Smoked Ham With Hot Honey and Bourbon Glaze

Twice-smoked ham with a sweet-savory seasoning finishing off with a kick from the sweet and spicy glaze.
hot honey and bourbon smoked ham

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When it comes to twice-smoked ham, it’s all about the glaze, and this is about to be your new favorite ham glaze recipe.

It has a kick of spice from the hot honey, a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar, and a bold bourbon finish.

A sweet and spicy glaze that will keep your guests coming back for seconds (and thirds!).

Hot Honey and Bourbon Glazed Ham

The hams you will find at the grocery store are cured and pre-smoked, so essentially, all you have to do is heat them. You can use an oven, but I find that heating the ham on the smoker adds an extra layer of smoky flavor that you can’t beat.

I went with a whole, bone-in ham for this recipe. There are many varieties of ham that you can buy, especially during the holiday season.

Equipment you need for this recipe

  • Wood pellets or hardwood – I used a pellet blend of oak, hickory, maple, and cherry but any of these woods will work fine on their own
  • Baking sheet & wire rack – The sheet will save you from having to clean up a sticky mess, and the wire rack raises your ham for better airflow
  • Small Pot – To make the glaze in
  • Basting Brush – I love these hi-temp silicone brushes from Thermoworks
  • Meat Thermometer Since ham is already cooked, this isn’t critical, but you still don’t want to overcook the ham

Choosing your ham

The first thing to decide is whether you want an unsliced ham or a spiral sliced ham.

The spiral-sliced variety has a few benefits. It will cook faster than an unsliced ham, and it also leaves a generous surface area for your glaze.

The downside of a pre-sliced ham is that you can lose a lot of moisture during the cooking process, which can leave you with a ham that is on the dry side.

bone-in ham in packaging

You also need to choose whether you want to get a bone-in or a boneless ham. Boneless ham less hassle to carve, but a bone-in ham will be a show-stopper on your holiday table.

Another great thing about bone-in ham is that you can use the ham bone for stocks and soups once you’ve had your fill of meat.

As far as size goes, it just depends on how many people you are serving and whether or not you want to have leftovers.

A good rule of thumb for a bone-in ham is to estimate about a half pound of meat per person. If you choose a boneless ham, plan for about a third of a pound per person.

How long does it take to smoke ham?

This ham has already been cooked, so we only need to warm it up.

You are shooting for about 145°F internal for a twice-smoked ham, and depending on the size of your ham, the process takes about 3 hours for an 8lb ham smoking at 250°F.

How to make hot honey and bourbon glazed ham

1. Score the ham

If you chose a whole, unsliced ham, then you want to take a minute to score the ham on the outside.

Just grab a boning knife or chefs knife and cut a checkerboard design all over the outside of your ham. This will allow the seasoning to get down into the meat and will also increase the surface area for the glaze.

2. Season

Many people skip the seasoning when they are twice smoking a ham, which is totally fine. I like to maximize the flavor, so seasoning we shall!

whole ham smothered in mustard
I like to maximize the flavor, so seasoning we shall!

Start with a base binder of Dijon mustard (or mustard of your choice), and make sure the ham is lightly coated on all sides, then sprinkle on your choice of rub until the entire ham is well coated.

For this recipe, I used our new Smoke Kitchen Honey Garlic Rub. It combines the sweetness of granulated honey with a touch of garlic, salt, and pepper. It has a bit of spice, and the flavor is perfect for a twice-smoked ham.

Transfer your seasoned ham onto a wire rack that is sitting on top of a baking sheet, with the cut side facing down.

whole ham on wire rack with seasoning sprinkled on it

3. Fire up the smoker

Preheat your smoker to 250°F.

You can use any style of smoker, or a pellet grill will work great as well.

I smoked this ham on my Camp Chef Woodwind Pro using Bear Mountain Gourmet BBQ pellets. These pellets are a combination of oak, hickory, maple, and cherry, and they provide a complex and robust flavor that pairs perfectly with smoked ham.

Place your ham tray directly on the grates. You want to let it smoke for about 2½ hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of around 130°F before you start glazing.

whole ham sitting on a wire rack with a temperature probe sticking out of it

To watch the temperature while it cooked, I used the ThermoPro TempSpike wireless Bluetooth probe.

I like using a Bluetooth probe because it allows me to watch the temperature directly from my phone without opening and closing my grill repeatedly.

4. Make the hot honey & bourbon glaze

To whip up the glaze, simply combine all of the glaze ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil for two to three minutes. Then set it aside to cool until you’re ready to use.

If you don’t have hot honey, just combine a cup of regular honey with 2 tsp of red pepper flakes.

bottle of bourbon, honey garlic rub, hot honey, soy sauce and bowl of brown sugar

After about 2½ hours, your ham should be close to 130°F internal temp, so it’s time to start glazing.

Using a basting brush, generously glaze your ham on all sides with about half of the glaze.

whole ham on the grill being brushed with glaze
Push the brush down into the score marks you created to ensure that every bite is coated.

Let it smoke for another 20 to 25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, then pour the remaining glaze over the top.

Remove from the smoker and serve immediately.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days and make a great addition to sandwiches.

What to serve with this smoked ham

If you’re serving this ham for Christmas for around the holiday season, you’ll want to pair it with classic sides.

hot honey and bourbon smoked ham

Hot Honey and Bourbon Glazed Ham

Twice smoked ham with a spicy, sticky glaze
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 14
Calories: 643kcal
Author: Breanna Stark

Ingredients

  • 8 lb bone-in ham
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup Smoke Kitchen Honey Garlic rub

Hot Honey and Bourbon glaze

  • cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp hot honey
  • ¼ cup Smoke Kitchen Honey Garlic rub
  • ¼ cup bourbon whiskey

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 250°F.
  • With a small boning knife cut a checkerboard design all over the outside of your ham.
  • Coat the entire ham with Dijon mustard.
  • Season generously with honey garlic rub.
  • Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and place your ham on the rack with the cut side facing down.
  • Place the rack on the grates of the smoker and let it smoke for about 2 to 2½ hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 130°F.
  • With a basting brush, brush half the glaze onto the ham on all sides.
  • Let it smoke for another 20 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F, then pour the remaining glaze over the top.
  • Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Hot Honey and Bourbon glaze

  • In a small pot, combine all the ingredients for the glaze.
  • Stir until well-incorporated and bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool slightly (2 to 3 minutes).

Notes

What wood should I use to smoke with? We used Bear Mountain Gourmet BBQ pellets. These pellets are a combination of oak, hickory, maple, and cherry.
Where do I get honey garlic rub from? You can get Smoke Kitchen Honey Garlic rub here.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 643kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 2805mg | Potassium: 730mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 5mg
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