It was a mainstay at most Christmas gatherings growing up – the smoked ham. However, rather than simply heating up a ready-cured ham, I encourage you to smoke your own. Why not? It can be fun and come out quite tasty too, something far beyond the garden-variety heat and serve ham.
And don’t be intimidated! Making a smoked ham is not very difficult and you can enjoy the results for several days with tasty sandwiches and other left-over creations.
Please read on for a step-by-step guide on the process.
Selecting & Preparing The Ham
I like a pork but that’s around 6 or 7 pounds, bone-in of course. That seems to be a manageable size and doesn’t require too much time to heat to the center.
After unwrapping it, cut off the large pieces of fat and thoroughly score the exterior with a fork.
Make & Apply The Basting Mixture
We’re going to create our own sweet baste, something fitting for such a regal cut of pork; it will consist of the following:
1 1/2 cup grated ginger;
1/4 tsp. of cloves;
a small (16 oz) can of pineapple slices in heavy syrup;
3/4 cup pure maple syrup;
3/4 cup honey;
1/4 tsp. all spice;
1/2 cup of apricot jelly;
1/4 cup brown sugar.
Combine the ginger, spices, cloves, honey and syrup in a mixing bowl. Also add the syrup from the canned pineapple. Save the pineapple slices, apricot jelly, and brown sugar for later. Stir the mixture until roughly blended, then spread over pork butt and place on dish; let ham sit covered with mixture for at least 2 hours, all the while occasionally re-basting the ham if the mixture puddles in dish. Now stuff the cloves into ham, taking care to spread them evenly around the exterior.
Smoking The Ham
Put the basted ham into your smoker and set temperature to 225°F. Smoke with hickory or mesquite hardwood chips for roughly 2 hours while periodically re-basting with syrup mixture. After about 2 hours, spread apricot jelly on ham, sprinkle with brown sugar, and adorn with pineapple slices fixed to the ham with toothpicks. Smoke for another hour, making sure that the internal temperature of the ham reaches 140°F.
Then carve, serve and enjoy!
Featured photo credit: “Baked Smoked ham from Uncle Peter” by Alpha under CC BY-SA 2.0