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How to: smoked Thanksgiving ham

Take ham to the next level by cooking over Kingsford® Charcoal.

  • ham
  • Cut:Ham
  • When it's Done:135°F
  • 1 fully-cooked ham (not uncured or fresh) 7 lbs
  • Seasoning (whole cloves, dry mustard, herbs, brown sugar, or pineapple rings are favorites)
  • Prep time: 45 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 ¾ hours
  • Servings: varies

If you think you love ham now, wait until you try it on the grill. Sometimes called double-smoked ham, the already smoky flavor of a ham is enhanced beautifully when grill-roasted over charcoal. Seasoned and glazed, the finished grilled ham will be a showstopping centerpiece of your table.

  1. 1

    Buy the right ham.

    When choosing a ham, any cooked and cured ham will do. Shank portion, butt portion, loaf-style hams—they all work equally well. Please note, it’s important not to use an uncured or fresh ham—preparing those properly is a more complicated, time-consuming process. Just select a fully cooked ham from the grocery store and let the charcoal do the rest.
  2. 2

    Set up a parallel fire.

    Set up your coals in a parallel configuration. In this configuration, coals burn slowly in two rows on either side of the grill, with a water pan in the center to provide a moist environment and help stabilize temperatures. This configuration provides long, steady heat for grill-roasting your ham. For long slow cooks like ham, Kingsford Long Burning is an ideal charcoal choice.
  3. 3

    Season the ham.

    Prepare your ham with the seasoning of your choice. Start by scoring the ham about ¼-inch deep in a crosshatch pattern to allow seasonings to penetrate the meat. Then apply the seasonings: whole cloves, dry mustard, herbs, brown sugar, even pineapple rings are traditional favorites.
  4. 4

    How long to smoke ham?

    Place the seasoned ham in the center of the grate, right over the water pan with the coals on either side. Put the lid on your grill and adjust your vents to maintain a temperature of about 325°F. Add more coals as necessary. Since hams are already smoked, additional smoke wood is not essential, but you can add some if you like. 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.
  5. 5

    Glaze the ham.

    When the ham reaches about 120°F, it’s time for you to apply a sweet glaze, if you like. 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 135°F.
  6. 6

    Slice and serve.

    Let the ham rest for about 10 minutes to cool prior to slicing. Slice the ham across the grain into slices about ¼-inch 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.


Pineapple rings are a traditional topping for hams. They provide moisture and flavor. Put them on after seasoning and pin them in place with toothpicks.
If you prefer to baste your ham, cook the ham in a foil pan to collect the juices for basting. Just don’t lift the lid to baste too often—it will cause temperatures to drop and increase your cooking time.

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