I'll be honest and say I'd never smoked a ham before, but I wanted to try it and I had a pretty clear idea about how I wanted it to taste. Here's a list of my hamly desires:
- A sugary sweet crust, like a Honeybaked Ham
- Pineapple. What can I say? I like ham with my pineapple and pineapple with my ham.
- A savory rub to balance and enhance the sweet crust. I don't smoke meat without a rub.
With this list in mind I had to do some research to work out some of the details.
I wanted to combine The Prophet's teachings on layering flavors and creating a balanced meat rub with the general methodology and flavor profiles from Alton Brown's City Ham recipe. However, I had to part ways from Alton's recipe because it wasn't exactly what I was looking for (no pineapple, no rub, and it has gingersnap cookies... you all know I can't bake).
The results were AWESOME and I'm not ashamed to brag about it a bit. Let's just say that Christ risen from the grave wasn't the only good news I was sharing on Sunday morning.
No, really, I actually shared it with people. It was similar to Garth's plan to help Wayne get Cassandra...
First, Chelsi and I ate it for dinner until we were stuffed the night I made it. THEN, I ate some for breakfast and lunch the following day. THEN, I shared the leftovers with twoooo of our neighbors, bounced across town to deliver some to my friend and youth minister from church, came baaaack to our place to have some for a snack, and I still had some leftover for sandwiches on Monday!
Here's what you'll need.
|Now that's a Frickin' ham!|
- One "ready-to-eat" ham, either whole or shank end.
- Pineapple Juice, 2.5 Cups
- Bourbon, 1/2 Cup
- Dijon Mustard, 1/2 Cup
- Dark Brown Sugar, 1 pound bag
- Ground Allspice, 1 Tablespoon
- Kosher Salt, 1 Tablespoon
- Black Pepper, 1 Tablespoon
- Ground Ginger, 1 Teaspoon
- Smoker or charcoal grill
- Disposable foil drip pan
- Spray Bottle
- Funnel (optional, but helpful)
- Pastry/BBQ brush
As I said before, The Prophet teaches that establishing different layers of flavor is the key to great smoked meats. Here's how I made my ham according to each layer of flavor.
Layer 1: Smoke
Get your smoker up and running with your favorite smoking wood (I prefer apple wood with pork) and hold the temperature steady at 250 degrees. If you have a charcoal grill, set it up for indirect grilling at 250 degrees (click here and scroll down for some instructions on that).
Rinse and pat dry your ham with paper towels.
Layer 2: Rub
No sugar in this rub, that comes later. Combine, the Salt, Pepper, Allspice, and Ginger together to make a rub and apply it all over the ham. For best results, you can do this the night before and wrap it plastic wrap.
Layer 3: Pineapple Steam
Pineapple juice in the drip pan will help keep the ham moist while adding some additional flavor. Pour about 2 cups of pineapple juice into the drip pan. If you have any leftover rub, throw that in there too and stir it all up. Place the drip pan under the grill grates. Put the grates back into the grill and place the ham directly over the drip pan. Close the lid.
Layer 4: Pineapple and Bourbon Baste
After you put the ham in the smoker, combine 1/2 cup of bourbon with 1/2 cup of pineapple juice into the spray bottle. A funnel comes in handy when getting the mixture into the spray bottle. Every 30 minutes, spray the ham with the pineapple and bourbon mixtures. Be sure to shake the bottle before spraying.
|Those spray bottles go for $0.98 a pop at Lowe's and are a necessity when doing anything with charcoal.|
Smoke the ham until the interior temperature is about 130 degrees* (3-4 hours).
|1 Hour in.|
So, when I was working with this ham, I realized that ham and pulled pork are the exact same cut of pork.
|2 Hours in.|
I guess I had always known this in my head, but I didn't really put it all together until now.
|3 Hours in.|
Pretty crazy, huh? Considering they are both smoked and the exact same part of the pig, pulled pork and ham are extremely different. How are they so different? This video will shed a little light on that.
Once the interior temperature of the ham has reached 130 degrees*, remove it from the smoker and place it on pan or cutting board. Remove any pieces of thick skin that you can pull off.
Layer 5: Tangy Mustard
If you don't like mustard, don't be afraid! I am not a big mustard fan, but this is an essential step in the process. Using your BBQ brush, brush the dijon mustard all over the ham. You can make this layer as thin or as thick as you'd like, just don't skip it.
Layer 6: Sugary Crust
Cover the ham with a thick layer of dark brown sugar. The thicker you can get it on there, the better. Once you've piled on the sugar, spray it all down with more of the pineapple bourbon baste to make it stick.
While your applying the mustard and brown sugar, raise the temperature of your smoker to 350 degrees. Carefully place the ham back into the smoker, making sure not to knock off too much of the sugar.
Smoke at 350 degrees until the interior temperature of the ham is around 140 degrees* (about 1 hour). Remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 30 minutes.
|Hot off the grill.|
|After resting for 30 minutes, you can see that the glaze hardened into a delicious candied crust.|
After resting, it's time to carve it up and dig in!
The rub, pineapple juice, bourbon, mustard, and brown sugar all melt together to create an incredible crusty glaze that will have you licking your fingers on your way back for seconds (and thirds).
*A quick note about the temperatures: The hams we buy at you local half-foods grocery store are precooked, so these temperatures act only as a guideline for serving purposes. They are not needed for food safety precautions.