Smoked Ham! Whether it’s whole, spiral sliced, bone-in, boneless, or double-smoked, there is nothing better than serving a great ham to family and friends. This smoked bone-in leg of ham recipe will have everyone heading back for seconds! It’s juicy, flavourful, and the glaze, oh the glaze, it is sweet, sticky, and yummy!
What is Smoked Ham?
All pork products that you purchase at the grocery store that are labeled “Ham” are cured with a curing solution and most likely are smoked as well. These products, including smoked ham, are fully cooked. They are ready to eat right out of the package.
For our recipe, we start with a raw bone-in front shoulder or leg of ham, which is the cut for ham and is completely uncured; you have to do the curing and smoking before you can eat it. But isn’t that the fun part? After all, why did you get a smoker in the first place?
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Ingredients and Equipment Needed
You probably have almost all of the ingredients you need to cure and smoke your ham. The one item you may have to source is the Prague Powder, commonly known as curing salt or pink salt.
It is a mixture of sodium chloride, or table salt, and sodium nitrite. Sometimes called InstaCure, or Pokelsalz in German. The salt is dyed pink so it cannot be confused with table salt. This curing salt imparts characteristic color and flavor to cured meats. This is the reason your cured pork and cured ham are nice and pink when you buy them.
- Raw, uncured full bone-in ham shoulder or leg
- Large non-reactive food-grade container (i.e. 5-gallon plastic pail)
- Brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Prague powder (curing salt)
- Orange juice
As we are starting with fresh ham that is not cured, we have some prep work to do before the ham can be smoked. It is straightforward but does take a bit of preplanning, trust me, it’s worth it!
How to PRepare bone-in leg of ham
To prepare the curing brine, place the brine ingredients into a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Heat until the salts and sugar are dissolved. Add the rest of the water to top it up and allow the mixture to cool completely before placing the ham in.
I transferred the brine from the stockpot to a large food-grade plastic pail. The ham fits better, and it was easier to completely submerge it in the brine. It is also much easier to move the pail around than a large stockpot.
It takes time to cure the ham. Keep it submerged in the brine in the refrigerator for 7- 10 days. On the day before you are ready to smoke your ham, remove it from the brine. Rinse it thoroughly and pat dry. Place on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet and leave in the fridge for 12 hours.
This is an important step in order to develop the pellicle. This is the shiny, sticky skin that helps the smoke stick to the skin of the ham and creates a ham that is full of flavor! Using a sharp knife, cut a crosshatch pattern into the fat of the ham. Be careful not to cut too deep into the meat.
How long do you smoke ham?
As I always say, you need to smoke your meat to a temperature, not a time. Preheat your smoker; I like to use hickory wood chips. You can use any type of wood you like. Applewood would add a nice smoke flavor!
Smoke the ham until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. A good rule of thumb is about 30 minutes per pound. I use a Thermoworks Thermopen instant-read thermometer. It is quick, easy, and super accurate!
Once you reach this point, it is time to prepare the glaze for the smoked ham. In a saucepan, simmer the brown sugar, honey, orange juice, and cinnamon over medium heat. You could add in some maple syrup to your glaze if you like, but I find it sweet enough without it.
Generously glaze the ham with the brown sugar glaze before wrapping the ham in aluminum foil or butcher paper. You can save any remaining glaze for later to serve with the ham.
Return the ham to the smoker. Continue to cook the ham until the internal temp reaches 170 degrees F.
Once it’s done, allow it to rest in the aluminum foil or butcher paper wrapping for 30 minutes before you start to slice and serve.
Can you smoke a ham that is already smoked?
The answer is yes, of course you can. Smoking a ham that is already smoked will impart more smoke flavor. You can also glaze it the way you like. It is a good way to personalize your ham without curing it yourself.
A ham like this would be perfect for Easter but don’t wait for a special occasion. This would make a great dinner any time of the year!
Just look at that juicy bite of ham. Don’t you want to just reach out and take it? Can you imagine serving this to your family and friends? This smoked ham would simply be the star of a fabulous meal!
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- 10 lbs full bone-in ham leg
- 1 ½ gallon's of water
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Prague powder
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup Orange Juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- In a large stockpot, combine the brown sugar, salt, Prague powder, peppercorn, and half of the water. Bring to a boil, stirring until all the sugar and salts are dissolved.
- Remove from heat and pour in the remaining water. Allow the mixture to cool completely before submerging the entire ham in the brine. I transferred the brine to a 5-gallon plastic pail. It is easier to move, and the ham fits in perfectly.
- Allow the ham to cure in the fridge for at least 7 days (you can let it go up to ten days).
- Rinse the ham thoroughly, pat dry, and return to the fridge to rest for at least 12 hours (I typically do this part overnight). I like to place the ham on a wire rack placed on a baking sheet. This step is necessary in order to develop a pellicle (a shiny, sticky skin that helps the smoke to really stick to the ham and pack it full of flavor).
- Preheat the smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit
- Smoke the ham for about 6 hours, until the internal temperatures of the ham reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit. We usually check the temperature every hour as the time will change based on the size of the ham. It typically needs to cook for about 30 minutes per pound of meat.
- Once the ham has reached 140 degrees, prepare the glaze.
- Combine the brown sugar, honey, orange juice, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Simmer on medium-high for about 15 minutes before removing it from the heat and allowing it to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Generously coat the ham with the glaze before wrapping the ham in aluminum foil or butcher paper and returning to the smoker. Save any remaining glaze to serve with the ham, if desired.
- Continue smoking the ham until it reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the ham from the smoker and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 898Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 290mgSodium: 15788mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 0gSugar: 73gProtein: 101g
Recipe calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is estimation only. If you need nutritional calculations for medical reasons, please use a source that you trust.