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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
Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker
Small pot (to cook glaze)
10 – 12 pounds fresh Ham, bone in (uncured, often called “green ham” in the South)
8-10 pc pecan wood chunks
½ cup brown sugar, dark
¼ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons black pepper, ground coarse
2 tsp cayenne pepper, ground (optional)
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons ginger, fresh, minced
2 teaspoons black pepper, ground
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup maple syrup (not imitation flavored)
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 with your iGrill. 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!