There are many different ways to cook ham to make a delicious meal, but one of the best ways to do this is to smoke it. This is a way of cooking your ham to ensure that it is rich with flavor and that the moisture is still present in the meat.
If this sounds good to you, then you might now be wondering how to smoke a fresh ham. In this article, we will tell you exactly how to smoke a fresh ham for the best results.
There are lots of different methods of smoking ham, but we are going to show you the best one of them all. You won’t be disappointed with the end result, and as long as you follow these instructions that we give you, the process will be easy and straightforward to follow.
If this has piqued your interest, keep reading to find out more.
What is the Difference Between Cured and Smoked Ham?
The thing that makes cured and smoked ham two different things are the methods that are followed to prepare the meat.
Cured meat is preserved through the use of salt that almost coats the meat and creates an environment that is uninhabitable for bacteria to grow.
Smoked meat can be cooked on low heat to preserve the flavor and moisture in the meat. Both of these methods will give you different end results, and the taste and texture of the meat will be completely different.
However, with that being said, we are going to tell you how to smoke a fresh ham for the best results.
What Do I Need to Smoke a Fresh Ham?
There are some things that you will need in preparation to smoke your ham, and the first and most obvious thing that you will need is the fresh ham itself. This is the heart of this recipe, and you don’t want to have everything ready and forget all about the ham!
You will be able two choose between two different types of fresh ham when it comes to purchasing it, and it is up to you to decide which one to get.
It is all down to personal preference, and you should choose the one that you prefer. It won’t make a difference to the process, and you can choose the size that you need.
The second thing that you are going to need in order to be able to smoke your newly acquired fresh ham is a quality smoker. There are a variety of machines that you can purchase for this purpose if you don’t already have one at home.
Again, this is down to personal preference, so choose whichever you prefer to use.
Another additional option that you can use to add more flavor is a form of dry rub. You can either use a store-bought mixture, or you can dabble in making your own dry rub.
You can also choose to add additional ingredients like mustard, juice, or brown sugar if you choose to.
Finally, you are going to need aluminum foil and a probe thermometer.
How to Smoke a Fresh Ham
Now that we have all of the ingredients and equipment that we need for this method, the only thing that is left to do is to get started.
1. Preheat Your Smoker
The first thing that you should do is to preheat your smoker to around 225 degrees Farenheight. This will save you having to wait for it to heat up later on. Follow the instructions included with your smoker to do this.
2. Prep The Ham – Scoring
Next, you will need to prepare the ham while your smoker is heating up.
Take a knife and cut multiple long slits to create a diamond pattern across the skin of the ham. Make sure that you don’t cut the meat, as you only want to cut through the skin to make it easier for the ham to crisp on the outside while smoking.
3. Prep The Ham – Seasoning
The next step is where you can get creative with seasoning your fresh ham., however, you would like.
You can coat the ham in a layer of dressing and add your rub on top, or you can use other ingredients if you prefer to. A dressing like mustard will help the dry rub to stick to the outside of the ham.
Try this honey-glazed rub recipe for something simple yet delightful.
Make sure that whatever you are using is being coated evenly over the outside of the ham to evenly spread the flavor.
4. Load The Ham Into The Smoker
Now, you can put your fresh ham on the smoker and add either coals, wood chips, or pellets to ensure a steady flow of smoke that will flavor the ham.
You can add more over time if necessary. When it comes to cooking ham, you need to account for 20 minutes of cooking time per one pound of ham. You will be looking for an internal temperature of 190 degrees, and you can use the probe thermometer to help you with this.
5. Check Your Ham Regularly Until Done
You should regularly probe your ham when necessary to check the internal temperature.
When the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, you should remove the ham from the smoker to wrap it in aluminum foil. Make sure to leave it slightly open on the ends so that it can still be exposed to the smoke. Try not to open the lid too often, as this allows heat to escape, which will make the cooking process even longer. Place the ham back on the smoker and keep cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees. This temperature reading should be taken from the center of the ham, as you don’t want it to be raw in the middle.
6. Let It Rest
Once the ham has finished cooking, you should allow it to rest.
Take it off the grill while leaving the foil on, and leave it on the side for around 30 minutes before slicing. This will make sure that the ham will be tender and moist when it comes to the serving time.