What to buy in order to smoke a ham....

Discussion in 'Pork' started by exromenyer, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. I know this sounds like a stupid question.  I've smoked a ton of meats but never have attempted a ham.  I really would like to smoke a ham for some sandwiches and if that comes out good, I'd like to do one for Easter.  I have seen where some guys just purchase a ham at the local market and then put it on the smoker for a while?  Please, any and all suggestions and brands welcome.

    Thank you,


  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you want to buy a raw piece of meat and cure it and then smoke it  yourself or do you want to buy a ham from the store that has already been cured and smoke and you are going to warm it up in your smoker instead of using your oven? Some people will call that a twice smoked ham or something like that I believe.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I like to get cured but uncooked hams, they seem to be juicier than the already smoked ones. Smithfield has one, but I haven't seen it in the stores lately. 
  4. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    Curing your own raw ham is amazing the flavor cant be beat!! your going to need i say at least a month to cure it depending on its size. or to speed things up you can pump it. of course your going to need cure# 1. then you can smoke it or put straight in to the oven till it hits 150 or so. i love to smoke it for at least 12 hours then finish it in the oven with a glaze. i can tell you its very rewarding. there is all kinds of methods for doing this online and recipes also. of course you can always come up with your own!!

    Here is one i did awhile back!!

    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  5. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you are new to this go to the store, purchase a cured ham (previously cooked or not) and use the smoker.  If the ham is fully cooked 3 or 4 hours in the smoker should be fine, if raw, cook till you reach recommended  internal temperature (may need to go in the oven so you don't get too much smoke).

    No big deal,  if you are new to curing I would suggest that raw hams are one of the more difficult procedures so just buy from the store.   

  6. I think I would do the latter, and buy from a store an already cured ham and smoke it for a while.  I just needed some guidance and some ideas of what to buy to accomplish this.  I've seen Smithfield Ham's but I have bought Pork butts from them before and they were aweful.  It's just the luck of the draw sometimes.  I might go to my local butcher here in NC and ask them as well.

    Thank you
  7. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    One thing is never get ham with water added!! always get ham in natural juices. As you stated your local butcher can help you out. get a local produced ham that will taste best.
  8. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    It's going to be tough getting anything over the counter without added moisture.   If it is cured with a wet cure, pumped, then there is added moisture.   Go to Sam's and get a precooked ham,  last time I bought a pre-cooked spiral sliced ham from Sam's and it made great sandwiches.  I would stay with a smaller ham so the smoke has a better chance to penetrate is the small amount of time you will be smoking it.  If you are curing your own ham and intend to smoke it for days or weeks you can go with the larger cuts but this is for experienced ham curers like Bratrules.  Don't make a big deal of it,  this is easy and it's hard to mess it up because it is a safe procedure.

    If you buy a dry cured country ham they are generally pretty salty and I wouldn't mess them to much.  You normally need to presoak these to get some salt out and them maybe smoke them.

    BTW  BRATRULES    Beautiful ham you got there in that smoker.  Great Job!
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Since your not a Smithfield fan, I would just pick any ham that looks good to you. Spiral sliced fully cooked will work. Just smoke it for 3 or 4 hours to heat it up & add some smoke to it. It will be the best ham you ever ate!
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A couple things to point out!

    For complete instructions on making a ham from scratch (raw hog leg) please see my post "From Hog Leg to Easter Ham!" :  http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/89979/from-hog-leg-to-easter-ham   - explains the whole process.

    For a double-smoked ham, check around for an "uncooked" or "partially cooked" ham, it would indicate it on the label.  It still has to be completely cooked to 150° - 165°; the manufacturer only cooked it to it's partially cooked minimum standard of 135°, still too raw to eat outright but cooked enough to destroy pathogens.

    The term "water added" is basically misleading; it brings visions of packers intentionally pumping water into the ham to increase it's weight dishonestly.

    When a fresh hog leg is processed, because of the size of the muscles, to get the brine inside before the meat spoils, you must "pump" the ham with brine or it will sour; in other words inject the brine into the muscles so it will cure from the inside-out as well as from the outside-in.  You are adding a liquid brine to the meat.  The average pump ratio is about 10%; that's about all it can hold.  On a 14 lb ham, you will put about 23 oz of brine into the ham, or about 10% (14 lbs x 16 oz = 224 oz, ­÷ 10 = 22.4 oz).  Now, during the cooking and smoking process, if you do not cook out at least 5% of that moisture, your ham will be labeled 5% or 10% 'water-added'.

    Then, there is higher % water-added ham product, usually in the deli-ham line, called, "XX% ham and water product", the XX's representing the weight increase, usually 20% to 40%.  This is accomplished by introducing phosphates and other chemicals into the product to make it intentionally absorb more water and increase profits.  And, you get what you pay for; ham-and-water product is just that, mushy!  But, cheaper; I've bought it before.  You just don't want to wait too long before lunch, or you'll have to wring out your sandwich before you can eat it, lol!

    BTW, the ham I make above is pumped at 10% and more than 10% is extracted through cooking and dripping so it was not 'water-added' by definition.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  11. bratrules

    bratrules Smoking Fanatic

    Great post Pops!!!!

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