I have loved smoked ham ever since I was a young boy. I have always been drawn to the delicious smoky flavour. My family was huge on Christmas ham. We would always have a gigantic ham centrepiece at Christmas that would lead into leftover ham sandwiches for weeks on end.
For those of you who have never cured a ham before this recipe will also serve as a guide on how to cure a ham, you will be surprised at how easy it is.
This recipe includes four different techniques, each offering a different layer of flavour to the ham. First off curing in brine, then injected with brine, cold smoking and finished off with a hot smoke. It sounds tricky, but it's not.
The cold brine gives the ham a delicious salty, sweet ‘hammy’ flavour we all know and love. Injecting doesn’t so much add flavour but help keep the ham moist and helps speed up the curing process.
The cold smoking process gives the ham a deeper, more flavorsome smoke flavour. This is because the cold smoke drives deeper into the meat than hot smoke. The main job of the hot smoke is to finish off the cooking process.
The kids love it when I make this one, they always take leftover sandwiches to school, I hope your family enjoys this smoked ham as much as we do!
The Smokehouse Shoulder Ham
This recipe makes 1 large ham shoulder. This is enough to serve 6 to 8 hungry humans for a main course or a family of 4 with plenty of leftovers! This recipe does take time, planning and a little bit of self-control. I normally get this started on a Saturday and eat the following Sunday.
- 1 tablespoon pink curing salt
- 1 pound of coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- 2 tablespoons pickling spice
- 2 quarts ice water
- 3 quarts hot water
- 8 ounces packed dark brown sugar
- 1 Meat injector
- 1 Jumbo heavy-duty resalable plastic bag
- 1 Wire rack
- 1 Large stockpot or plastic bucket
- 1 Instant-read or remote digital thermometer
- Hickory or apple wood, Ideally you want a mix of both (enough for 24 hours of smoking)
- 1 Roll If hanging a roll of sturdy butcher’s string (Optional)
- In your large stockpot or plastic bucket mix together the coarse salt, curing salt, pickling spice, sugar and 3 quarts of hot water. At this point stir in any additional flavouring. Over a high heat bring to a boil and continue to boil until the sugar and salts have dissolved. Stirring several times. This should take around 3 minutes. Once dissolved remove from the heat and add in the ice water. Let cool then place in refrigerator until cold.
- Once the brine has cooled strain two cups into a measuring cup. Inject the full 2 cups of brine deep into the ham using a meat injector. You want to inject a 1 – 1 ½ inch intervals along the bone. Inject all 2 cups of the brine.
- Place the ham in a large resealable heavy-duty bag, and then place safely inside a large stockpot or large food-safe bucket. Once the ham is resting safely in the bag and bucket, add the brine to the bag. You are looking to submerge the whole ham. Once submerged, squeeze out any excess air and seal tightly. Place in the refrigerator for 7 days. Once a day turn the ham over to ensure an even cure. Midway through the 7-day process, repeat the injecting process with another 2 cups of brine.
- Once the 7 days is up (finally) drain the ham and give it a very thorough rinse with cold water. Once thoroughly rinsed pat dry with paper towel. At this stage, if you plan to hang your ham during the process, securely tie your butcher’s string around the narrow end of the ham. To be safe give it a test hang to make sure the string is going to hold. If you plan to use your smoking rack there is no need to tie.
- Prepare your smoker for cold smoking by following your specific brands instructions. You should set your temperature no higher than 100°F. Add your preferred woods. I like a mix of hickory & apple for this recipe. Hang or place your ham in the smoker and old smoke at 100°F for no longer than 12 hours.
- After 12 hours, set up your smoker for hot smoking. Preheat your smoker to between 225 & 250°F and add your preferred woods. I like a mix of hickory & apple for this recipe.
- Once your smoker is up to temperature, place or hang your meat and let cook for 10 – 12 hours or until cooked. You are looking for an internal meat temperature of 160°F. When checking the internal temperature you want to get the probe in the middle of the meat, but not touching the bone.
- Eating time! I like to serve the heat hot out of the smoker with some fresh green beans and a big helping of creamy mash sweet potato! Delicious!
Charlies Tasty Tip!
12 hours of hot smoking is a long one! You need something that can stand up to the test & hold the temperature for this duration!! Otherwise you end up with a chewy ham! I have been using my camp chef smoke vault 24", it is one of the best natural gas smokers on the market.
What I also love is not having a worry about my propane tank running out! I converted it from propane to natural gas when I first got it. Not only that natural gas is soooo much cheaper!!
How To Serve It
This ham can be served hot straight out of the smoker. I think its delicious with a side of garlic green beans and a big helping of mashed sweet potato.
If you can wait that long (or have leftovers) its also delicious served cold with a side salad and good helping of potato salad. My favorite way to have this ham is cold between two pieces of fresh buttery bread!
If you are storing the ham make sure to let it rest until it's at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. You can refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Smoking ham takes a little bit of prep time and planning, however, I guarantee you that the end result is totally worth it.
I like to get the ham brining on a Saturday and eat the following Sunday, it’s a great Sunday evening meal in summer. Not to mention the leftover sandwiches at work and for the kids at school on Monday and Tuesday!
If you have your own smoked ham, cured ham or double smoked ham recipes I would love to hear about it! Leave me a comment, I am always looking for new and exciting recipes to try.
Happy smoking everyone