How to Smoke an Uncured Ham

Smoked ham
Smoked ham (Image: Fat bacon image by Marek Kosmal from Fotolia.com)

Using a smoker to cook a fresh ham is a satisfying method to create a delicious cut of meat. Smokers use indirect heat and infuse the ham with a smoky flavor using smoldering wood chips. Smaller hams can take approximately six hours and large cuts smoke in about eight to ten hours. Spice rubs, seasonings and glazes can be used in this process to add even more flavor. Some of the most popular smokers use charcoal such as the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. Most charcoal smokers use a similar method to create delicious hams.

Things You'll Need

  • Charcoal smoker
  • Briquettes or charcoal
  • Wood chunks
  • Pan of water
  • Fresh ham
  • Meat thermometer

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Select a fresh ham about 12 to 15 pounds and decide if you want the finished ham simply smoked or glazed as well. This will affect the amount of supervision your ham will require during smoking.

Soak half of your wood chunks in cold water for at least an hour to assure they will smoke and not burn. You can mix the chunks up to create unique flavor profiles such as hickory or maple with fruit woods.

Make sure your smoker and racks are clean and ready to use. Start the smoker by pouring charcoal or briquettes into the labeled basket and lighting them. Assume it will take eight to 10 hours to smoke the ham and heat smoker until approximately 200 degrees F. Most newer smokers have built in thermometers.

Place your pre-soaked wood chunks into the smoker when the coals are ready. The wood chunks can be placed directly on the coals so they smolder. Also, put a pan of water on one of the racks in the smoker as well to prevent ham from drying out. Many smokers have a water pan in the unit that slides out to be filled.

Put the ham fat side up on a rack and close smoker.

Add more wood chunks and charcoal as needed, approximately every three to four hours.

Smoke ham until thermometer inserted to the middle of the meat reads 165 to 175 degrees F. If you wish to glaze the ham start basting it when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, applying glaze every fifteen minutes until the ham is done.

Remove ham from smoker and let stand for 30 minutes before serving. It is important to refrigerate all leftovers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use resinous woods from any type of evergreen trees in the smoker.
  • Use a little flavored vinegar or wine in the pan of water in the smoker to change the ham`s flavor.
  • Line water pan with foil for easier cleaning.
  • Never consume undercooked pork. Make sure your ham is thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of at least 170 F .

References

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