Everyone knows the turkey is the star of the show on Thanksgiving, but you can’t have a Holiday Feast without a Smoked Ham to go right along with the bird. (you can get my recipe for smoking a turkey here >>)

Instead of spending nearly $80 on an overpriced ham, fire up your smoker and cook one yourself.

I came up with my version of a Honey Baked Ham and it’s even better than the original.

I call it the Honey Smoked Ham.

The ham I use for this recipe is a Spiral Sliced Smoked Ham. You can find these everywhere during the Holidays, and they cost around $1.50 per lb.

I buy the shank portion because the bone is great for making a big pot of beans after the holidays; but the butt portion is just as good for serving.

These hams are precooked; if you notice the directions it simply says to reheat the ham in an oven for several hours until it reaches an internal temp of 140 degrees. It is perfectly fine to reheat it this way, but if you want to turn the ham into something special, use your smoker and this recipe.

Honey Baked Hams are spiral sliced hams that have a sugar coating caramelized on the outside. Once the ham is smoked, they cover it with sugar and use a blow torch to melt it.

I wanted to create this style of Ham by using the smoker instead of a torch.

To create the “Honey Baked” effect on the outside of the ham I use two things: a Honey glaze and a seasoned sugar blend.

Here’s the recipe for the Honey Glaze:
  • ½ cup Orange Juice
  • ½ cup Apple Juice
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Honey
Whisk these ingredients together over Med. High heat until it reaches a low boil. Reduce the mixture for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.

The first step in the process is to baste the outside of the ham with the glaze. I use a squirt bottle but you can simply brush it on the outside with a pastry brush. This step can get a little messy, so it’s best to have the ham in a shallow dish or aluminum pan.

I also use one of my pork racks to keep the ham off the bottom on the pan. (plus it makes moving the ham to and from the smoker much easier).

Now it’s ready for the Sugar Blend. Here’s the recipe:
Sugar Blend for Ham
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Natural Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado Sugar)
  • ½ tea Ground Ginger
  • ½ tea Cinnamon
  • ½ tea Fresh Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ tea Spanish Paprika
Combine these ingredients in a ziplock bag and pour into an airtight shaker bottle for storage.

Apply the sugar blend to the outside of the ham. If you’re using a shaker bottle, make sure that the holes in the lid are large enough for the sugar particles to pass through. A parmesan cheese shaker lid works great for this (they’ll usually fit on a standard size pint jar).


Once the outside of the ham is covered with the sugar mixture, it’s ready for the smoker.

To cook the ham the smoker needs to be between 275-300 degrees. I use a mild fruit wood like cherry or apple for the smoke.

Since we’re essentially “double-smoking” the ham you want to stay away from stronger woods like Hickory or Oak. These will easily overpower the flavor.

Place the ham on the smoker and check it every hour. If the outside starts to look a little dry, use some of the glaze for basting. The entire cook is only going to take about 2 ½ – 3 hours.

The ham needs to reach an internal temp of 140 degrees before serving, but you don’t want it to get much hotter than that or it will dry out.

You can use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temp if needed.

You can tell when the ham is ready because the slices will start to separate slightly and the outside will have that caramelized look. When it reaches this point, remove the ham from the smoker and loosely tent with aluminum foil.

It’s ready to serve after a short rest, but you can keep it warm for a couple hours by placing it in a dry cooler with a few old towels.

Carving a spiral sliced ham is easy. They’ve done all the work for you, just make a cut along the bone and free all the slices.

Be sure not to throw that bone away because it will flavor a pot of beans or can even be used for making pork stock.

Instead of spending money on an expensive ham this Thanksgiving, give this recipe a try.

Malcom Reed
Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
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About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at HowtoBBQright.com, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

6 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Mike December 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm -

    Hey Malcom thanks so much for this info. I’m doing this for my family and friends for our Christmas dinner. Can you give my more details on how to cut the ham. Do I make one long cut down the bone with the point of the knife and then cut around the bone? Or stand it up and slice down the side of the bone. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again, Mike

  2. Vince April 25, 2014 at 8:46 am -

    Hi Malcom,
    I smoked a ham for Easter on my newly built UDS (thanks for the build info) and it turned out great. Flavours are fantastic and oh so moist. The UDS adds a whole new flavour over my electric smoker. Can’t wait to do a pork butt next weekend!! thanks again for the great info.

  3. Joey November 22, 2014 at 6:18 am -

    Malcolm, I have a question. You have 2 recipes for holiday hams. Is one of them “newer” or just 2 options? I’ve tried your other recipe and of course it was awesome. Just trying to decide which to cook this year. Love the sites, and visit often. Thanks for the help!

  4. Douglas September 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm -

    I found that pre separating the slices and give each space tween slices with black pepper and dash of garlic salt the flavors melt together during hear and if u love a black peppered ham like boars head I will love this tip

  5. Taylor November 17, 2016 at 5:06 pm -

    Man, this ham recipe is killer! This is a must have if you have not!
    Will be at every thanksgiving, and I will make your turkey smoked recipe too.
    Keep these coming man!


  6. Jim December 12, 2016 at 11:24 am -

    Malcom, great recipe! I used this last Christmas and family loved it. I have been getting lots of requests for a repeat.


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