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.
What kind of ham are we talking about here?
Hams break down into two major (if not oversimplified) divisions: country hams and city hams.
Country hams are dry-cured, usually with nothing more than salt as the preserving agent. They take months to produce and are not cooked at all in their production. Some hams that can be classified as country-type can actually be eaten raw. Prosciutto di Parma, Jamon Iberico, Serrano ham…these are all dry-cured hams that we eat without any cooking. The classic American cured country ham is the Smithfield ham, and though I hope to one day cover how to prepare one of those for roasting, this article isn’t the place for it. Here, we’re focusing on city hams.
City hams, also often called boiled hams are hams that are cured quickly, usually through injection or wet-brining (or a combination of the two), and cooked prior to being sold. These are the hams you see most often at the grocery store. Some are fully cooked and ready to eat right out of the package, but some are only partially cooked and need to be heated to a proper food-safe temperature.
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 120–125°F (49–52°C) to make it palatably warm. 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 will 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!
Check the label on your ham to see if it says it is fully cooked or needs cooking.
➤ Thermometer of choice for cooking ham: Smoke X2™
Being able to monitor both your pit temp and your ham temp at the same time can be very handy. You don’t want the pit to be too cold (your ham will take forever to get warm and tasty!), and you don’t want it to get too hot, lest the ham dry out or even burn on the outside. Using a dual-channel thermometer like Smoke X2 allows you to do that. But no matter which leave-in probe you use, you need to remember to spot-check the ham when the alarm sounds on it.
➤ 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.
Use a Thermapen® ONE 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 you have a ready-to-eat ham, you just need to make sure it’s hot enough to be enjoyable.)
This dressed-up, double-smoked ham should be on your party menu for any holiday! It’s easy, it’s packed with flavor, and it will be well-loved by everyone you feed it to. Just remember to check the cooking needs of your particular ham, watch those temps, and don’t skimp on the glaze! You’ll love it. Enjoy!
Oh, and since you’ll be basting the glaze onto a food-safe surface, you can save any extra glaze to drizzle onto your ham slices or ham sadiwch. I recommend you do!Print
- 8 to 10-lb cooked, smoked, bone-in ham (shank-end preferred)
- 2 C apple juice
- Hickory, oak, or maple wood chips
Fire Up Your Smoker
- Preheat your smoker to maintain a temperature range of 225-250°F (107-121°C). Add a wood chunk, close the lid, and allow smoke to develop in your cooker.
- Secure your Smoke X2’s air probe to the smoker’s surface with a grate clip.
Prepare the Ham
- Remove the ham from its packaging, rinse, and pat dry.
- Place the ham in a disposable aluminum foil pan.
- Place the 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-pan 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.
Make the Glaze
- Whisk all ingredients together—done!
Cook: Part 2
- After the two hours or spritzing have gone by, increase your smoker’s temperature to 275-300°F (149°C).
- Set the air-temp channel’s 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 Smoke X2’s high alarm sounds, verify the ham’s internal temperature by spot-checking it in multiple areas with a Thermapen.
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.
- 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, which features a great recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.
Shop now for products used in this post: