I’ve gotta tell you friends, there isn’t much I love more than a crispy, sugary crust on a spiral ham. It reminds me of family holiday gatherings and my Mom’s leftover bean and ham hock soup. Smoked ham is the perfect answer to feeding a crowd and it is incredibly simple to prepare, so I thought I’d put my own smoky twist on the family ham for the holidays this year.
How to Smoke a Ham
Since all hams are already cured and smoked, putting it back in the smoker essentially creates a double smoked ham. YUM! To smoke a ham, preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F using a mild wood, I like apple, peach, or alder. Remember, it has already been smoked once, we don’t want too heavy of a smoke to overwhelm the flavor of the meat. Plan on about 20-25 minutes per pound at 250 degrees F to bring it up to proper serving temperature as well as infuse the meat with another layer of smoky flavor.
Since smoked hams are already pre-cooked you can run into problems with the ham drying out. To combat this, I place my hams on an elevated rack on top of a baking sheet and baste with a mixture of peach juice and bourbon throughout the smoking process. Any drippings will be caught by the baking sheet and help keep the ham moist by steaming it from underneath.
Smoked Ham Glaze
I think the little cherry on top of all smoked hams is that candy sweet glaze. The glaze on this ham may be the favorite of any glaze I’ve ever made, sweet from brown sugar, spiked with bourbon and peach juice, and seasoned with warm spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The real secret is getting that glaze to crisp up and caramelize on the exterior of the smoked ham. There are several ways to do this; you can increase the heat on your grill (anywhere above 400 degrees F), you can broil in your oven for a couple of minutes, or you can blast the outside with direct heat from a blow torch (which was the method I chose… because FIRE!)
Smoked Ham Recipes and Side Ideas
- 1 8 pound spiral cut smoked ham
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/4 cup peach juice
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup peach preserves
- 2 Tablespoons bourbon
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 Tablespoons drippings from the smoked ham
Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F. Place the ham cut side down on an elevated roasting rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet.
Smoke your ham, uncovered, for 20 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature of your ham reaches 135 degrees F. In a small bowl or food safe spray bottle, combine the bourbon and peach juice for the mop sauce. Spritz or mop the ham every 30 minutes during the smoking period.
When your ham is near the correct internal temperature, prepare your glaze. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
Coat the ham on all sides with the glaze. At this point, you have three options for caramelizing the glaze on the outside of the ham. You can increase the heat on your grill to 400 degrees and roast the glazed ham for 8-10 minutes or until the glaze starts to bubble. For another option, you can turn your oven on to broil and place the ham in the oven for 3-4 minutes to caramelize the glaze. Finally, you can brush on the glaze and caramelize the crust by using a high output blow torch. For all of these options, be careful not to burn the sugar on the outside of the ham and reapply the glaze as needed to form a nice crust.
Once your ham is nice and caramelized, remove it to a large platter and serve.