I want to smoke a ham

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
OTBS Member
Aug 29, 2006
I can get an uncooked ham and I would like to smoke one in the near future. I haven't seen much discussion here about smoking a ham, if I have seen any. Does anyone have a recipe or guidlines that I could follow?

There are several ways to do it Jabo. I have one link that might help. I haven't tried it yet but here it is.


I thought I had one from Virginia extension service that DacDots had put up in the bacon forum but I can't find it. I do have the PDF file if you would like I could PM it to you. It tells how to do a sugar cured Virginia ham.
I think an un-cooked ham will turn out a lot like a pork shoulder but will not taste like ham. I would smoke a pre-cooked smoked ham. Just don't smoke as long. I have done it and the result was fabulous.

I have seen discussions about this topic on this forum.

Aubrey Page


OTBS # 007
Cajun Smoker, thanks. I may give that a try for Thanksgiving. Looks like a lot of work, but I bet it would be worth it.

I have heard that this method won't cure the bone well enough, any thoughts?

Are you wanting to cure a ham, or just cook an uncured or "fresh" ham?

If you're wanting to smoke a fresh ham, you would do similar to a butt. Our preference would be to take it off @ about 180f internal temp, and slice thin, oh yeah, don't forget to remove the rind first.
Hi Jabo,

Like I said previously, I haven't tried this myself yet. I do plan to try it for Christmas. One of the steps is very specific about injecting the brine all the way in against the large bone. I would think that a real good deep series of injections all up and down the bone should suffice.

DickeyDoo is absolutely correct that you can just cook a fresh ham like cooking a shoulder or a Butt. I have done that a couple of times and it is very good. I just assumed on your original post that you were talking about making a cured ham.
I am talking about curing the ham and then smoking it. Curing it is my main concern. I think I can smoke it with no problem. I am concerned with the curing process, has anyone here ever done this?
I can remember as a youngster watching my Dad cure hams. The process entailed a cure of salt, brown sugar, black pepper, red pepper and I think some other things. It was cured in a cold environment (back then we did all of it at home in the winter). We looked for cold days to kill the pork and process it. Sorry but I don't remember the exact formula for the cure.

Now days, I suspect your best approach is to buy some Morton's Salt Cure. You'll need to rub the hams thoroughly, wrap them is a bag (we used to use pillow cases) and hang or store them in a refrigerated environment for about five to six weeks. Look for the Morton's Salt cure and I'll bet the full instructions are on the box. If you have the environment to cure your own hams, you'll get a lot of satisfaction from the process but just a heads up ..... it can be tricky. It's not hard to loose a ham. If you're really serious about it, Google it up, read a lot and be on the look out for a box of Morton's salt cure.

Edit: Jabo, I went into Google and found this site -- http://www.sugarmountainhome.com/liv...uringmeat.html -- it's a lot more thorough than my recollections. Also, now that I read and think more, it's Mortons SUGAR Cure that works. The site referenced also mentions that. It's really not as difficult as it sounds. Good cure application and cool temp are the keys. Good luck. Bill
I have been brine curing all my hams. One cup flossy salt, half cup raw/brown sugar to the gallon water. Teaspoon 12% cure added. Then whatever spices tickles you. When water about 40 F add the meat and let it soak for maybe a week. I then pump brine to the bone area and let hang for couple of days to drip dry. Then do the smoking. It works well with a leg of mutton as well but without the cure added. I am sure you have mutton over your way but you may call it another name. I have installed a coldroom which is almost essential in the climate here and creates a pretty fail safe enviroment. Some of you blokes just have to open the back door to get the temp down probably.
Since I live in SC almost in GA, cold weather for long enough to slow cure or country cure a ham is out of the question (thank God). I will need to brine cure or city cure the ham. I am probably going to try the method descirbed in the link above, however if I can find a large artery running into the ham I may just inject 10% of the weight of the ham into this artery and put it in the fridge for a week. Any thoughts?


there are a couple of books that help in cureing meats for ham and bacon and such one is great sausage recipes and meat curing by rytek kutas the other is a lot cheaper and is the morton salt home meat curing guide i like using the book from morton it is very informative the book by rytek kutas has a picture of the artery and explains how to locate the artery and it also explains spray pumping the ham both of these books and the good people of this forum have helped me a lot hope this helps
Since I live in SC almost in GA, cold weather for long enough to slow cure or country cure a ham is out of the question (thank God). I will need to brine cure or city cure the ham. I am probably going to try the method descirbed in the link above, however if I can find a large artery running into the ham I may just inject 10% of the weight of the ham into this artery and put it in the fridge for a week. Any thoughts?


lem products sells a ham curing kit that you can buy with everything that you need for curing a ham it comes with instructions that tell you how to find the artery good luck making your ham
Jabo, When I used to help brine hams for the family business, we would use the "stitch" method of pumping brine. We would insert the brining needle into the ham every 2 -3 inches in a grid pattern. This method is quicker than the artery pump method. We would do on average 25-30 hams at a time. The artery method is fine if your doing a couple of hams at a time.
Hi Dutch, New to this artery method. Can you explain please and what effectivness is there. I feel that the artery would not hold a lot of brine/cure and would be a very repetive process. I have another pig in the cold room now but under pressure to just leave it as pork.
Hey, Doc- the artery method entails inserting the brining needle into the main artery in the ham and them pumping enough brine into the ham to increase the green weight of the ham by 10%. The idea is that the brine flows through the artery and into the meat of the ham.
The drawbacks are- 1) Difficulty in locating the artery; once the artery is cut it usually retracts into the ham and then it's a game of hide and seek using forceps and a knife to find the it. 2) Time consuming for large production. This method is better suited for small scale production say less the 5 or 6 hams at a time. 3) Artery blowout-if the artery ruptures, all the brine ends up in one area of the ham.

Artery pumping and stitch pumping uses basically the same equipment. A brine needle and a syringe or brine pump (a more costly setup), brine solution and a method of refrigeration and a setup for smoking.

I personally prefer the stitch method as it ensures an even distribution and you are able to get the brine down around the bone.

Once the brine has been injected or pumped into the ham, the ham is place in a container filled with the brining solution and placed under refrigeration between 3-5 days and then cold smoked.
Smoking for curing purposes ( as w/ hams) is not a cooking process, and therefore is a low temp process. Originally (in the old days) the smoke was more to repel insects and prevent bacterial growth more than for flavor.
Smoked at temps below 100*. This results in a smoked product but not a cooked product. Often if the customer wanted a cooked product, we would then increase the smokehouse temp to 185* until the internal temps reached 165*.
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