Smoked ham is a holiday favorite, but just because you’ve always had it doesn’t mean you can’t do it better!
Why not upgrade your ham’s flavor and presentation by double smoking it in your smoker? You’ll get so much flavor that you’ll turn this into a recurring dish, not just a holiday standby.
Temperature tracking is especially critical when reheating fully cooked hams. If the internal temperature goes beyond its target, the ham will dry out quickly. Keep reading for a recipe that will add some sweet BBQ flair to your ham game.
Reheating a Cured, Smoked Ham…Safely
Any cut of raw pork needs to reach a final doneness temperature of 145°F (63°C) for food safety. However, many cured, smoked hams you pick up at the grocery store have already been fully cooked. If your ham is labeled “fully cooked, ready to eat,” then it just needs to be cooked to 125–125°F (49–52°C). Otherwise, for proper food safety as recommended by the USDA, fully cooked hams need to be reheated to an internal temperature of just 140°F (60°C). (it should carry over a few more degrees.) With this recipe, you’re not only safely heating it through but adding rich smoke flavor and a sweet and savory glaze on the outside. Yum! (Note that some hams say on the package that
➤ Thermometer of Choice: ThermaQ® Kit
We love the dual-channel function of the ThermaQ, and the ThermaQ Kit comes with everything you need for a smoking project like this one: the ThermaQ base unit with a protective silicone boot, a Smokehouse Penetration Probe, a High-Temp Air Probe, and a Grate Clip to attach your Air Probe to your smoker grate.
ThermaQ was designed for competition BBQ teams and chef-level sous vide cooking. It features settable high and low alarms and uses Type K thermocouple probes in both of its channels. You simply can’t beat the speed, accuracy, and durability of thermocouple sensor technology.
Double-Smoked Maple-Mustard Ham
- 1, 8 to 10-lb. fully cooked, smoked, bone-in ham
- 2 cups apple juice
- Hickory, oak, or maple wood chips
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup amber maple syrup
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
Fire Up Your Smoker
- Preheat your smoker to maintain a temperature range of 225-250°F (107-121°C). Add wood chips, close the lid, and allow smoke to develop in your cooker.
- Secure your ThermaQ’s air probe to the smoker’s surface with a grate clip.
- Set the low alarm to 220°F (104°C), and the high alarm to 255°F (124°C).
Prepare the Ham
- Remove the ham from its packaging, rinse, and pat dry.
- Place the ham in a disposable aluminum foil pan.
- Place the Smokehouse Penetration Probe into the center of the thickest part of the ham, being careful to avoid the bone.
- Set this probe’s high alarm to 140°F (60°C).
Cook: Part 1
- Place the ham on the smoker grate. Spritz the ham with apple juice in a spray bottle, and close the lid.
- Spritz the ham with apple juice every 15 minutes for 2 hours (having a TimeStick around your neck is a great way to be sure you never miss a spritz!). Spritzing the ham keeps the surface tacky, allowing the smoke to penetrate the meat better.
- Replenish the wood chips about every 30 minutes to maintain smoke while your ham cooks.
Make the Glaze
- Whisk all ingredients together—done!
Cook: Part 2
- After the two hours have gone by, increase your smoker’s temperature to 275-300°F (149°C).
- Set the low alarm to 270°F (132°C), and the high alarm to 305°F (152°C).
- Liberally brush the glaze all over the ham and close the lid. Brush the ham with glaze every 15 minutes. If you prefer your smoked ham to be extra sticky and glazey, double the glaze recipe and be sure to brush the glaze between the slices. A spiral sliced ham has more exposed surface area for the glaze to attach to. Yum!
- Continue to cook the ham until its internal temperature reaches 140°F (60°F).
- This may take 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the size of your ham and the temperature maintenance of your smoker.
- When your ThermaQ’s high alarm sounds, verify the ham’s internal temperature by spot-checking it in multiple areas with a Thermapen® Mk4.
☼ Did You Know? The Thermapen Mk4 is Cook’s Illustrated’s #1 rated instant-read thermometer.
➤ What does it mean to spot-check and verify the internal temperature?
When you place your alarm thermometer’s probe into the meat at the beginning of the cook, you are making your best guess about the location of the thermal center of the meat.
But to be sure the lowest temperature in the meat (or its thermal center) has reached the food safe target temperature of 140°F (60°F) you’ll need to spot-check the meat’s temperature in multiple areas with an instant-read thermometer.
Insert your Thermapen’s probe deep into the meat, past the center. Then slowly pull the probe back up towards you. You will be able to clearly see the temperature gradients inside the meat.
The lowest temperature you see (after the display readings go down and come back up again) will be the temperature of the thermal center of the meat—in this case, we’re looking for 140°F (60°C).
- If a lower temperature is found, replace your ThermaQ‘s probe in the area of the lowest reading, and continue cooking until the target pull temperature is reached.
Rest and Serve
- Once the pull temperature is verified, remove the ham from the smoker, cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and let the meat rest for 15 minutes.
- Carryover Cooking: While the ham rests, the heat energy in the outer area of the meat will continue to travel to the lowest temperature area at the thermal center. This internal temperature rise right after the meat has been removed from its heat source is called carryover cooking. With the moderate heat of this cook, plan for about a 5° rise in temperature.
- Slice and serve with pan juices.
➤ For another recommendation on how to cook your ham, check out our post, Thermal Secrets to Moist and Flavorful Ham, that features a great recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.
This dressed-up, double-smoked ham should be on your party menu for any holiday! An expert recipe and key temperature tracking tips are what you need to make this a foolproof anytime-BBQ project.