Smoked ham is usually the centerpiece of a holiday meal, and double smoked ham can elevate that smoky flavor, the caramelization of the glaze, and the taste of the ham to a whole new level.
Here is our favorite holiday season double smoked ham recipe, which is very easy to make at home.
Smoked ham: the basics
Pork that has been cured and smoked to give it its pink color, smoky flavor, and remarkably soft texture. Smoked ham can be purchased in stores or made at yourself in a smoker.
Typically, hickory wood, a more powerful hardwood that imparts a more intense smokey taste to the meat, is used to smoke store-bought smoked ham.
The pre-smoked and cured ham is ready to eat right away, but you may improve it even more by smoking it again.
Here is a detailed guide on how to smoke fresh ham.
What is a double smoked ham, exactly?
Double smoked ham is, as its name suggests, ham that has been smoked twice.
One is the pre-smoking done during its preparation and after the curing, and the next smoking is the one which we would like to teach you how to do at home.
If you are worried that smoking the ham twice will give it an overwhelmingly smoky taste, don’t.
With this recipe from glazed and double smoked ham, you will ensure that the meat is infused with just the right amount of smoke, help make it even moister, and ensure that it develops a beautiful crust.
By smoking the ham once again, you can add your own preferred smoky flavor or enhance the existing one by using the wood of your choice.
The ultimate guide on how to prepare a double-smoked ham
Here is everything you need to know to make the perfect double-smoked ham.
Select the right ham
Picking the right ham is essential. Different hams come with various labels, which can include smoked, pre-cooked, wet cured, or others.
But if the meat is labeled as “ham,” this means that it has been cured in a nitrate solution, and it has been pre-cooked, so it is ready for direct consumption.
Pick a ham that is large enough to feed the people on your table.
Our recommendation is to opt for a pre-smoked half leg of ham with the hock still attached. It is a good-sized piece of meat and will look great on your table.
Items you’ll need
- A smoker such as the Weber Smokey Mountain or other
- Lump charcoal of your choice
- Apple or cherry wood chunks
- A wire rack and a tray
- A meat thermometer like the M4 Thermapen
- An ambient temperature thermometer such as the Thermoworks Smoke X4
- A trimming or boning knife
- A basting brush
How to prep the ham for smoking?
The skin of store-bought ham must be removed in order to get that gorgeous glaze.
If your ham contains a hock, slice off its sides, leaving a little piece of skin for a grip. However, take care not to chop through the meat or fat.
By beginning with a sharp utility knife and finishing with your fingertips, the ham skin should come off rather easily.
To create a diamond-shaped pattern on the ham, gently cut shallow slices of the fat in opposite directions.
Keep them shallow to prevent the “fat diamonds” from falling off during the cooking. When they are shallow, they will simply sink rather than fall.
Place the ham on a wire rack in a foil-lined baking tray, and it is ready for seasoning and glazing. The foil will help prevent the mess in the tray when it comes time for the glazing.
Squeeze the juice of an orange on top of the ham, and add 2-3 cups of hot water to the pan.
Insert the meat temperature probe in the ham. You need to set it to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
The orange juice will help the smoke to “stick” to the meat better.
In the meantime, set the smoker to a temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit and add some wood chunks of your choice. Some of the best options for this recipe are apple or cherry wood which match ham beautifully.
What is the right time to glaze?
While glazing the ham prior to smoking can end with some incredible results, there is a risk of burning the glaze during the cooking due to its high sugar content in it.
We recommend that the glazing is added as soon as the meat has been smoking until the internal temperature of the ham has reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
The finishing temperature of the ham should be 140 degrees F, which means that there will be enough time for the creation of that beautiful glaze and caramelization of the ham without the risk of burning and ruining it before the meat reaches the desired internal temperature.
So, when the internal temperature of the ham in the smoker hits 130 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to start with the glazing.
It is easier if you use a basting brush which makes the application of glaze and rubs much easier and more efficient.
Coat the ham with a thick layer of glaze and close the lid of the smoker again.
For the best results, you will need to keep repeating the glazing process every 15 to 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once it gets to the desired temperature, remove the ham from the smoker and let it rest for about 5 minutes. You can apply a final coat of heated glaze right before slicing and serving it.
Usually, the smoking and the glazing of the double smoked ham should take about 3 – 3.5 hours, but it depends on the size of the ham.
The basis of that shiny and mouthwatering glaze is a lot of sugar, syrup, maple syrup, or honey.
The glaze is a result of the caramelization of the sugar.
But apart from glazing the ham with sugar or a liquid sugar alternative, you can add other ingredients of your choice.
Our suggestion is for making a holiday season double smoked ham, so the recipe of the glaze includes some ingredients which will give the meat some of those unmistakable holiday flavors and smells such as allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
As mentioned earlier, our recommendation is to glaze the ham at the very end of the smoking rather than before that to prevent the sugar and glaze from burning.
Here are the ingredients for this double-smoked holiday season ham:
- Brown sugar tightly packed – ¾ cup
- Maple syrup or honey – ¾ cup
- Dijon mustard (or any other plain mustard) – 3 tablespoons
- Cinnamon ground – ¾ tablespoon
- Nutmeg or allspice – ½ teaspoon
Making the glaze is pretty straightforward.
All of the ingredients need to be combined in a saucepan and left to combine and heat up at medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Mix the sugar, syrup or honey, the Dijon mustard, the tightly packed brown sugar, and the other spices and keep stirring the glaze so that it combines well and so that all of the sugars are dissolved.
It is ready to be applied when the glaze thickens, and the sugar has dissolved completely.
This should take about 15 minutes.
When the internal temperature of the ham reaches 130 degrees Fahrenheit, you should start applying the glazing on the meat every 15-20 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees.
How to serve the ham?
Remember to let the double-smoked ham rest for about 5 minutes before slicing it or serving it.
You can apply a final coat of the glaze right before you serve the glazed ham.
You can serve double smoked ham as the centerpiece for your holiday dinner, as well as chopped, on sandwiches, in pea and ham soup, as a pizza topping, and other dishes and snacks of your choice.
Is using a non-spiral sliced ham an option?
Yes, you can use any type of ham, including spiral sliced and non-spiral sliced.
But we recommend that you use a pre-smoked ham which is a half leg with the hock.
You should buy ham that is large enough for the number of people you will be feeding.
By slicing shallow diamond-shaped slices on the ham’s fat, you will ensure that the smoke from the second smoking is infused and absorbed better and that the glaze will add to the flavor and texture of the meat more intensely.
The only difference when buying different types of ham is really in the cooking time, which will differ by type and size. But by using a reliable and accurate meat thermometer, you should be able to get the cooking time just right by monitoring the internal temperature of any piece of ham.
Can a twice-smoked ham be prepared in an oven?
Yes, it can, but it will not be as smoky flavored as one prepared in an actual smoker.
Otherwise, it is completely possible to double smoke ham without a smoker and still end up with a beautiful-looking and tasting holiday protein.
Just preheat the oven to 275 degrees F and make sure you use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature and to know when to start glazing the ham.
What side dishes work well with double smoked ham?
You can serve the double smoked ham with your other favorite holiday side dishes, or even serve it thinly sliced on top of a pizza or in a sandwich or pea and ham soup.
Our favorite sides for double smoked ham include sweet grilled or glazed honey carrots, charred snap peas, smoked deviled eggs, asparagus wrapped bacon, asparagus, and feta, mashed or scalloped potatoes, smoked Chantilly potatoes, salads, and whichever other dishes you and your family and friends prefer.
There is no doubt that your double smoked and glazed ham will be the accent of the table.
Not sure about the double smoked ham? Check our guide for smoked spiral ham with honey glaze and brown sugar.