Cooking the families Christmas ham has quickly become a tradition and a responsibility of mine in the days leading up to Christmas. It’s one of my most rewarding cooks of the year.
It’s a loving process tending to a huge roast; scoring, preparing, smoking, decorating and glazing it. It’s a joy seeing everyone tuck in on Christmas Day, and there’s the happiness of guilt free ham eating every day for the days or weeks following Christmas.
What’s even better is that the cooking process gives you a snack to eat along the way- the crackling that you peel off the ham before smoking it, crunchy, sweet, salty (my mouth is watering thinking about it). Plus, I love to try a new ham glaze each year. I have included some of my favourites below.
If you have ever had a hot, smoked, freshly cooked pickled leg of pork (ham) with sweet and sticky glaze, you’ll know how magical it is.
Cooking a Christmas ham on a Weber Kettle is the ultimate, it’s a classic way to get the best results.
1x 6kg to 7kg leg of pickled pork (green/raw ham) 1 cup ham glaze, warmed (see recipe ideas below)
Set up your Weber kettle for indirect cooking with approximately 25 barbecue briquettes in each char basket. Place fire lighters in the centre of the charcoal grate (in the Vs if you have a charcoal v-grate), place your char baskets over the fire lighters and leave to light for 25 to 30 minutes.
With a sharp knife, cut the rind around the sides of the pork, around the knuckle and down the centre to free it on all sides, ensuring that you have cut right through the rind to the fat, but not into the flesh.
Set Up Kettle
Once the briquettes are mostly lit, separate the char-baskets to the outer rim of the charcoal grate and place a large disposable drip pan between them (one large and one small drip pan together perfectly fits and covers the grill in-between the baskets).
Set the cooking grill in place. Place the lid on the kettle, ensuring both air vents are open. Preheat for 5 minutes.
Place the pork in the centre of the cooking grill. If the edges of the pork are hanging over the direct zone (above the fire), shield the edges of the pork with aluminium foil. Roast the pork for 2 ½ hours to blister the skin.
After 2 ½ hours to 3 hours and the skin has hardened and blistered, carefully remove the skin with tongs. Score the fat in a pattern, being careful not to cut into the flesh. The skin can be eaten or discarded.
Smoke the Ham
Add your choice of smoking wood chunks to the briquettes. Close the lid and leave the ham to smoke for 30 minutes to 1 hour before glazing.
Apply a layer of ham glaze, continue to cook for a further 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the internal temperature of the ham has reached 65°C, glazing the ham every 20 minutes. Leave the ham to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. The internal temperature will continue to rise to 68°C, which is the safe ham doneness temperature.
HOW TO USE A HAM BAG
Whole ham will keep better than slices, so only slice what you need.
Soak the bag in 4 cups of water mixed with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.
Wring out excess liquid and place ham inside the bag.
Store in the fridge and re-soak the bag in the solution every 3 days.