Smoke My Ham

18 Apr

Yes, more charcuterie action was promised to come out my kitchen and it has.  I have made a holiday ham!  Yes, a holiday ham, well technically a holiday butt, since I did not brine an entire ham.  By the way if I did brine and smoke an entire ham that would have been fantastic!  Before I could get on my smoking project I had to get some things in order in the house.  I had to get my smoking meez.

First off I knew I was going to smoke outside on my grill.  I had to fetch a few things to make my grill into a smoker.

A) Propane

B) Wood chips

C) Smoke box

D) Fire sticks or fire starters (you know those fire clicky things you use to start fires, now that nobody has matches)

The other cool thing about making this holiday butt is that you can use this instead of buying cold cuts.  I plan on eating this guy for a couple days with some horseradish and boiled potatoes. YUM!  With this first attempt and successful smoking out of the way I am sure trout and more butt will be on its way.  FYI, be sure to adjust your brine to the size of the butt/ham you are using.  Make sure your ham is raw and not already cured or brined.  If your piece is small enough it can fit in a freezer size resealable bag.  I have also purchased two sized plastic containers to cure or brine items in.  One a flat rectangle for pancetta, bacon, pork rillettes, or duck confit.  A larger deeper rectangle for corned beef, chicken, fish, etc.  These two bins are ONLY FOR ME TO USE! 🙂

The biggest dilemma with smoking is finding the type of wood you want to use.  I am not big into hickory and mesquite woods to smoke.  I like my smoked meats to have subtle hints of smokiness.  What kind of wood are you?  I am a fruit.  I am apple.  Here is a list of woods you can smoked with.  As cheffy would say do not use treated wood from the hardware store knucklehead!  Don’t forget you can also smoke foods with tea, dried herbs, and grape vines.  FYI you can pretty much use wood chips from any fruit bearing tree.

  • Hickory: is probably the most popular for individuals who enjoy smoking meats, it is very popular with BBQ teams in the midwest and south.  It has a strong, heavy,smoky, bacon-esque flavor.  It goes great with beef or pork, the kings of BBQ
  • Mesquite: the other most popular wood used to smoke with.  It originates from the Southwest in the form of a small tree/shrub.  It is also similar to hickory, but is sweeter and more delicate.  Use this with beef, duck, or even lamb.
  • Oak: Imparts a heavy smoke flavor onto products.  You can blend oak with other fruitier woods
  • Pecan: is similar to hickory in many ways, but is much subtler in flavor.  Pecan is a cool burner but leaves a nutty, mild, and a sweet taste.  It goes well with most meats.  Plus, it can also be used on cheese, veggies, and poultry.  I am pecan would go well with a hot smoked chicken with a bourbon glaze!
  • Maple:  I was thinking about this wood because I had illusions of maple syrup.  This wood has a mellow smoke and a slightly sweet taste to it.  Maple smokes pretty much goes well with everything being smoked even poultry, cheeses, vegetables.
  • Apple:  My favorite, but I know I am a fan of the subtler woods one can smoke with.  Obviously this wood is very mild and leaves a sweet flavored smoke on the product.  It works great on poultry and pork. The wood also helps make the outside of the product turn brown faster.  This is an all around winner, it can smoke anything.  Plus it is awesome on hot smoked trout!

Charcutepalooza is playing at my house right now and is totally ready for easter. Below is the recipe for the holiday ham as it appears in Charcuterie.  Good luck & happy smoking!

Holiday Ham aka Holiday Butt

From Charcuterie by B. Polcyn & M. Ruhlman


1 gallon/4 liters water

1 ½ cups/350 grams kosher salt

2 packed cups/360 grams dark brown sugar

1 ½ ounces/42 grams pink salt (8 teaspoons)

One 12-15 pound/5.5-6.75 kilogram ham, skin on, aitch-bone removed

(pork butt works really well too, just reduce the recipe to fit the brine to meat ratio)

The Glaze

1 ½ packed cups/270 grams dark brown sugar

¾ cup/185 milliliters Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon/20 grams minced garlic


  1. Combine all the brine ingredients in a container large enough to hold the ham and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.  Submerge the ham in the brine, weight it down to keep it completely submerged and soak for 6-8 days (half a day per pound/450 grams) You can also pump the ham/butts with the brine.
  2. Remove the ham, rinse it under cool water, and pat dry.  Place it on a non-reactive rack on a sheet tray and refrigerate it, uncovered for 12-14 hours to form a pelicule  (sticky surface) for the smoke to adhere to.
  3. Hot smoke the ham at 200 degrees F/93 degrees C for 2 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar, Dijon, and garlic in a bowl until smooth.  Brush the ham with the glaze (reserve the remainder) return to the smoker. And smoke until an internal temperature of 155 degrees F/68 degrees C is reached then remove the ham.
  5. Remove the ham from the smoker and brush with the remaining glaze.  Serve or refrigerate.
Cool Links

4 Responses to “Smoke My Ham”

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirit Guide April 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Oh I bet that tastes awesome. I love to smoke meats. That glaze is definitely a winner.

    • Diabla April 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

      I love making ham. It is very easy and so flavorful. Thanks for the reply. 🙂

  2. Raleigh Blakely April 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    What should the internal tempature of a butt ham be, if I smoke it?

    • Diabla April 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      Great catch…. Hot smoke your butt at 180-190 degrees F. You want the internal temperature of the pork to be 150 degrees F. Let it sit out and the carry over heat will bring it to at least 165 degrees F.

      Slice and enjoy. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: