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Smoked Ham Recipe
For most folks it is impractical to process a ham at home. It is a rather drawn out series of steps that includes curing, smoking, and usually aging the meat to acquire that wonderful flavor that most of us enjoy.
The ham is simply the whole or part of the shoulder to start with. It is the heavy salt curing process mentioned above that makes it ham which is why I usually encourage folks to leave the process to the professionals unless you have lots of time and want to learn a brand new hobby.. then I say just go for it.
Anyone who tells you that you can't influence the flavor of pre-cooked ham by smoking it just has not tried it.
It may say hickory smoked on the package but let me tell you that there is a dramatic difference between a "labeled" hickory smoked ham and one that has been smoked and prepared by you at home in your smoker whether it is is large wood fired rig or a small bullet water smoker.
Purchasing the ham is a thing of choice.. find what looks/sounds good to you and it will work in the smoker.
I like to apply a good rub (my recipes works deliciously) to the outside of the meat for a burst of flavor in every bite. To facilitate this I put a very thin layer of yellow mustard on the outside of the ham first. Sprinkle on the rub and massage it into the meat I like to cover the meat so that the meat is completely covered. Some folks prefer to use more or less.
The mustard is only a sticking agent and as you will find out later, it loses it's mustard flavor while it cooks but creates a really nice crust that works well with the rub.
Most packages will tell you to cook the ham to 160 degrees. I completely agree and it may not even be a bad idea to take it just a bit hotter than this. I would not go more than about 170 or you risk drying it out too much. I usually shoot for 160-165 and it is always moist and delicious.
The idea is to add a lot of flavor and still retain the moisture in the ham.
Resist the urge to poke the ham when it is done cooking… let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to settle a bit for a much juicier ham.
When it comes to the actual smoking of the ham.. I like to keep it at about 225 degrees and let the smoke go the entire time.
Some good smoking woods for ham are pecan, oak, hickory, mesquite (sparingly) and apple.
You can also mix in just about any kind of fruit wood such as cherry, apricot, plum, etc. for some great flavor.
Place it directly on the grate or you can put it in an aluminum throw-away pan lifted slightly off the bottom with an inverted muffin pan or cooling rack.
This will allow you to catch the juices and will also keep your smoker cleaner.
This smoked ham recipe will require from 6 to 8 hours of time depending on it's size. I don't normally do this but if you want to speed things up (I know how Christmas morning is with the kids and such) you can smoke it for about 4 hours then wrap in foil and finish in the oven.
I am real keen on leaving meat in the smoker the entire time but I also live by the mantra that any smoke at all is better than none.
Got More Questions?
Please allow me to encourage all of you to visit the forum if you have any questions on smoking the Christmas ham. We have lots of great advice on almost every smoking meat subject you can imagine including ham and other holiday items.
Use the search feature in the top navbar to find the exact threads on whatever subject you desire.
Book Review Report
I sent out a special ebook review a few weeks ago based on an overwhelming number of people asking for my recommendation on a book that would give them all of the basics. An overwhelming number of you responded and sent me tons of emails thanking me for turning you on to a great book.
To recap.. While I generally do not do book reviews, I just read a GREAT eBook entitled "Competition BBQ Secrets Revealed" and in spite of my procrastination on reading it due to my preconcieved idea that it would not be any good, it really was an excellent book and even gave me a few ideas here and there.
I even found myself jotting down some notes!
It is well worth the money in my humble opinion and I think it will offer years and years of help and advice for anyone wanting to get into smoking meat as well as take your outdoor smoking to a whole new level. It even offers some great advice for those interested in competition smoking.
I don't push things I don't like… I like this ebook (did I mention that already?)