For Thanksgiving, along with the traditional turkey with all the fixin’s, I also smoked a ham this year. This recipe is great any time of the year, but would be a fantastic treat for your Christmas dinner. I’ll lead with the smoking method, but also cover if you want to grill or bake the ham in an oven. 

I smoked it in my Masterbuilt electric smoker for about 3 hours (but mine was only a 6 pounder), adding the glaze about half way through. The glaze was found on the McCormick website – it’s simple and quick and by smoking it outside, you have the added benefit of freeing up the oven for all the other things you have to cook, this is a sure winner.

While this recipe calls for an unsliced ham, you absolutely can go with a spiral cut one if that’s what you have. 

The ingredients

  • 1 boneless, butt-end, unsliced ham, 10 – 12 pounds

for the glaze

  • 1 cup, honey
  • 1/2 cup, packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp, ground ginger
  • 1 tsp, ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp, ground cinnamon

The prep

  1. Open the ham and rinse with cold water, then dry well with paper towels.
  2. Score the ham in a diagonal pattern every inch length wise, and then diagonally all cuts about 1/4″ deep and 1″ apart, keeping the cut end of the ham un-scored.
  3. Preheat smoker to 250° F.
  4. After about 20 minutes, add your favorite wood chips to the smoker as instructed (I did peach, but apple or cherry would be great too).

The cook

  1. Place ham in the smoker and let cook for about an hour, replenishing chips as needed.
  2. After about 45 minutes, make the glaze by combining all ingredients into a small sauce pan in order over medium heat until warm and well combined with all the sugar dissolved into the honey.
  3. At the one hour point, place take the ham out of the smoker and place into a disposable aluminum pan and brush 1/2 the glaze over the ham getting it into all the score marks.
  4. Put ham in pan back in the smoker and continue to cook for another hour, replenishing chips as needed.
  5. 2 hours in, pour the remaining glaze over the ham, brushing in as needed.
  6. Cook another 1 – 2 hours, until internal temperature is 140° F.
    Adding chips for the last two hours is optional, skip if for a less smoke flavor, do it for the length of the cook for a more intense smokey flavor.
  7. Remove the ham from the smoker and let rest for 15 – 20 minutes covered with heavy-duty aluminium foil.

The eat

  1. To serve, slice the ham in 1/4″ – 1/2″ slices, depending on your preference, carving along the open cut end of the ham, arrange on a platter and serve.
  2. Be sure to have choices in mustard and horseradish available and serve with whatever sides you enjoy, but scalloped potatoes are always fantastic with ham.

Alternate methods

for a charcoal grill

For those of you with a Weber-style kettle or similar charcoal grill, but no smoker, go ahead and use it

  1. Set it up for indirect cooking with the coals on either one side, or split onto both sides of the grill, and an aluminum pan half filled with water under the grate where there are no burning coals.
  2. Add fewer wood chips that are pre-soaked into the coals a few times during the cook. Cover and leave the vents 1/2 to 2/3 closed to try to regulate grill temperature around 250° and 275° F.
  3. Replenish the coals with 10 – 12 pre-lit coals to each side at the half way point of the cook.
  4. Time may vary to 1/4 to 1/3 less depending on the temp you achieve with the grill, so check temp starting at 2 hours.

Otherwise, follow the above exactly

in the oven

Don’t want to cook outside in December, that’s OK (though there’s no such thing as a wrong season for BBQ), go ahead and use the oven, just adjust with the following:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F and place rack in middle position.
  2. Place the ham in the aluminum, or a roasting pan fromt the beginning.
  3. Add the glaze at 45 and 90 minutes in.
  4. Expect to reduce cook time by about half, but check temp starting at 1 hour and 45 minutes in.