Smoked ham is a delicious and versatile dish that is perfect for any holiday meal or fancy dinner. This smoked ham recipe is brined overnight, dry-rubbed, and smoked for 2 hours.
Smoked Ham = Best Holiday Meal
Homemade smoked ham is delicious, flavorful, and juicy. It’s truly the best dish to share on any special occasion or holiday such as Easter.
In this post, we will discuss all things smoked ham such as what cut of pork to buy, how to brine a ham, how to flavor a ham, and how to perfectly smoke a ham.
We promise that if you learn how to smoke your own ham, you will feel accomplished and proud with every bite.
why you’ll love this ham
- It’s juicy and so flavorful.
- This ham is great for dinner and as leftovers.
- You get delicious ham without the preservatives.
- It’s a crowd-pleaser.
Get our Top 10 5-Star Recipes!
Join our email list for new recipes and BONUS: get our top 10 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ recipes e-book!
What is Smoked Ham?
Smoked ham is pork (ham) that has been cooked in a smoker. The smoker gives the ham a smoky flavor. Smoking the ham enhances the flavor of the delicious dry rub that we use.
What cut of meat do I use for homemade smoked ham?
This seems like a simple question, but it’s hard to find raw ham these days. The cut of pork that you use for a traditional ham is “the ham.” The ham is a cut of meat that comes from the butt of a pig.
Boneless vs. bone-in ham
Both a bone-in and boneless ham will work for this smoked ham recipe. A boneless ham will take less time to cook. This recipe was tested with boneless ham.
A boneless ham usually weighs between 7-9 pounds whereas a bone-in ham can be anywhere from 12-14 pounds.
Where can I buy a raw ham?
Raw cuts of ham can be hard to find when it’s not the holiday season. Your best bet is to ask your local butcher if they have ham or can cut aside the ham on the day they butcher the pig.
How to Smoke a Ham (at a glance)
Quickly learn how to smoke a ham with this tutorial. Make sure to scroll all the way down to the recipe card to get the full ingredient list and written recipe.
- Brine the ham. Find yourself a large bucket that will fit in the refrigerator or in a cooler. we used a 20-gallon bucket. Just be sure the brine covers the whole ham. Refrigerate the ham overnight or for 24 hours for an extra juicy ham.
- Dry rub the ham. Remove the ham from the brine and pat it dry. Rub the ham with the dry rub. The dry rub will create a delicious flavor crust on the ham.
- Make the basting liquid. Melt the butter over medium/high heat in a small saucepan. Add the onion and salt to the butter and saute for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and honey and saute for an additional minute. Set the basting liquid aside.
- Smoke the ham. Smoke the ham for 2-3 hours at 300ºF, basting every 30 minutes to keep the ham moist.
- Let the ham rest. When the ham reaches about 140ºF remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 30 minutes
- Slice and enjoy. Slice the ham and enjoy immediately or eat it throughout the week.
How long to smoke a ham?
A 7-8 lb . ham will take around 2-3 hours on the smoker at 300ºF. The length of smoking time with vary depending on if you use a bone-in ham or boneless ham as well as the size of the ham you use. Regardless of the size of the ham, the internal temperature should be between 140º-145ºF.
What is the difference between curing and brining a ham?
Brining and curing are similar methods that are used to keep the meat juicy and delicious.
- Curing usually takes longer and is meant to preserve the meat while also going it flavor. Curing is generally a dry salt rub rather than wet.
- Brining is usually wet. The idea is to infuse the proteins of the meat with salt by soaking the meat in a very salty water bath. You can brine a ham for up to 3 days.
For this smoked ham recipe, we brine the ham overnight so that the ham doesn’t dry out while smoking.
Common Questions About Smoking Ham
Can I smoke a store-bought cooked ham?
Yes, you can smoke store-bought ham if it is cured and not smoked already. We suggest smoking a store-bought cured ham for 45 minutes to 1 hour to give the ham the smoky flavor.
How long does ham stay good?
Ham will stay good for up to 7 days in the refrigerator if it is stored in an air-tight container.
Can I make this recipe with another cut of pork?
This recipe has been tested with pork shoulder and picnic ham. Both were delicious. The smoke time will vary based on how large the cut of meat is. Just be sure to check the internal temperature of the meat periodically.
What pellets should I use in my smoker?
We use the Traeger Signature pellets, but you can use any pellet your heart desires.
Completely your holiday meal with any of these sides:
What to do with Leftover Ham
Leftover ham is a great addition to so many other recipes. Check out the recipes below if you have leftover ham!
- If you use a bone-in ham, set the bone aside. for this Split Pea Soup with Ham recipe.
- Add ham to these scalloped potatoes.
- Make this bagel ham and cheese quiche recipe.
Let the ham cool completely and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
If you have an excess of ham, store it in the freezer for up to 3 months to add to soups, burritos, or breakfast scrambles.
Juicy Smoked Ham
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 7-8 lb. raw boneless ham you can use a bone-in as well
- Prepare the brine. Bring 2 cups of salt and 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Whisk continually until the salt dissolves.
- Transfer the salt water to a 20-30 gallon container and fill the container about halfway with additional cold water. Place the ham in the water and add any additional water until the ham is covered. Cover the container and refrigerate for at least 12 hours*.
- Prepare the dry rub and rub the ham. Add all the dry rub ingredients to a bowl and mix. Set aside.
- Remove the ham from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Transfer the ham to a baking sheet and carefully massage the dry rub over the whole ham. Be sure to massage the dry rub into every crevice. Let the rubbed ham rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the smoker to 300ºF. If you are using a pellet smoker like us, we suggest using the Traeger signature pellets, but you can use any kind.
- Prepare the basting liquid. Melt the butter over medium/high heat in a small saucepan. Add the onion and salt to the butter and saute for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and honey and saute for an additional minute.
- Pour the broth into the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cover.
- Transfer the ham to the smoker and smoke for 2-3 hours, basting every 30 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature of the ham at 2 hours. If the internal temperature is around 140ºF. Remove the ham and let it rest for 15 minutes. The ham will continue to cook once it is removed from the smoker.*
- Slice the ham and serve on its own or ham sandwiches.
Tips & Notes
- A bone-less ham usually weighs between 7-9 pounds whereas a bone-in ham can be anywhere from 12-14 pounds.
- The length of smoking time with vary depending on if you use a bone-in ham, or boneless ham, and the size of the ham you use. Regardless of the size of the ham, the internal temperature should be between 140º-145ºF.
- You can brine the ham for up to 3 days.
- Around the holidays you can find ham at your grocery store. Otherwise, any butcher should have bone-in or boneless ham available.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.