at least 30minutes wrapped in foil, before you serve it.

Now you know how to smoke a ham.

If you enjoyed this article you could also try our ‘Smoked Burgers Recipe,’ here:

Or our article on making Smoked sausage from scratch:

If you would like to read another great article on how to smoke a ham we recommend this one:

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