If you’re looking to impress your friends and family with a delicious holiday ham recipe, then learning how to smoke a fresh ham in an electric smoker is the perfect skill to master. Not only will you have a mouthwatering, succulent ham, but the smoky flavor will have your guests coming back for seconds and thirds. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process of smoking a ham in an electric smoker, so you can enjoy the delicious results for yourself.
Choosing the Right Ham for Smoking
There are many types of hams available at your local grocery store, but not all of them are suitable for smoking. The most important thing to consider when choosing a ham for smoking is whether it’s raw or pre-cooked. For the best results, you’ll want to smoke a raw ham, also known as a green ham or fresh ham. These hams can be found in whole or half sizes, with the bone-in or boneless options. For the best smoke flavor, we recommend a bone-in whole or half ham.
Preparing the Ham for Smoking
The first step in smoking a fresh ham is to prepare the meat. This involves trimming any excess fat from the outside of the ham, leaving about 1/4 inch of fat on the surface. Next, using a sharp knife, score the surface of the ham in a diamond pattern, about 1/4 inch deep. This not only increases the surface area for the smoke to penetrate, but also helps the spice rub and glaze to adhere to the ham.
After scoring the ham, rinse it under cold water, then pat it dry with paper towels. This will help the spice rub to stick to the ham and create a delicious crust during the smoking process.
Applying the Spice Rub
Before placing the ham in your electric smoker, apply a spice rub to the outside of the ham. This will add even more delicious flavor to your smoked ham. You can create your own spice rub by combining ingredients such as brown sugar, black pepper, and paprika, or you can use a store-bought rub.
To apply the rub, simply massage it into the scored surface of the ham, ensuring it reaches into all the cuts. If you’re using a mustard-based rub, like yellow mustard combined with spices, it can be helpful to coat the ham in a thin layer of mustard before applying the rub. This will help the spices to adhere to the ham better.
Setting Up Your Electric Smoker
Now that your ham is prepped and ready to go, it’s time to set up your electric smoker. The best way to smoke a fresh ham is at a lower temperature, around 225 degrees F. This will allow the ham to cook slowly, ensuring a tender and juicy result.
Fill the water pan in your electric smoker with water or a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. This will help to maintain a moist environment inside the smoker, preventing the ham from drying out during the cooking process. Next, add your choice of wood chunks or chips to the smoker. Popular choices for smoking ham include hickory, apple, and pecan wood chips.
Smoking the Fresh Ham
Place the prepared ham on the smoker rack, fat-side up. Insert a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the ham, avoiding the bone. Close the smoker door and set the temperature to 225 degrees F. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the ham, but a general rule is to allow 30 minutes per pound of meat.
During the smoking process, it’s important to maintain the temperature inside the smoker, so try to avoid opening the door too often. You can use a digital thermometer with a remote display or an app to monitor the internal temperature of the ham throughout the cooking process.
Applying the Glaze
When the internal temperature of the ham reaches around 140 degrees F, it’s time to apply the glaze. You can use a store-bought glaze or make your own by combining ingredients such as brown sugar, maple syrup, and pineapple juice. Brush the glaze onto the ham, then close the smoker door and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
Resting and Carving the Smoked Ham
Once the ham has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker and place it on a cutting board or serving platter. Tent the ham with aluminum foil and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a tender and juicy result.
Carve the ham by slicing against the grain, then serve it alongside your favorite side dishes, like green beans or New England Seafood Casserole. Enjoy the delicious smoked flavor and tender texture of your freshly smoked ham, and bask in the compliments from your friends and family!
Storing and Using Leftover Smoked Ham
Leftover smoked ham can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to three months. Make sure to wrap the ham tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out. Leftover ham can be used in a variety of dishes, such as Instant Pot Chicken Casserole with Stuffing or Kraft Peanut Butter Cookies.
Learning how to smoke a fresh ham in an electric smoker is a great way to elevate your holiday meal or impress your friends and family at your next backyard barbecue. By following these simple steps, you can achieve a delicious, tender, and smoky ham that will have everyone asking for your secret recipe. So, fire up your electric smoker and get ready to enjoy the best ham you’ve ever tasted!
- 1 whole fresh ham, 8-10 pounds (bone-in and skin-on)
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- Wood chips (such as apple, cherry, or hickory)
- Prepare the Ham
- Make the Spice Rub
- Apply Mustard and Spice Rub
- Preheat the Electric Smoker
- Smoke the Ham
- Rest and Serve
- Carve and Enjoy
Choose wood chips such as apple, cherry, or hickory for optimal flavor. Replenish wood chips and water as needed throughout the smoking process.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 530Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 1721mgCarbohydrates: 3gNet Carbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 53g