How to Smoke a Ham
If you’ve never had ham smoked on a grill, you’ll be surprised how Kingsford® charcoal can take your precooked ham to a new level of deliciousness — and it’s so easy to prepare. Let’s get started!
What You’ll Need
Before starting, make sure you have everything on this list. We recommend Kingsford® Original Charcoal Briquets. And don’t skip the digital meat thermometer — it’s the best way to make sure your ham is done.
- 1 Fully Cooked Ham (Not Uncured or Fresh) Shank Portion, Butt Portion or Loaf Style
- Seasonings of Your Choice: Whole Cloves, Dry Mustard, Herbs, Brown Sugar or Pineapple Rings are Favorites
- Sweet Glaze
Prime Rib: ¾ to 1 lb. per person, or a bone-in rib roast will feed about 2 people per bone
Ham: ⅓ to ½ lb. per person
Turkey: 1 to 1 ½ lb. per person
Chicken: 1 to 2 pieces per person or ½ lb.
Rack of Lamb: 2 to 3 lamb chops per person. There are 8 lamb chops per rack of lamb
How to Build Your Fire
- Give your top grill grate a good brushing and set it aside. Pour Kingsford® Original Charcoal Briquets into a chimney — or pour them in a mound and light. Wait for coals to light fully.
- Once the charcoal turns gray with ash, arrange coals in a Two-Zone Fire: Parallel Configuration with coals along each side of the grill, and a void in the middle to place an aluminum pan with water.
- Coals should be at Low Heat — about 325°F. How to control the heat when grilling with charcoal.
- Add the grate and let it heat up.
How to Gauge Grill Heat Without a Thermometer
Carefully hold your hand about 5” to 6” above the grate, and refer to the temperature settings below:
• High Heat (450° to 550°F):
2 to 4 seconds
• Medium Heat (350° to 450°F):
5 to 6 seconds
• Low Heat (250° to 350°F):
8 to 10 seconds
Make sure your clothing doesn’t touch the grate, and always move your hand away from the heat before you feel discomfort.
When you’re at temp, put cooking oil on a folded paper towel. Grab the oiled paper towel with long-handled tongs and oil the grate thoroughly.
- There are many types of charcoal grills that work well, such as a Kettle Grill or an Offset Smoker. You may also consider the convenience of a Pellet Grill where most models ignite with the press of a button. For more details, see How to Prep a Charcoal Grill.
- When you’re at temp, put cooking oil on a folded paper towel. Grab the oiled paper towel with long-handled tongs and oil the grate thoroughly.
How to Build Your Fire
- Place your seasoned ham in the center of the grate, right over the water pan with the coals on either side. Close the lid on your grill and adjust your vents to maintain a temperature of about 325°F. Add more coals as necessary. Let your ham grill-roast for roughly 15 minutes per pound. Because the ham is already fully cooked, you just need to bring it up to temperature.
Should I Spritz During a Long Cook? Some say spritzing allows too much heat to escape during a long cook. And others think it’s an important benefit. See what you think!
Smoking is a drying process and spritzing helps keep the meat moist, and helps it cook more evenly. It also helps your meat better absorb the smoke.
Here are some basic spritzes, but there are many more for you to explore:
• Prime Rib: Spritz with a light coat of apple juice every 30 minutes.
• Turkey: Spritzing helps the dark and light meat finish cooking at the same time. Spritz every 45 minutes with a half apple juice and half apple cider vinegar mixture.
• Pork Butt: After 2 hours of smoking, lightly spritz every 30 minutes with apple juice, vinegar and water.
• Brisket: After 3 to 4 hours, spritz every 30 minutes with apple cider vinegar.
• Ham: Spritz with apple juice or apple cider vinegar every 30 to 45 minutes.
- When the ham reaches about 120°F, you can apply a sweet glaze. Glazes typically contain a dominant sweet element like honey or maple syrup, cut with mustard and often bourbon or whiskey. Brush the glaze on periodically until the ham reaches a final temperature of 145°F.
- Once your ham reaches an internal temperature of 145°F, let the ham cool for about 10 minutes prior to slicing. Slice the ham across the grain into pieces about ¼” thick. If you have a bone-in ham, cut large pieces of the ham away from the bone first, then thinly slice the large pieces on your cutting board.
For safe meat and other food preparation, reference the USDA website.