Whether you’re preparing ham for a holiday like Easter, Christmas or New Year, for a formal brunch or even for a family special event like a reunion, Christening, or engagement party, you can take this average protein and make it so much more. Even if the ham you purchase has already been smoked, you can take away the factory flavor and truly make it your own with our simple technique for smoking on a gas grill using a two-zone cooking method. Plus, I’ll give you a ham glaze recipe that will make you forever throw away a prepackaged glaze.
Get your gas grill ready, purchase a ham, and bring your game as I give you the easy steps to smoking a ham on the gas grill with wood chunks.
Great Ingredients for a Great Glaze
Today’s hams now come with a variety of labels so let’s cut to the chase to ensure you know what some of them mean. Wet Cured Hams are already smoked but still need to be cooked to kill microbes if they are labeled ‘cook before eating” or need some cooking if labeled “cooked”. These are usually for purchase as a whole, half or bone-in shank ham. Dry Cured Hams have been cured in a lot of salt and usually need to be soaked in ice water before cooking, which removes a great deal of the salt so it’s more edible. Fresh Ham is uncured and uncooked.
for smoked ham on the gas grill
No matter what ham you select, you’ll need a glaze to bring greatness to the meat. For my ham, I’m making an apricot-Dijon glaze that is so flavorful and simple. For my glaze you’ll need the following ingredients:
- ½ cup apricot preserves
- ½ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1–1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- soy sauce — ½ teaspoon
- paprika — ½ teaspoon, preferably Spanish-style
- cayenne pepper — ¼ teaspoon
- black pepper — ¼ teaspoon
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
In a medium bowl, combine the glaze ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until you need it.
I’ve discussed the different types of ham and the fact that most sold in grocery stores are precooked and often smoked. Don’t let this stop you from doing your own smoking. To start, you’ll need to trim the fat that is still present on the pre-smoked ham. That means, trim to within a 1/4 inch. Remember, smoke vapor will not penetrate through fat. After trimming, you’ll need to score the meat in the traditional checkerboard pattern. Knife cuts measuring ¼ inch in depth are produced first vertically and then horizontally, leaving about 1-inch spacing between cuts.
Preparing the Gas Grill
Once trimmed and scored, it’s time to prepare the gas grill. Light the burners on one side of the grill and set to medium-high heat. We want to maintain a cooking temperature of about 275°F. Leave the other half of the burners off as that will be the cooking area for the ham. This technique is the two-zone cooking set up. Place 2 single filet wood chunks from SmokinLicious® directly on the heat shield of the lit burner. These will heat and release the smoke vapor and add flavor to our ham. Total time cooking the ham in this manner will be about 30 minutes. The ham is placed on the cold half of the grill with the flat side of the ham on the grate.
After 30 minutes, take two long sheets of heavy-duty foil and place the ham on the foil. Take your pre-made glaze and cover the ham with about half of the glaze mixture. Now, fold the foil around the ham sealing at the top. Place the foil-wrapped ham back on the cold side of the grill and insert a meat thermometer in the meat at least 1-inch away from the bone if you have a bone-in cut of ham. Let cook until the thermometer registers 130°F. Every 15 minutes, brush the ham with glaze dripping that have collected in the bottom of the foil. Once cooked to 130°F, remove the ham from the foil, drain the residual glaze back into a saucepan with remaining uncooked glaze you had reserved and allowed to heat on low.
Final Step to Crisp Skin
After removal from the foil, there is one final step before serving. The skin requires just a bit of crisping which will be done on the hot side of the grill. Place one side of the ham on the hot side of the grill allowing the glaze sugars to caramelize for just a few minutes per side. Do not do the flat side of the ham and do not allow the sugars to burn. Once the three sides are done, remove to a cutting board and slice. Serve the residual glaze on the side. Now you must try Smoked ham on the gas grill!