smoke a holiday ham

How To Smoke A Holiday Ham

Smoke A Holiday Ham

I love smoking holiday hams. Hams are one of the easiest things to smoke and incredibly delicious… when you do it the right way.

When I was a kid growing up, we always had a baked ham or a ham bought from Honey Baked Hams… and I always thought those two hams were good. But they are nothing like a slow-smoked ham.

I’ve been smoking hams for different holidays for years… Thanksgiving, Christmas and especially Easter. Now my family isn’t happy around the holidays unless I smoke a ham.

So, over the years and I have gotten the recipe down. It just takes about 4 hours and you have the best tasting ham you will ever try. Its just something about the slow-smoking process that always produces a better-tasting meat.

Smoke A Holiday Ham

Now, if you have never smoked a Holiday Ham before, don’t worry.

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

My Holiday Smoked Ham Recipe:

Step #1. 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.

Step #2. Other items you’ll need to smoke a ham include:

  • Smoker for indirect cooking
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cherry or Your Favorite Fruit Wood
  • Honey Dijon Mustard – 1 bottle
  • Brown Sugar – 1 lb
  • Pineapple Juice

Step #3. Bring Your Smoker Up To Temp

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.

Smoke A Holiday Ham

Step #4. Rub Your Ham

Next you want to coat the outside of your ham with the Honey Dijon Mustard and then lightly dust your ham with Brown Sugar. (don’t go too heavy here, you will come back and add another, heavier coating of brown sugar later).

This will create almost a “paste” on your ham. (you can also use a light dusting of Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub to add to your brown sugar if you like)

Step #5. Smoke Your Ham

Once your smoker has reached 225 degrees, I always add a few chunks of wood to your smoker’s coals.

All that’s left now is to put your ham on the smoker.

After smoking the ham for two (2) 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.

Smoke A Holiday Ham

When your ham reaches 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 again. 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.

Step #7. Rest Your Ham

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.

Malcom Reed
Connect on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Subscribe to my YouTube Channel
Find me on Google+
Follow me on Instagram

Buy Killer Hogs Products Here

Comments 18

  1. MALCOM HAVE YOU EVER SMOKED A BOURBON MAPLE HICKORY HAM?
    I HAVE I BOUGHT THEM FROM PUBLIX HERE IN THE ORLANDO FLA AREA AND I AM GOING TO DO ANOTHER ONE FOR THIS EASTER IT COMES WITH A PACKET OF THE BOURBON MAPLE SAUSE BUT I JUST ADD MORE MAPLE SYRUP, BROWN SUGAR AND MORE BOURBON AND I ADD MORE HICKORY OR APPLE CHUNKS OR BOTH TO MY WEBER WATER SMOKER AND I TAKES JUST UNDER 2 HRS COMES OUT GREAT. THIS TIMEI AM GOING TO WRAP IT IN FOIL LIKE YOU SUGGEST AND I THEN HAVE A GREAT SUPPLY OF LUNCH MEAT SAVE ME A LOT OF MONEY SINCE HAM LIKE THAT IN THE DELI COST ABOUT 10.00 A LB SO A 15LB TO 18LB COST ME JUST 26.00 AND THAT IS A LOT OF SAVINGS AND IT CAN BE FROZEN FOR LATER SANDWICHES LAST A LONG TIME.

  2. The issue on Easter Sunday is that there’s not enough time between the Easter Service and the company coming over. What would you say about smoking the ham on Saturday and then warm up the next day? My main concern is the ham becoming dry after 2 ‘cooks’.

  3. I will be smoking a 10 lb butt portion sliced ham on saturday for Easter using an electric smoke. I will be following your recipe directions, but I’m confused with your pictures as to placing the ham directly on the metal racks or placing it in an aluminum pan? Maybe it doesn’t matter, but I want to do it right.
    Can you advise me before I get started on Saturday…
    Thank you,
    Tom Biver
    tnsbiver@aol.com

    1. Post
      Author

      You can place them directly on the rack or place them in a shallow pan. If you place them directly on the rack the entire time, the bottom piece isn’t very good – but if you place it in the shallow pan the entire time, you don’t get as much smoke flavor. It’s just what you want to do that day…

    1. Post
      Author
  4. I’m also smoking a turkey overnight at 170 degrees. Is there any way to modify your recipe so that I could cook them at the same time? I have a 14 lb turkey and two 10 lb spiral sliced ham halves. Any suggestions on how to do all at the same time? This recipe sounds wonderful!

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  5. Could I just smoke the spiral ham until it reaches 140 and then use the glaze from your whole ham video until it reaches 145? Thanks for all the videos!

    1. Post
      Author
  6. Where did the original recipe go? The one with orange juice, apple juice, honey, turbinado, etc… That’s my go to for Christmas and have made it for years and now I can’t find it!

  7. Hey Malcom, thanks for the tips.

    As a guy who really enjoys doing everything from scratch, can you elaborate more on what it would take to turn a “green ham” into a holiday ham, for those of us who like doing it all from scratch?

    1. Post
      Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.