Nothing says holidays like a hot glazed smoked ham.
The problem is most smoked hams you buy have such a mild smoke flavor you can barely even taste it.
Cooking a ham low and slow on the smoker is a great way to amp up the smoke flavor, without drying the ham out.
I like a simple, sweet glaze on my ham. The combination of maple syrup, brown sugar and honey mustard is festive and flavorful.
Click to jump straight to each topic
Choosing your ham
The main thing you want to look for when buying a ham to smoke is that it’s already been cured. The exact labeling will vary but look for words like ‘precooked’, ‘wet cured’, ‘smoked’ etc.
So long as it’s labelled “ham” it will have been cured with a nitrate solution and precooked.
The exact cut of ham doesn’t matter too much for this recipe. Spiral sliced ham will work well, as will a whole or sectioned ham. If you want to learn more about the different types of ham this article is a good read.
We will be removing the skin and most of the fat, so you can look for one that’s already been trimmed or ask your butcher to do it for you.
Preparing your ham
If you bought a ham with the skin still on, you need to remove it. This is easy to do, just get a knife and slide it under the skin and it should start to peel off easily.
I personally like my smoked ham on the fatty side, but a lot of people don’t like the taste so you can also trim off most of the fat. This will help the smoke and glaze get on the actual meat.
You can score the remaining fat into a diamond pattern.
While your smoker is heating up to 250°F it’s time to get the glaze ready.
Making the glaze
You don’t actually need the glaze until about an hour into the cook, but it’s easy to make it now and get it out of the way.
I got the inspiration for this glaze from this guide to smoking a whole ham.
Just combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Give it a good stir to make sure every ingredient has dissolved.
I like a simple, sweet glaze, but if you want to really amp up the flavors you can add some ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves to give it some spice.
Once the glaze has thickened a little take it off the heat.
Mix 4 Tbsp of this glaze with a cup of chicken broth and simmer gently for a few minutes. You’ll use this liquid when you go to wrap the ham.
Smoking the ham
To cook the ham you’ll go through 4 stages:
- Smoke the ham ‘naked’ to give it some color and develop that double smoked flavor.
- Wrap the ham in foil and seal it tight with the chicken broth mixture. This will allow the temperature to gradually get up to 130°F without the ham drying out or over smoking.
- Once the ham is almost cooked the final step is to paint the glaze on, and let the glaze cook on.
- Ramp up the heat and really caramelize the glaze. Rotate the ham over the hot part of your grill, or move it inside and place it under the broiler for a few minutes.
I used my Weber Smokey Mountain to smoke the ham. I set it up using the minion method which is as as simple as pouring a chimney of unlit coals into the charcoal ring, and then pouring a 1/4 chimney of lit coals over the top of that.
I used a single large chunk of apple wood, but you can use any fruit or mild smoke wood.
Once the ham has smoked for about an hour it’s time to take it off and wrap it in foil.
I could have left this ham on a little longer to develop some more color, but I was in a hurry!
Once the ham is tightly wrapped in foil it needs to go back on the smoker for a couple of hours. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of your ham, and if you got a bone in ham or not.
Place it in a tray to make sure you capture any juices that might leak out.
I used my Smoke thermometer to keep an eye on the internal temperature, so that I would know exactly when it hit 130°F.
Once you hit 130°F the ham is almost done, so it’s time to unwrap and start painting on the glaze.
Once you’ve applied a nice coat of glaze, leave the ham unwrapped and put the lid back on for another 10 minutes.
You can glaze again using the juices that have pooled around the bottom of the foil.
Because the Smokey Mountain isn’t ideal for hot searing, I finished it in the oven. The smell of the smokey ham and sweet glaze is really incredible.
And that’s all there is to it! You can rest it for up to 10 minutes before slicing.
Save the juices from the pan and serve them on the side so people can add a little extra sweetness if they like.
- 1 4-8 Lbs Precooked cured ham
- 1 Cup Chicken broth
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Honey Dijon Mustard
- 2 Tbsp Apple Juice
- Fire up your smoker or grill for indirect cooking at 225 – 250°F and add 1-2 small chunks of fruit wood (Apple or Cherry).
- Get your ham ready by removing any packaging and trim any skin or excess fat.
- Place ham on your smoker and cook for 3/4 – 1 ½ hours, until ham has developed some nice color.
- While ham is smoking add all the glaze ingredients to small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat until glaze has thickened a little.
- Mix 4 Tbsp of the ham glaze with 1 cup of chicken broth / stock and set aside.
- Once ham has developed some color take it off the grill. Tear off a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil and place the ham in the middle, flat side down.
- Pour 1/2 of the broth / glaze mixture over the meat and seal the foil up tight so that no steam can escape. Insert a leave-in style thermometer through the foil into thickest part of the ham making sure it’s not touching any bone.
- Keep cooking until the temperature reaches 130°F. Open the foil and brush on the glaze. Leave the ham unwrapped and close your lid and keep smoking for another 10-15 minutes.
- Open your grill and glaze the ham again using the liquid from the bottom of the foil.
- If you’re able, move the ham over to the hot part of the grill so that the glaze is facing the heat. It will only take a few minutes to caramelize the glaze. Roll the ham around so all sides are exposed to the heat. If your smoker isn’t setup for grilling you can just finish the ham in the oven on broil.
- Rest the ham for up to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.