How To Smoke A Raw Ham

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Looking to take your ham to the next level? Get ready to light up the smoker and dive into the delicious world of smoking a raw ham.

In this guide, we’ll show you the ins and outs of transforming a plain ham into a smoky masterpiece. From selecting the perfect cut to seasoning and controlling the smoker, we’ve got you covered.

So grab your apron and get ready to impress your friends and family with a mouthwatering smoked ham like no other.

Let’s get smokin’!

Key Takeaways

  • The shoulder and leg are the two main types of ham cuts, with the shoulder being higher in fat content and richer in flavor.
  • The curing process enhances the flavor and texture of the ham by applying a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices, and takes place in the refrigerator for a specific time.
  • Preparing the ham for smoking involves trimming excess fat, soaking wood chips in water, and setting up the smoker according to instructions.
  • Seasoning and flavoring the ham can be done with marinades or brines, and different smoking techniques offer unique flavors.

Choosing the Right Cut of Ham

When smoking a raw ham, it’s important to choose the right cut of meat for the best results. The curing process plays a significant role in the flavor and texture of the ham, and different cuts of meat respond differently to the curing process.

The two main types of ham cuts are the shoulder and the leg. The shoulder, also known as the picnic ham, comes from the front leg and has a higher fat content, resulting in a richer flavor. On the other hand, the leg, or the ham proper, is leaner and has a firmer texture. It is a popular choice for smoking due to its versatility and ability to absorb the flavors of the smoke.

Consider your preferences and the desired end result when selecting the cut of ham for smoking.

Preparing the Ham for Smoking

Before you start, make sure you have trimmed any excess fat from the ham. This will help the smoke penetrate the meat more evenly and prevent any greasy texture. Once the ham is trimmed, you can begin preparing it for the smoking process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Curing Process: Before smoking, it’s important to cure the ham. This involves applying a mixture of salt, sugar, and other spices to the meat and letting it sit in the refrigerator for a specific amount of time. This process helps to enhance the flavor and texture of the ham.

  2. Types of Wood for Smoking: The type of wood you choose will greatly impact the flavor of your smoked ham. Popular options include hickory, apple, cherry, and oak. Each wood imparts a unique taste, so it’s worth experimenting to find your preferred flavor profile.

  3. Soaking the Wood: Before using the wood for smoking, it’s recommended to soak it in water for at least 30 minutes. This helps to prevent the wood from burning too quickly and produces a steady smoke.

  4. Setting up the Smoker: Follow the instructions of your smoker to set it up for the smoking process. Make sure to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process for best results.

Seasoning and Flavoring the Ham

To add flavor to the ham, you can season it with a mixture of spices and herbs. Marinades and brines are popular choices for enhancing the taste of smoked ham.

A marinade is a liquid mixture that typically includes ingredients like vinegar, soy sauce, and various spices. It is used to infuse the meat with flavor and keep it moist during the smoking process.

On the other hand, a brine is a mixture of water, salt, sugar, and sometimes additional seasonings. Brining helps to tenderize the meat and add a savory, salty flavor.

When it comes to smoking techniques, there are different options to consider. You can use a traditional smoker, a grill with a smoker attachment, or even a homemade smoker using a charcoal grill and wood chips. Each method will impart a unique flavor to the ham, so choose the one that suits your taste preferences.

Remember to follow proper smoking guidelines and cook the ham to the appropriate internal temperature for safe consumption.

Setting Up and Controlling the Smoker

You’ll want to start by preheating the smoker to the desired temperature before placing the seasoned and flavored meat inside. Proper temperature management while smoking is crucial for achieving a perfectly smoked ham. Maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process ensures that the meat cooks evenly and retains its moisture.

To add a smoky flavor to your ham, you can use wood chips. These chips come in various flavors, such as hickory, apple, or mesquite, allowing you to customize the taste of your smoked ham. Adding wood chips to the smoker creates a delightful aroma and imparts a rich smoky flavor to the meat.

Here’s a helpful table to guide you in setting up and controlling the smoker:

Temperature Wood Chips Cooking Time
225°F Hickory 20 minutes
250°F Apple 25 minutes
275°F Mesquite 30 minutes

Smoking and Cooking the Ham to Perfection

Maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process ensures the ham cooks evenly and retains its moisture.

To achieve the perfect smoked ham, it is crucial to follow the proper temperature and cooking times.

For a fully cooked ham, you need to smoke it at a temperature of around 225°F (107°C) for approximately 20 minutes per pound.

This means if you have a 10-pound ham, it will take around 3 hours and 20 minutes to smoke.

However, always use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) for safety.

Additionally, for an extra smoky flavor, you can experiment with different wood chip flavors such as hickory, apple, or mesquite.

These wood chips will infuse your ham with a delicious smoky taste that will leave your guests wanting more.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to smoke a raw ham?

To achieve the perfect smoky flavor on a raw ham, it’s important to properly season it before smoking. Start by generously applying a dry rub of salt, pepper, and any desired spices. Let it sit in the fridge overnight for maximum flavor infusion.

What kind of wood chips should be used for smoking a raw ham?

For the perfect smoked ham, choose wood chips that complement its flavor. Hickory offers a robust and smoky taste, while applewood adds a touch of sweetness. Experiment with different smoking techniques and seasonings to create a mouthwatering masterpiece.

Can I use a gas smoker instead of a traditional charcoal smoker?

Yes, you can use a gas smoker as an alternative method for smoking a raw ham. It provides a convenient and efficient way to infuse the ham with smoky flavor, while still achieving great results.

Do I need to brine the ham before smoking it?

You absolutely must brine the ham before smoking it! Brining benefits include enhanced flavor and moisture. While gas smokers are a popular alternative, nothing beats the traditional charcoal smoker for that authentic smoky taste.

Can I smoke a raw ham without a smoker?

You can smoke a raw ham without a smoker using alternative smoking methods such as a charcoal grill or a stovetop smoker. However, keep in mind that the flavor and texture may not be as optimal compared to using a dedicated smoker.


Congratulations! You’re now equipped with the knowledge on how to transform a raw ham into a succulent and flavorful masterpiece.

By carefully selecting the right cut, properly preparing and seasoning the ham, and expertly controlling the smoker, you can achieve perfection in your smoked ham.

So go ahead, embark on this culinary adventure and impress your friends and family with your smoking skills.

Get ready to savor the euphoria of a perfectly smoked ham that will leave everyone craving for more.

Happy smoking!