OK, I've got the end of this smoking story all ready to go. Sorry for the delay; I've been in a ham haze for what seems like days ...
So, we left off on Thursday night. Friday we let Hammy sit and didn't do much. But then ...
Saturday, Dec. 24, 8 a.m.
We changed out Hammy's water again, and were feeling good about his looks.
I liked seeing his skin pull away from the meat a bit -- that told me that the water was rinsing out more of the salt from his insides. Since we'd bought a brown sugar-cured ham, we were planning a brown sugar glaze. But country hams have a lot of salt in them, so I wanted to make sure he got a good soaking.
Sunday, Dec. 25, 5:15 a.m.
A lot of the recipes we read said the hams took 4 to 6 hours to cook, but those were smaller hams (ours, again, was 18.86 lbs.) We figured we'd be safe rather than sorry and make sure he'd be ready for a 6 p.m. dinner time (even if it meant he rested and we reheated later). Here is is getting one last scrubbing:
Again, the skin pulling away was encouraging (in terms of the soaking). We put him in a roasting pan and added 2 cups of pineapple juice and a cup of water:
We put him in the smoker at 225 degrees using pecan wood:
Sunday, Dec. 25, 8 a.m.
OK, I know you're supposed to leave the lid closed ... but we were leaving the house to visit family for a couple of hours, and we had to take a peek to see how things were moving along (and to make sure there was still some liquid in the roaster). Hammy was clocking in at about 81 degrees at this point:
Sunday, Dec. 25, 1 p.m.
We got back home and took a temperature check with the new handy-dandy temperature probe (with the digital reader that magnetizes to the outside) of the smoker. Hammy's temp at this point was 135 degrees.
This is where things got a little fuzzy. We weren't sure how to proceed. We knew we wanted him to be at about 160 degrees, we weren't sure what to do about his skin ... we were definitely in uncharted territory. We put a foil tent on him and let him rest a bit. We figured, at this point he's good and cooked -- well enough that a "reheating" would take him to our optimal temperature.
Sunday, Dec. 25, 2 p.m.
We decided to pull his skin off, then lathered him in some dijon mustard and brown sugar:
We checked him at about 4 p.m. and spritzed him with more pineapple juice (we'd bought a spray bottle and squirted him with that). He didn't get crispy, but we think it's because of the roasting pan we kept him in. We considered putting him directly on the grill, but didn't want to risk him drying out or getting tough. We opted for a moist-but-not-crispy ham. We pulled him from the smoker at about 5 or 5:15 and tented him to let him rest.
Sunday, Dec. 25, 6:15 p.m.
My husband carved up the slices, and here is is with one piece taken (for taste-testing purposes, of course):
All in all, Hammy's flavor was fabulous. Lots of juice (as you can see), and a low smoky flavor. Everyone at the dinner loved the dinner, and said it was some of the best ham they'd had. For sides, we served a green salad, corn, homemade scalloped potatoes, pineapple chunks and dinner rolls.
If I had to change anything, I think I would have taken Hammy out of the roaster at some point. Probably when we removed the skin and put the mustard and brown sugar on. A nice crisp would have been good. Regardless, it came out really well, and we felt so victorious in the end! Thanks for everyone's well wishes!