This is probably the best ham you’ll ever eat – a true Southern food. It has the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and smoky. It also has a crunchy ham glaze that is wonderful all by itself! The recipe involves some time and effort, but trust me – you’ll find that the tantalizing results are worth it. This is the perfect ham to serve at any holiday or special meal. It should definitely be included in your Thanksgiving recipes and Christmas recipes!
To make this recipe, start with a cured ham – preferably a sugar-cured ham. You’ll also need an electric smoker, along with some wood chips or twigs to place on the smoker’s burner element. Our favorite wood for this purpose is pecan, but you can also use apple wood, peach wood, oak, or hickory.
The night before
Once you’ve secured your twigs, soak them in water overnight. Make sure the ham is completely thawed, and carefully remove the hard skin while leaving the fat intact. Score the ham diagonally. Place the ham in a large plastic bag. To the bag, add pineapple juice and cherry juice. Close the bag securely, place it on a tray, and refrigerate it overnight. Turn the ham occasionally.
How to smoke a Ham
Fill the unit’s water pan with apple juice, and place your ham on the top rack of the smoker. Add the wood twigs to the burner located at the bottom of most electric smokers. The amount of smoke you get will depend on how much wood you use. ]
Buying an Electric Smoker
Some people prefer charcoal or wood smokers, but my personal preference electric. This is the best electric smoker on the market as far as I am concerned – The Masterbuilt 30 inch electric smoker – on sale at Amazon for less than $200 right now. Great value for money piece of equipment.
Smoking time depends on wind conditions, the size of the ham, and on your specific smoker. Twelve hours is a good rule of thumb, and you’ll have some time to “play with.” Because you’re cooking with moist heat, it’s not likely that your ham will dry out if you overcook it an hour or so.
After the ham has smoked for six hours, you’ll need to check the water pan to make sure it’s not empty. You might need to add more juice at this point, along with more wood. Also, this is when you want to begin coating your ham with the glaze.
To make the crunchy ham glaze
Mix together in a saucepan:
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cane syrup
2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Cook over medium heat just until sugar and butter have melted. Stir frequently. Brush on ham with a large brush. Do this every two hours during the last six hours of smoking – three times, in total.
When the ham is done, remove it from the smoker.
Reheat the glaze mixture on high heat and bring it to a boil. Allow it to boil for about five minutes, while stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn it. Brush the ham with the glaze immediately. As the ham and the glaze cool, you’ll get a nice crunchy ham glaze. If the glaze isn’t crunchy enough once it cools a bit, boil it again.
Although you can use other types of wood for smoking your ham, I fully believe that pecan wood makes a big difference. If you don’t have access to any pecan wood, you can order some below.