Since I have smoked a total of four turkeys for Thanksgiving and a Christmas party with my church congregation in the span of nine days, I decided that I was turkey’d out. Since ham is a common main dish on Christmas Day, I opted for that. I found an awesome smoked ham recipe from the folks at howtobbqright.com with simple ingredients and easy step-by-step instructions to ensure I wouldn’t screw this up. The recipe is in the hyperlink to their website, but here’s the summary for you in case you’re too
lazy mesmerized by this post thus far:
Meat: Ham (8.8 lbs)
Ingredients: 2 C brown sugar, 4 oz. pineapple juice, 6 oz. spicy brown mustard, 2 T pork rub
Smoke: 225° F (about 107° C)
Finish Temperature: 145° F (about 62° C)
When you go to the store, you will find that just about every ham is already smoked and/or cured. To find one that has not been smoked or cured would be considered a “green ham” but since Malcolm Reed said you can use one of the aforementioned hams from the store, that is exactly what I did.
To get the ham ready, this is what I done did:
- Open the package, toss out the glaze packet
- Place the base (widest part) down on heavy duty foil (I used a foil pan)
- Pat the ham with a paper towel to dry away some of the
1. Now that these three simple steps have been done, it’s time to apply the ingredients. For my base, I start with spicy brown mustard (which really isn’t that spicy). The original recipe called for honey Dijon mustard, but I improvised with the spicy brown because that’s the taste I prefer. When applying ingredients to meats, I prefer to put on a silicon (or whatever latex free) glove so I don’t have to get my hands messy and wash them multiple times during the preparation. Wiping the mustard around the ham with your hand will help you get an even application of the mustard, even in the harder-to-apply areas.
Now that the mustard is on, let’s sprinkle some brown sugar on here. At this point, we don’t want to apply too much; we will need the majority of this for later. If you want to use some of your preferred rub, now is the time to apply it. In this case, I’m using Plowboys BBQ Yardbird Rub because I love how it tastes on pulled pork and it couldn’t hurt to try it on another pork product.
Now that the mustard, brown sugar, and rub have been applied, I let the ham rest while I get the charcoal going. While most of the United States has been experiencing unusually warm weather, we’ve been hit with some much-needed snow, which means I need to shovel my way out to the smoker.
2. The smoker is up to 225° F with the cherry wood and now I’m ready to put the ham in and let it smoke for two hours. One thing I’m discovering is that it is much harder to regulate heat when it is cold outside. The high was about 20ish degrees and that meant the heat in the smoker kept dropping quicker than usual. Make sure to have some extra coals ready so you are prepared for BBQ in the winter.
3. After two hours on the smoker, it is time to pull the ham off, apply some pineapple juice, wrap it in foil, and then back in the chamber for another hour. I use a spray bottle to get the pineapple juice on there as even as I can.
4. By this point, the ham is supposed to be around 140° F. However, mine was not. I used my Thermopop to make sure the temperature was where I needed. When using a food thermometer, make sure you stick the needle in deep and away from the bone. Otherwise, you will get a reading like this…
…when it is really this…
This is where I’m supposed to apply the final glaze, but I’m waiting until I get closer to 140°F. Now that I’m about 45 degrees behind where I need to be, I decide to put it in the oven on higher heat to make sure it climbs steady and I don’t lose heat like I have been out in the winter cold. But when I got the temp up to 140, I pulled the ham out to glaze. Since I wrapped the ham in a way that I put a foil cap on top to cover it completely, I was able to pull off the foil cap and pull open the base part of the foil to the point it makes a boat, yet keeps the juices trapped.
5. Now the time has come to glaze.
Apply the rest of the brown sugar and completely cover the ham. Once that is done, then spray more pineapple juice on it. Doing this, combined with the heat from the smoker, will create the glaze that makes the ham awesome.
6. Put it back in the chamber for one more hour.
Since I was having issues, I put it back in my oven around 275°F and had it in for about 45 minutes until I was at an internal meat temp of 145°F. I wish I had a little more smoke flavor to this, which is likely why you put back on the smoker for another hour instead of in the oven. But dinner time was quickly approaching and I needed to make sure the ham would be done in time. I share this because I want you to know that even though the process didn’t turn out the way I hoped
(as per the usual for me), you can still get the desired results.
7. Let it rest.
Resting is a key part of the BBQ process. The meat has been slowly cooking and contracts a bit in the process. Letting it rest is how the meat relaxes and the juices absorb. After 20-30 minutes, you’re done resting and it’s time to eat!
The family loved it and I sent them with a good amount of leftovers, which they devoured. If you are looking to make a ham (holidays or otherwise) I recommend this.