Smoked, spiral-sliced hams are hugely popular at holidays and for large gatherings. While these hams usually come “fully cooked and ready to eat,” the texture and flavor as they come from the store is often, shall we say, lacking. To really bring out the best in these hams, we like to smoke them a second time and glaze them near the end of the cook.
A word of caution: Since these hams have already been smoked in the processing facility (this is what makes them “ham” as we think of it), we want to be careful not to overdo the smoke the second time around. A couple of palm-sized pieces of wood will provide all the smoke you need.
We like to use a chunk of apple wood, which pairs nicely with pork, and a chunk of hickory wood, which imparts the classic smoke flavor typically associated with ham (plus we just like the smell of hickory smoke wafting over the backyard!).
The one downside to spiral-sliced hams is that they tend to dry out when undergoing a second smoke. That's where the glaze comes in; not only does it add a nice, tangy-sweet depth of flavor to the meat, it also helps to keep it moist during the smoke. Most spiral-sliced hams from your grocery store typically come with a packet of brown sugar glaze mix included. It may be convenient, but we can do better -- so toss that packet in the trash and whip up our simple orange-maple glaze instead!
1 spiral-sliced ham in the 8 lb. range
1 cup Grade A maple syrup (the real stuff, not the mass-produced corn syrup with maple flavoring)
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 medium orange (or ½ cup not-from-concentrate orange juice)
After removing the ham from the packaging, give it a quick rinse to wash off any excess fat clinging to the outer skin. Pat it dry and place it face down, uncovered, in a foil pan. We put a cook-safe trivet on the bottom of the pan to elevate it a little so the ham doesn’t soak in the greasy drippings that accumulate in the bottom of the pan.
Set up your smoker for indirect cooking and bring the temp to 250 F. Add the wood chunks and let the fire burn for 30-60 minutes to allow the smoke to clear.
Place the ham in the smoker and put the meat probe from your SmokeBloq Wi-Fi thermometer into the deepest part of the roast. (Be sure it isn’t touching the bone.)
Prep the glaze mix, whisking until all ingredients are well-combined. (You’ll need to whisk again right before applying as the sugar will settle to the bottom.)
Cook until the internal temp hits 120 degrees. This will typically take about 3 hours.
At this point, apply the first coat of the maple-orange glaze.
When the internal temp hits 135 F, apply a second coat of the glaze and ramp the smoker temp up to 350 F. The higher temperature will turn the glaze into a delectable, sticky-sweet crust.
Remove the ham when it hits an internal temperature of 140 F (typically between 4 and 5 hours for an 8 lb. ham.) Tent loosely with foil and let rest for 20 - 30 minutes. Then serve and enjoy!