Pecan Smoked Fresh Ham With Maple Glaze On The WSM

Pecan Smoked Fresh Ham With Maple Glaze On The WSM

In the Carolinas, fresh ham (often called “green ham”) is substituted for smoked pork shoulder at BBQ joints, and it is just as delicious. This Easter, I wanted to smoke a fresh ham for the family, instead of the traditional cured ham. What can be a more dramatic presentation than a bone-in ham, fresh from the smoker and sliced tableside? A simple rub of some salt, pepper, a little sugar and some cayenne is best for this, as the flavors of fresh ham, smoked over pecan wood, is just fantastic. A light touch with a maple/honey baste will help to enhance the natural ham flavor and provide a great lacquer glaze on the ham. Make sure to score the skin with a sharp knife for best results, this will help the skin to render up nice and crackly! Let’s unpack the smoker and get grilling this Spring with a fresh, bone-in ham, smoked on a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker!

Serves: 10-15 people
Prep time: 15 minutes (overnight to cure)
Cook time: 6 hours (for 10 lbs), 20 minutes of rest time

Special Equipment:
Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker
Basting brush
Small pot (to cook glaze)

Ingredients:
10 – 12 pounds fresh Ham, bone in (uncured, often called “green ham” in the South)
8-10 pc pecan wood chunks

The Rub:
½ cup brown sugar, dark
¼ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons  black pepper, ground coarse
2 tsp cayenne pepper, ground (optional)

The Glaze:
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons ginger, fresh, minced
2 teaspoons black pepper, ground
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup maple syrup (not imitation flavored)

Instructions:

1.       Use a sharp knife to make a number of slits in the skin and all over the outside of the ham. This will help the rub to stick to the ham and help the skin render better.

2.       Combine the ingredients for the rub together and rub all over the ham. Place the ham in the refrigerator overnight, skin side facing upwards, uncovered.



3.       The next morning, set up the Weber Smoky Mountain for a 6 hour cook, you will want to keep the temperature around 250 degrees. Stud the bottom of the smoker with the pecan wood chunks and cover with 1 chimney of unlit charcoal. Light another chimney of charcoal. Once the charcoal has lit, pour on top of the raw charcoal in the smoker.  Fill the water pan with 3 qts of warm water.

4.       While the smoker gets going, remove the ham from the refrigerator. If there is any leftover rub, re-apply it to the ham as much as possible. Let the ham sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.

5.       Gather the ingredients for the glaze and place them in a saucepot over your side burner or on your stovetop. Select a large saucepot, because the glaze may boil over if reduced with too high a flame. Reduce the glaze to about half the volume (should take around 25 minutes on low flame).



6.       Once the WSM is ready, place the ham (skin side facing up) on the top rack of the smoker and close the lid. The best results for smoking this would be to keep the temperature around 250F. If it drops too low, then it will cook, but not have as much crusty “bark” as the picture has. If you want a softer exterior, lean towards the 225F side, but don’t go much lower than that. As well, be careful not to cook too hot (above 275F), or the glaze could get dark and bitter before the ham is cooked through.



7.       Cook the ham for about 2 hours, then glaze generously with some of the glaze. Close the lid and smoke another 2 hours. Glaze once again.

8.       After 6 hours, check the temperature in at least 3 places. It should be around 165F. When the ham hits that temperature, remove from the smoker and place onto a pan.

9.       Wrap the ham with foil on top and place in a warm place to rest. Your oven (turned off!) is a great place.

10.   After the ham has rested, slice against the grain in ¼” slices. Serve with any remaining glaze.

Keep the coals hot!

What are your thoughts? (6)

12.28.16

Michael G

I really liked this recipe. I ran my WSM for about 12 hours to get the ham to 165 (I'm at 10,000 ft so it's hard to maintain temperatures over 225). The ham was tasty but a little dry even though I had a full pan of water. Maybe because of the long cook time - not as much fat throughout a ham as with a brisket...

12.28.16

Matt Jost, R&D Chef at the Weber Grill Restaurant

Hi Michael, Great comment about the higher altitude and how it affects the cooking time. I would say for sure you are on the right track for the ham, a shorter cooking time would help it not dry out as much. If you cook this again, try wrapping the ham with heavy duty foil (wrap two layers all around, nice and tight) at the last 2 hours of cooking. This will help keep some of the juices with the meat. Be careful though, when you wrap, it will speed up the cooking time by about 1/2, so make sure to check it more often at the end. Happy Smoking and Happy New Year! - Matt

11.22.16

Rob L

Hello,
I was wondering if you could give some advice on how the cook time and/or temp would change if I were to use an offset smoker for this recipe?

Thanks,
Rob

11.22.16

Matt Jost, R&D Chef at the Weber Grill Restaurant

Hi Rob, Glad to see you are checking out the Weber Blog for your grilling questions, we have had a lot of experience with live fire cooking! I would say that you will get the best results when using an offset smoker by positioning the bone side towards the fire and the meat side away. Position the ham as close as you can to the middle of the smoker and fire it up to around 275F. There should be no more adjustments needed to make this come out great, but it may take a little longer to cook, mostly because the chamber is larger and the heat not directly beneath. I would say that you should allow for 15% longer cook times, and try to keep the temperature as close as you can to 275F. Other than that, happy smoking!

Our best to your family for the Holidays!

11.17.16

Greg G

Thinking about doing this ham for Thanksgiving but I find it kind of hard to believe that 2 chimneys of charcoal will be enough for a 6 hr., smoke. I have a 22' WSM.

11.17.16

Matt Jost, R&D Chef at the Weber Grill Restaurant

Hi Greg, That’s a great observation about the charcoal lasting for the full cook. I tested this ham out using an 18” WSM and 2 chimneys worth of charcoal was great for 6 hours. For your 22”, you may need to add another ½ chimney or so to the set-up. This is for 2 reasons: One, the grill is bigger and needs more energy to keep it hot; and two, when smoking at colder temperatures, it will need a little more fuel to maintain the same temperature b/c you are fighting the elements.

Send a picture, if you can. We would love to see it!

Happy grilling!

11.09.15

Daniel S

Trying this on Vet's Day. Looks great. Question regarding Step 8:

Step 8. "After 6hrs check the internal temp in 3 places. It should be 195deg..."

195deg seems high. 'Weber's Smoke' book (pg110 Sage Smoked Fresh Ham) quotes a final temp of 160deg. 'Weber's Real Grilling' book (pg 170 Rotisserie Pork) quotes a final temp of 175deg.

The last time I oven roasted a fresh ham, I cooked to 150deg internal.

I'm not challenging this recipe, just want to learn. Can you explain the reasoning behind 195deg final temp?

Thanks!
Dan

11.09.15

Matt Jost, R&D Chef at the Weber Grill Restaurant

Daniel, The best way I can explain the temperature choice is that I personally love a ham that pulls apart like a pork shoulder. If you want to slice it like a more traditional ham roast, 165 - 170 F will get you there, for sure.
For me, the collagen gets broken down a little more and dissolves to gelatin after about 170F, so It's a little softer.

Either way, we would love to see a picture of the final roast! Happy Veteran's Day smoking!

10.23.15

Stephen M

Thanks for the detailed response, Matt. I look forward to smoking a fresh ham during the upcoming holiday season.

Steve

10.23.15

Matt Jost, R&D Chef at the Weber Grill Restaurant

Awesome! Send us a picture, if you have a chance. Best of luck!

10.22.15

Stephen M

What is the desired temperature range of the smoker during cooking?

Thanks,
Steve

10.21.15

Matt Jost, R&D Chef at the Weber Grill Restaurant

Hi Stephen, great question. The best results for smoking this would be around 250F. If it drops too low, then it will cook, but not have as much crusty “bark” as the picture has. If you want a softer exterior, lean towards the 225F side, but don’t go much lower than that. As well, be careful not to cook too hot (above 275F), or the glaze could get dark and bitter before the ham is cooked through.

Best of luck to ya!
Happy grilling!

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