Smoked ham is so versatile and so delicious! You can serve it on a sandwich, chop it up and add it to a salad or omelet or enjoy it as part of an old-fashioned country meal. It’s also a beloved part of many people’s holiday traditions, and serving up a homemade smoked ham is one great way to impress the whole family during the holidays. If you love ham and you have a pellet smoker grill, you’re in luck, because smoked ham is also one of our favorite pellet grill recipes! Follow along with our guide and learn how to smoke a ham on a pellet grill that will keep everybody asking for seconds.
What Kind of Ham Do You Want?
We cover all of the juicy details of ham selection in our guide to choosing the right ham. To sum it up, most pitmasters choose a so-called city ham for smoking. City ham comes already cured (typically via wet curing). This means it’s ready to eat, but it doesn’t yet have all of the delicious flavors you can bring by glazing and smoking it yourself.
There’s also country ham, which is much drier and saltier due to its dry curing process. Country ham can work for smoking, but not everyone is a fan of its extremely salty flavor and, in fact, it needs to be soaked before cooking to remove some of the excess salt. Fresh ham, meanwhile, isn’t yet cured or smoked at all. Curing your own ham can be very rewarding, but it takes multiple days to do it right, so fresh ham often isn’t the best choice for beginners.
Other Important Parts of Choosing a Ham
- Boneless or Bone-In: Many pitmasters prefer the extra flavor that bone-in hams offer. The most popular cut of bone-in ham today is known as a spiral ham, and it’s what we recommend for anybody getting started with smoking ham. Spiral ham is great because it’s already been cut for you at the butcher, meaning it’s ready to serve once it’s done cooking.
- Ingredients: Huh? Isn’t a ham just a ham? Not when it’s listed as “ham with water” or “water added.” Water added hams have been injected with water to make them juicier and plumper, but their texture and flavor is often lacking. Check the ingredients list and make sure water isn’t listed.
- Glaze: If you’re going to make your own glaze, be sure to purchase one that’s not glazed yet. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll assume you want to glaze your own ham — it’s super easy and lets you customize the flavors!
Smoke the Ham of Your Dreams on a Wifi Pellet Grill!
How to Smoke Ham on a Pellet Grill: Five Easy Steps
- Make sure your pellet grill’s hopper is filled with wood pellets and set it to the correct temperature. Low and slow is the way to go for smoking ham. We generally recommend 225 degrees, which will give the ham a delectable smoky flavor. Remember, the ham is already cured, so your primary concern is adding smoke.
- Place the ham on a foil-lined cooking tray, set it on the smoker rack and close the smoker. Check the ham with a meat thermometer approximately once per hour; you’re done when it hits 175ºF. Most hams will take approximately four to six hours to get there — and, along the way, they’ll acquire that taste you’re craving!
- While the ham is on the smoker, create your glaze. A glaze isn’t strictly necessary, but it can really crank up the flavor on a ham. Many different types exist, but our pineapple bourbon glaze is a great place to start. For most glaze recipes, it’s basically a matter of combining the ingredients in a pot on the stove, then heating and stirring them until they reduce.
- During the last hour your ham is on the smoker, brush the finished glaze onto the ham all over, approximately once every 10 to 15 minutes. This gives the glaze time to firm up and caramelize, which is how you’ll get that picture-perfect, savory-sweet crust on your ham.
- Take the ham off the smoker and rest it for approximately 15 minutes. If your ham is spiral sliced, you won’t even need to carve it — just serve it up and enjoy! It makes a delicious part of a holiday dinner, but you can also use it in recipes like our ham and cheese breakfast frittata or smoked potato and ham soup.
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Smoked ham is just one tasty stop on the pitmaster’s journey! Check out our pitmaster’s guide to cooking the different cuts of pork, and see the best meats to smoke on a pellet grill to learn all about ribs, chicken and more.