Wondering if you need to cover meat with foil while cooking?
Covering your meat plays a big part in many recipes when smoking.
Especially when it comes to smoked ham.
But do you wrap the ham in foil and if so, is it wise to do it at the start?
Can it affect the smoke penetration and flavor?
Let’s explore this and much more!
Table of contents
Pros of Wrapping a Ham in Foil Before Smoking
Wrapping a ham in foil before smoking helps form a barrier around the meat.
This will keep the natural juices and smoke from escaping during the long cooking process.
It also helps to maintain and concentrate smoke flavor, resulting in juicier and tasty ham.
You can also bet your holiday dinner won’t dry out over time!
Wrapping the ham in foil before smoking will protect it during cook time.
You always risk the smoke or heat being too much for ham.
Inaccurate timing estimations or faulty equipment may result in this occurring.
Wrapping ham in foil to smoke adds an extra layer of protection.
Trapping any excess heat and partly protecting your smoked hams from further damage.
Cons of Wrapping a Ham in Foil Before Smoking
I also want to cover some negatives of wrapping ham before smoking.
Wrapping in heavy-duty aluminum foil can reduce the exposed surface area.
Meaning that smoked flavor penetrates less deeply into a wrapped ham.
You also want to consider this if using strong woods like mesquite or hickory.
These flavors may even become overpowering due to a lack of diffusion through the barrier.
Wrapping can also reduce skin crispiness since wrapping prevents heat circulation.
This is necessary for the browning of the skin known as the crust.
To Wrap or Not to Wrap Before Smoking a Ham
With all these things considered, I reccomend wrapping it in foil to smoke a ham.
There are some points to be made why you shouldn’t but my counters are as followed;
– Most hams are sm duringing process so you won’t miss out on maximum flavor.
– Do you want a milder smoke flavor? Choose a lighter type of wood chips for fuel.
– Add your glaze ingredients at the end of smoking which will form a crust.
– The excess moisture from the yummy cure will be introduced back into the meat.
– The smoker temp when cooking is easy to set with the range of fancy electric smokers. Permanentlyu can always remove the aluminum foil during cooking time if required.
Could I Wrap the Ham in the End Hours of Smoking?
It is more common to cover with foil at the end of the cooking process for other types of meat.
This accelerates the ideal temperature for smoking larger meat like turkey or brisket.
But as your ham is already cured and cooked, it is less common to do.
You also should be glazing your smoked ham recipe!
You can’t do this if you wrap the ham at the end of your smoking time…
The Bottom Line for Wrapping Ham in Foil Before Smoking
We have looked at the pros and cons of wrapping ham in foil to smoke.
Like with any cooking technique, there can be exceptions baur to personal circumstance.
Read further to understand more specific nuances when planning for the cooking period.
As well as the classic smoking tips like the correct internal temperature for the perfect meal.
The bottom line is that you can always remove the foil if you need to and want extra flavor.
You can’t however magically make the ham moist after it has dried out.
A Look Into What Wrapping With Foil Does for the Ham
Below are some simple reasons why aluminum is a great tool.
Protection From the Heat Source
The foil will reflect the heat source away from your ham.
Most holiday hams come pre-cooked and smoked.
The initial smoking process will have been enough to flavor and cook the meat.
So covering it with a piece of aluminum foil will lower the chance of burning your pre-cooked ham.
Locking In Moisture
The excess water in the meat proteins will evaporate, especially in pork meat.
I am sure you have eaten a dry ham or pork shoulder at one stage in your life!
Protein without sufficient juices will leave you with dry and bland meat.
Covering with foil wievaporation rate evaporation and keep the meat moist.
Do I Wrap The Whole Ham?
Some cuts of meat require only a part of the surface area wrapped in foil.
An example may be the light meat on a turkey due to the darker meat requiring additional cooking.
This process of cooking and wrapping does not apply to a ham.
Wrap the whole ham in foil before putting it in your cooking chamber.
How Many Layers of Foil Does the Ham Need?
Just 1 layer of good-quality aluminum foil will do the trick.
Multiple layers over-insulate the ham and will cause a longer reheating process and smoke time.
I Forgot to Wrap My Ham & the Meat Has Dried Out
Too late to add foil and your meat is drying out?
A common cooking technique is to spray moisture onto the outer meat layers of the ham.
Below are recommendations you can try to get some moisture back into your ham.
– Any kind of fruit juice like orange juice, pineapple juice, or apple juice
– Good old-fashioned water
– A water and vinegar solution
A Quick Guide for Wrapping Ham in Foil to Smoke
– Check if the ham has been pre-smoked & cooked
– Dry the outside of the ham with paper towels
– Brush lightly with oil and sprinkle with brown sugar and ground clove
– Wrap with 1 layer of good quality disposable foil
– Place on the grill grates of your heated charcoal grill or pellet smoker
Smoking Tips For The Perfect Holiday Ham
Let’s finish off with my basic cooking tips for achieving the perfect centerpiece!
Bring your smoked ham in style and beautiful presentation with spiral-cut ham to the table.
I can taste the amazing flavor already!
– Set your smoker to 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit on indirect heat if warming the ham.
– Set your smoker to 220 degrees Fahrenheit with indirect heat if cooking raw ham.
– Use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the ham to measure the internal temp.
– The ham needs at least 165 degrees internal temperature before consumption.
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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