Smoked Ham for the Holidays

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Jul 3, 2005
Northeast Ohio
I would like to include a smoked ham in this years Thanksgiving feast to go with traditional turkey and sides already on the menu. Can anyone tell me their best way to prepare one? I need to know where to buy an uncooked ham, or should I use a pre-cooked? Rub and/or glaze? Cook times & temps? Any and all advice would be appreciated!


Brian, the smoked hams that you buy in the store have already been cooked. It is possible to get a fresh ham (cured but not smoked) but these are usually a special order item. With smoked hams I like to score the fat with diagonal slices so that you end up with 1/2 inch diamonds in the fat. Take 8 or 9 whole cloves in insert them into the center of the diamonds. Mix 1 cup of brown sugar with 1 teaspoon (or more to your liking) of dried mustard, slather the ham with Frenches yellow mustard and then apply the brown sugar/mustard mix. Place in a 350 degree oven and heat to an internal temp. of 160 degrees. Just before pulling the ham place 3-4 pineapple rings on top of the ham and place a maraschino cherry in the center of the pineapple ring. Put back into the oven for about 10 minutes just to heat the pineapple. You could also place the ham in a smoker with no or a very light smoke until the internal temp. reaches 160 degrees. Since most cured ham has already been smoked-usually with hickory- I would skip the smoke all together.

Enjoy :D
Thanks for the reply, Earl.

I'm really hoping to find a fresh cured ham that I can smoke myself, but, as you suggest, it is a very difficult to fing one that is not already cooked. Unfortunately, I just don't know any local Ohio pig farmers and the only reliable meat cutter in my circle of friends happens to live clear on the other side of the country! :mrgreen:

Oh well, thems the breaks, I guess. Its a little late for a special order, so if I don't luck out by this weekend and find a fresh ham, I'll take your advice for a prepared ham. I can always plan ahead for the Christmas feast and order early. :)

Hi Brian,
If you are fortunate enough to find the fresh ham, you can really turn out some fine BBQ. Basically, you should cook it just like you would a butt. ie slather it with ball park mustard, sprinkle with rub, and smoke it at 225*. Plan on at least 1.5 hours per pound. Also, a note of caution. Just as you have heard others on the forum talk about keeping the size of the turkey down, the same applies to the ham. This is, of course, due to the fact that the larger cuts of meat or turkey take longer to move through the 40* to 140* danger zone. Thus less risk with the smaller cuts.
I've smoked whole hams a long time ago in a ECB and also more recently in an off set type smoker. Treat it like a butt and be patient with the internal meat temp. Take it to 180 to 200* internal temp. One more thing I've been educated on recently.... put the fat side down. I've tried it and I'm now a convert. There are more details in the butt smoking thread. Good luck and happy Thanksgiving.

Fl. Bill
Bill is correct! It's a little late to be curing it yourself right now, but you can smoke it with awesome results! It is the "Curing Process" that gives a Ham that traditional red coloring of the meat. I smoked a Fresh Ham at our annual Labor Day party along with the normal fare of Packer Briskets and Butts. I never even got to TASTE the Fresh Ham!!!! They scarfed it up before I even had a chance to turn around!

Fresh Hams are abundant this time or year because of the Holidays. Most will be labeled in your local stores as "Picnics". Be sure to "Score" the surrounding skin in "diamonds", as smoke will not penetrate skin! Or, I should say, not in the 12 to 15 Hrs it takes to "Barbeque". Cold Smoking is a different matter.

Prepare it much in the same way you would a Boston Butt. If you wish to add a glaze, do it a couple of hours before you pull it from the Chamber.

And save that Bone for any Dogs in the neighborhood you wish to be friends with for the rest of your life!!!! LOL!

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Larry,if you buy anything other than a fresh ham in the store they have been cured.Actually a ham isnt a ham until its been cured,its just a pork roast.Most hams you will buy from the store have been what is called "sugar cured."That is a method of using a combination os salt and sugar.The salt does the curing and the sugar mellows the taste of the salt.There are many ways of curing for example using honey or maple syrup instead of sugar but the salt must be there for the curing. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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