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Smoking Thanksgiving Ham - Cured Raw vs Pre-Cooked?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by brandonb, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. brandonb

    brandonb Fire Starter

    I want to smoke a ham for Thanksgiving. I've been reading around on the forum and realized that it's a bit too late for me to cure my own so my options are now to either smoke a cured raw ham or a pre-cooked ham. I see a lot of posts about smoking a pre-cooked ham. What is the difference (outcome) between smoking a cured raw ham and a pre-cooked ham? I would imagine you can impact more flavor on a raw ham instead of a pre-cooked but that doesn't explain why so many people are smoking pre-cooked hams. I also assume that you can smoke a pre-cooked to 140-145 while you need to smoke a raw ham to 165 or so. I'm just trying to figure out what will give me the best (I know its subjective) and most flavorful ham. 

  2. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Some of my notes:

    Ham - Cooked / Uncooked

    Fully Cooked Ham - A ham that has been thoroughly heated during some part of the processing to a temperature exceeding 147° F, making it ready to eat without further cooking. These hams are found labeled "Fully Cooked," "Ready to Eat," or "Heat and Serve." They may be eaten right out of the package or they can be warmed to an internal temperature of 140° F to provide a richer flavor.

    Pre-Cooked Ham - A ham that has been heated during some part of the processing to an internal temperature exceeding 137°F but less than 148° F. Most commercially processed hams are heated to a temperature of 140° F. Temperatures reaching 137° F will kill the trichina parasite. A partially cooked ham still requires additional cooking prior to eating. It must be heated to an internal temperature of 160° F.

    Uncooked Ham - A ham that had not reached an internal temperature exceeding 137° F during processing. Uncooked hams are generally dry-cured hams, although dry-cured hams are also available fully cooked. An uncooked ham requires more preparation time and cooking time than a partially or fully cooked ham.

    A Fresh Picnic Ham is a raw ham. When smoking, curing is not needed. Shoot for 175 to 180* internal.
    This temp if for WELL done, Bodine pulls at 150*.
  3. brandonb

    brandonb Fire Starter

    Thanks for the explanations. 

    I was hoping someone could provide comparisons of the end result of smoking a cooked vs uncooked ham. I'm trying to decide what are the pros and cons of doing each to help me figure out which one I want to smoke next week.
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm voting for a fresh raw ham. The you can smoke it and have some really good leftovers. Now the pre-cooked hams you run the risk of over cooking them during the re-heat. To me the fresh is the way to go but thats my pennies.
  5. brandonb

    brandonb Fire Starter

    That's what I figured. I just saw a lot of posts about people smoking pre-cooked hams and I wondered why they'd do that over a raw cured ham.
  6. nozzleman

    nozzleman Smoking Fanatic

    I have done the pre-cooked several times and they have come out great. They have plenty of smoke flavor and they are not dry either. Just rub them really good with your favorite rub and smoke it, you can make a glaze and apply to it at the end if you want it. I have done both and both ways are good.
  7. smokeysooner

    smokeysooner Fire Starter

    I am brining a small ham and smoking it on Wednesday. Boomer sooner
  8. brandonb

    brandonb Fire Starter

  9. integritybbq

    integritybbq Newbie

    So buying a picnic and cooking like pulled pork will result in a traditional ham taste, thought that was from the brine/cure. I looking to cook a ham for my family, would like to do it all myself(curing if needed). I get confused on curing though, some places I read shows curing for days some say weeks. Not sure if there is a difference between mortan insta cure vs #1. Also don't know where to buy #1 cure at. Any help would be great :)
  10. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    A uncured picnic will give you pulled pork. You would need to cure to make a ham. Check this thread out http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/89979/from-hog-leg-to-easter-ham/0_40
  11. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  12. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here is a thread of a Boston butt cured in Pop's brine and smoked to a high IT of 205. A picnic ham would do the same thing. The window of time it will take to brine and get it done for Thanksgiving is getting short. (10-14 days in the brine) You can order cure #1 at Sausage Maker or any of the sausage supply stores. Bass Pro, Cabelas etc usually will have LEM cure #1 (same thing)

  13. The best source I have found is SausageMaker.com. Everything you need for curin and more!