How To Make The Best Ham Ever

How To Make The Best Ham Ever

This recipe is using a regular precooked store bought spiral ham. I actually bought it from my local Aldi because it was smaller (8lb), and cheaper ($ 17), so it was the right size and price.

I set up my barrel pit for indirect grilling (but you can use a regular charcoal grill though a gas grill won't have the same flavor), which is having the fire on one side of the pit and a water pan on the other and the meat goes over the water for a nice moist slow cook. Get the fire up to about 275 or so (it can be 300 but no more than 325), and make sure you have a couple of vents open so the smoke and flavor can flow. I use a few medium hickory logs (from Menards), regular Kingsford charcoal and Apple wood chunks (from Mejier), and get it to about 275 degrees.

Before that I put a light rub on the ham (cut side down), and its like a basic rib rub, a light coating of organic mustard so the rub sticks and then just garlic powder, fresh basil, BBQ seasoning (most rubs are good, I like Famous Dave's & Weber BBQ rubs), Cajun seasoning, drizzle a little honey on it, sprinkle brown sugar on it and then a few splashes of whiskey, I prefer Jack Daniels. There's no need for the glaze that comes with the ham, this rub and technique is all you need.

Let the ham sit for 30 minutes or so (so the rub kicks in), and then when the fire is ready, use a large aluminum pan and a rack inside (one from a toaster oven is prefect), and put the rack in first then the ham, cut side down and then pour apple juice on the bottom of the pan so that it completely covers the bottom of the pan but doesn't reach up to the ham. This is for moisture and flavor, remember the ham is already cooked, this whole process is for additional flavor.

The ham needs to cook for at least two hours or three hours if its over 10 pounds.

The fire needs to be tended to (to make sure it doesn't go out and drop the temperature (which increases cooking time and makes for tough meat), and if the fire gets too hot or you just want more smoke flavor then soak hickory chips in a bucket for 30 minutes and put them on the fire (just a couple of handfuls at a time), to control the heat and get that great smoky flavor.

The ham (if its spiral cut), may separate a little, keep and eye on it and make sure it doesn't all the way come apart. It should hold together but look like pages from an old book and open or butterfly a little. No worries, more smoke getting in there.

After the ham is a dark color (but not burned), then pull it off and like all smoked meat, it needs to rest (at least an hour), wrap in foil and let it rest (and finish cooking), for 45 minutes to a hour. Then slice and enjoy.

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