Ideas & Inspiration

Recipe: Pecan Smoked Fresh Ham with Maple Glaze

Glaze and Smoke a Fresh Ham

A simple rub of salt, pepper, a little sugar and cayenne is best for this, as the flavors of fresh ham, smoked over pecan wood, is just fantastic. A light touch with a maple and honey glaze enhances the natural flavor and provides an attractive lacquer on the ham.


Make sure to score the skin with a sharp knife for best results. This will help the skin render up nice and crackly.


So unpack the smoker and get grilling this spring with a fresh, bone-in ham, smoked on a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker.


Serves: 10-15 people

Prep time: 15 minutes (overnight to cure)

Cook time: 6 hours (for 10 pounds) and 20 minutes of rest time

Special Equipment
  • Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
  • Basting brush
  • Large sauce pot (to cook glaze)



Ingredients
  • 10-12 pounds fresh ham, bone-in (uncured, often called “green ham” in the South)
  • 8-10 pieces of pecan wood chunks


RUB:

  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper, ground coarse
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, ground (optional)


GLAZE:

  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, fresh, minced
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, ground
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup maple syrup (not imitation-flavored)
Instructions

1.  Use a sharp knife to make a number of slits in the skin and all over the outside of the ham. This will help the rub stick to the ham and help the skin render better.

2.  Combine the ingredients for the rub and rub them all over the ham. Place the ham in the refrigerator overnight, skin side up, uncovered.

3.  The next morning, set up the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker for a six-hour cook. Keep the temperature around 250 degrees. Stud the bottom of the smoker with the pecan wood chunks and cover with 1 chimney of unlit charcoal. Light another chimney of charcoal. Once the charcoal has lit, pour on top of the raw charcoal in the smoker. Fill the water pan with 3 quarts of warm water.

4.  While the smoker gets going, remove the ham from the refrigerator. If there is any leftover rub, reapply it to the ham as much as possible. Let the ham sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.

5.  Gather the ingredients for the glaze and place them in a sauce pot over your side burner or on your stovetop. Select a large sauce pot, because the glaze may boil over if reduced with too high a flame. Reduce the glaze to about half the volume (should take around 25 minutes on low flame).

6.  Once the smoker is ready, place the ham (skin side facing up) on the top rack and close the lid. The best results for smoking this would be to keep the temperature around 250 degrees. If it drops too low, then it will cook, but not have as much crusty “bark” as the picture has. If you want a softer exterior, lean toward the 225 degrees side. Be careful not to cook too hot (above 275 degrees), or the glaze could get dark and bitter before the ham is cooked through.

7.  Cook the ham for about two hours, then glaze generously. Close the lid and smoke another two hours. Glaze once again.

8.  After six hours, check the temperature in at least three places. It should be around 165 degrees. When the ham hits that temperature, remove from the smoker and place onto a pan.

9.  Wrap the ham with foil on top and place in a warm place to rest. Your oven (turned off!) is a great place.

10.  After the ham has rested, slice against the grain in ¼-inch slices. Serve with any remaining glaze.