Smoked Christmas Ham Recipe (In 5 Simple Steps)

There is nothing like good food and family at Christmas time!

Loved ones around the holiday table while sharing stories and delicious food!

We always serve a Christmas ham at our family dinner!

It’s a great Christmas ham recipe because it has minimal prep time and an easy cooking process.

This is an easy holiday meal packed with amazing flavor.

Follow my recipe to enjoy the perfectly tender meat with a sweet glaze.

The Type of Ham We Are Smoking

Before starting this fantastic holiday ham recipe I want to be clear.

Pork products come in lots of varieties.

Like ham that has already been cured by smoking or brining.

Or the raw product which is known as ‘green ham’.

For this holiday dinner, we want to select a sugar-cured leg of ham.

A pre-cured ham will save you time and give you the right texture.

We don’t want it to end up like pulled pork.

These processing steps will also create a flavor powerhouse.

how-to-prepare-christmas-ham

Should You Pick Bone-in or Bone-Out Ham?

If you have a choice then opt for it with the bone-in.

The bone will add a more depth of flavor from the marrow and fat it contains.

It will also help with heat retention in the cooking and resting stages.

smoked-ham

What if the Ham Is Already Smoked?

The additional smoke flavor is not a bad thing!

It layers flavor and creates a tender texture.

smoked-ham-recipes

Why Is the Cooking Method Smoking?

Smoking with low and slow cook times gives you the best result for this dish.

The natural smoky flavor infuses the meat proteins and renders down the fat.

It also safeguards against burning the outside of your ham.

Or risking food poisoning from an underdone inside.

If you’re using a Pit Boss, see my smoked ham recipe here.

smoked-christmas-ham-recipe

Our Method for Smoking a Christmas Ham

What You Need for Christmas Smoked Ham

  • Sweet cured bone-in ham (8-10 pounds)
  • Pineapple juice or orange juice (50ml)
  • A bottle of honey grain-mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
smoked-christmas-ham-ingrediants

Spice Rub Ingredients

  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp ground gloves
  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 3 Tbsp onion powder
  • 3 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp cracked black peppercorns
honey-for-glaze-for-smoked-christmas-ham

Glaze Ingredients

  • 300g white cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
rub-on-christmas-ham-on-bbq

Equipment

  • Electric smoker for cooking
  • Saucepan
  • Baking tray
  • Fruit wood chips (we used cherry wood pellets)
  • Knife
  • Basting brush
  • Aluminum foil
  • Mixing bowl
  • Meat thermometer
  • Food spray bottle
prepping-christmas-ham

What Should I Look for When Buying My Christmas Ham?

Ask your butcher for a free-range leg of pork that has been cured, preferably with the bone-in.

Make sure to ask if the ham has already been cured or not.

How to Prep the Ham

The prepping will be minimal as the harder work of curing is already done!

Refrigerate before use and remove all packaging 1 hour before cooking.

Pat dry with a paper towel and rub olive oil all over.

cloves-on-smoked-christmas-ham

Should I Brine the Ham?

You do not need to brine the ham as it is already cured! If have purchased an uncured ham, see my smoked ham recipe here.

smoked-christmas-ham-recipes

What Seasoning Should I Use On

A spice rub and glaze with a high sugar content work best when you smoke ham.

Sweet flavors pair with pork meat for the perfect meal.

The caramelization of sugars with the salty pork meat

Finish it off with a sticky glaze for a match made in heaven.

smoked-christmas-ham-on-smoker

Spice Rub

Is anything better than a homemade spice rub?

My recommendation is above with the classic winter warmer spice rub.

Get creative if you want but make sure you add brown sugar.

This helps form a crust as the sugars caramelize from the heat.

The entire surface should be covered with the rub after adding the mustard.

A Sweet & Sticky Glaze

The glaze is based on the ham at the end of the cooking process.

The final layer of flavor and texture.

A caramelized glaze will thicken on top of the smokey crust formed from the rub.

glaze-for-smoked-christmas-ham

What Wood Chips Should I Use for Smoked Ham?

Keeping up with the sweet and fruity flavors I recommend cherry wood.

This creates a light smoke with a sweet and savory flavor.

You could also use apple wood or maple wood.

smoked-christmas-ham-on-smoker-2

What Temperature Do I Smoke Ham At?

The ideal temperature to smoke ham is 250°F with indirect heat.

how-long-to-smoked-christmas-ham-on-smoker

What Internal Cooking Temperature Does the Meat Need to Be?

The safe internal temperature before consumption is 140°F.

Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the ham.

Be careful to make sure it is not touching the bone.

As this will give a faulty reading.

What Is the Average Cooking Time for a Smoked Ham?

At 250°F your ham will cook at 20 minutes per pound.

The average cooking time for an 8-pound ham is 3 hours.

Know the weight of your ham to work out your cooking time.

how-long-to-smoke-a-christmas-ham

What if I Don’t Have Pellet Grill?

An electric pellet smoker is best as you have complete control over the temperature.

If you don’t have one of these then a charcoal smoker or offset smoker will be fine.

You just need to make sure you are accurately monitoring the ambient temperature.

Do I Need to Rest My Glazed Ham?

Yes!

Resting will allow the proteins to relax and absorb back juices.

Rest your glazed ham under loose foil for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Festive Sweet Smoked Ham With a Honey Mustard Maple Glaze

carving-smoked-christmas-ham

Making the Spice Rub

– Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until even.

Making the Glaze

– Combine the ingredients except for the vinegar in a saucepan.

– Put on medium heat until the sugars dissolve.

– Reduce by half.

– Add the vinegar and stir.

Tip: Add a dash of water if it is too thick.

Step 1: Preparing the Christmas Ham

– Remove the packaging and pat the ham dry with a paper towel.

– Make diagonal cuts on the ham

– Brush a thin layer of olive oil to the entire surface area of your ham.

– Brush a thick layer of mustard on the entire surface area of your ham.

– Make the spice mix as per above.

– Cover the entire surface area of the ham with the spice mix so it sticks to the mustard.

– Put the pineapple or orange juice in your spray bottle.

smoking-a-fresh-ham-for-xmas

Step 2: Smoking the Christmas Ham

– Load the pellets, prime, set the grill temperature to 250°F, and wait until up to temp.

– Place the ham on a baking tray at the back of the smoker, away from any hot spots.

– Insert the temperature probe.

– Close the lid and smoke for 2/3 of your cooking time.

– Every 20 minutes, spray the ham with fruit juice.

– Cover the ham with foil for the last 1/3 of your cook time or when the temp of the ham is 120°F

Step 3: Making & Applying the Honey Glaze

– Follow the directions above to make the glaze.

– Remove the foil and drizzle the glaze over the top when the internal temp of the ham is 135°F.

glazing-smoked-christmas-ham

Step 4: How Long to Rest The Ham

– Remove the ham from the smoker.

– Cover with foil and rest for 20 minutes.

– Serve and enjoy!

pellet-smoker-smoked-christmas-ha
slicing-smoked-christmas-ham

Smoked Ham With a Honey Mustard Maple Glaze

This great Christmas ham recipe has minimal prep time and an easy cooking process. Follow the instructions and enjoy the perfectly tender meat with a sweet glaze.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time3 hrs
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 500kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 20

Equipment

  • Electric smoker for cooking
  • Saucepan
  • Baking Tray
  • Fruit wood chips (we used cherry wood pellets)
  • Knife
  • Basting brush
  • Aluminum foil
  • Mixing bowl
  • Meat thermometer
  • Food spray bottle

Ingredients

  • Sweet cured bone-in ham 8-10 pounds
  • Pineapple juice or orange juice 50ml
  • A bottle of honey grain-mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Spice Rub Ingredients

  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp ground gloves
  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 3 Tbsp onion powder
  • 3 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp cracked black peppercorns

Glaze Ingredients

  • 300 g white cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Instructions

Step 1: Preparing the Christmas Ham

  • – Remove the packaging and pat the ham dry with a paper towel.
  • – Brush a thin layer of olive oil to the entire surface area of your ham.
  • – Brush a thick layer of mustard on the entire surface area of your ham.
  • – Make the spice mix as per above.
  • – Cover the entire surface area of the ham with the spice mix so it sticks to the mustard.
  • – Put the pineapple or orange juice in your spray bottle.

Step 2: Smoking the Christmas Ham

  • – Load the pellets, prime, set the grill temperature to 250°F, and wait until up to temp.
  • – Place the ham on a baking tray at the back of the smoker, away from any hot spots.
  • – Insert the temperature probe.
  • – Close the lid and smoke for 2/3 of your cooking time.
  • – Every 20 minutes, spray the ham with fruit juice.
  • – Cover the ham with foil for the last 1/3 of your cook time or when the temp of the ham is 120°F

Step 3: Making & Applying the Honey Glaze

  • – Follow the directions above to make the glaze.
  • – Remove the foil and drizzle the glaze over the top when the internal temp of the ham is 135°F.

Step 4: Rest & Enjoy

  • – Remove the ham from the smoker.
  • – Cover with foil and rest for 20 minutes.
  • – Serve and enjoy!

Smoke On!

Charlie

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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