Author Topic: Need advice on smoking a ham...more  (Read 21570 times)

Offline SmokinMoe

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Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« on: November 14, 2004, 04:12:54 pm »
I need some advice on which type of ham to smoke (brand and pound-wise) and what type of pucks to use.  I am smoking a ham for Thanksgiving (if my guru power raptor EVER gets here-ordered 2 WEEKS ago) and I don't know what is a good brand of Ham.  I have used other hams but they were pre-smoked or too salty, so I wondered if anyone had suggestions.  Also, what type of pucks make for a good smoke?
Do I need to cut the ham in half to smoke it if it is large or just smoke it whole?
Any recipes that anyone wants to share?
Thanks,
Michelle
"If I have to cook, I might as well watch it all go up in smoke!"

Offline Oldman

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2004, 05:23:15 pm »
Michelle,
I know you place this posting under Hot Smoking. However, I believe what you are after is a sweet mild smoke flavor thoughout the ham. If I'm correct then read on.

I do a fair amount of hams. When I say hams I'm not talking about a fresh ham. Curing it, smoking it and let it hang in a house for several months I will leave to the younger folks.

I use a full Hamilton Ham. It is very low in salt. Now I use the T-Shirt method of smokin'.  That is to say the ham is covered with a light white cotton cloth single layer all sides. I generally cut up 2 or 3 T-shirts and then sew them into one large piece. I use oak wood, and smoke for 6-8 hours depending upon how big the ham is. I try my best to keep the box temp between 160-180; this again has to do with the size of the ham.  At the 3-4 hour mark I turn the ham upside down. Make sure to empty the water bowl and refill with water at that time. I use to smoke my hams to a temp of 155-160 remove it, even if that happened before the full smokin' time is up. Now I only allow the ham to go to 140-145 degrees.  It is ok to have a little lower ham temp when the smokin' is over with, but do not cook this ham in the smoker. You might have to adjust the box temp in order to get the full 6-8 hours of smokin' but do not exceed a ham temp of 145 degress. (The reason for this will be explained below.)

Once the smokin' is done remove the ham, remove the T-shirt. Place T-shirt in a Plastic page if wet.  Once ham has cooled to room temp re-wrap the ham in the T-shirt. If T-shirt is dry then take a clean spray bottle and mist it with clean water until the T-shirt is wet but not running water out of it.

Next wrap the whole ham/ T-shirt in plastic. Place it into the refig.  Allow several days for the smoke to "cure" all the way through the ham.  When ready to serve remove ham from T-shirt and plastic wrap and "warm" ham to 170-180 degree in the oven at an oven temp of not more than 200-210 degrees. This will take a few hours. This is why you cannot "cook" the ham while smokin' it. You cook it twice even at low temp and you run the risk of a ham that will fall apart. I cannot stress this enough--you even cook the ham a little in the smoker and when you do cook it for serving you run a chance the ham will be over cooked and fall apart on you. Remember all store bought hams have already been "cooked" to 150 degrees.  

I cannot express how important it is you give a full ham several days to allow the smoke to go to the bone. Several here have taken my advise on the importance of allowing a larger piece of meat this dwell time and have posted that it really is important. Next I never cut the ham into two piece when smokin' it. For whatever reason cutting them into two has never worked out for me.

So recap in summary:

1.) Wrap ham in a SINGLE layer of (white)T-shirt material. Do bunch up any excess T-shirt on the edges. Cut that off and hold T-shirt to ham using straight pin. (no plastic heads)
2.) Smoke ham 6-8 hour
3.) Never allow ham in smoker to exceed 145 degree while smoking
4.) Adjust temp when needed to insure the full smoke time with out exceeding 145 degree in the ham
5.) After smoking remove ham from T-shirt and allow it to cool to room temp.
6.) Place T-shirt in pastic bag if wet.
7.) After ham has cooled re-wrap ham in T-shirt and spray with water if T-Shirt is dry.
8.) Wrap Ham and T-shirt in plastic.
8.) Place into frig for several days to all smoke to "cure" through the ham.
10.) When serving heat ham to 170-180 degrees using an oven.
11.) Try not to allow the oven temp to exceed 210 degress or the juices in it will leave and your ham will start to shrink and go dry. Depending upon the temp swing of your over you may have to adjust the cooking temp.

One final thought. If you have any ham left over all I can say it look-out eggs~~~! Breakfast time! Just fry up a little of the ham after you render out some of the fat for the grease!

Umm me thinks it is time for another ham [:D]
Good Luck
Olds

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Offline SmokinMoe

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2004, 09:52:47 pm »
Ok, now to show my greeness here, if I smoke the ham and don't cure it and then put it in the fridge for a few days, won't the ham go bad?  I mean, it wasn't at the magic temp and then if I smoke it for 8 hours, isn't it prime for the bad stuff to start growing on it?
Oh, I hate being new at something.
Thanks for your detailed instructions, but could you 'splain that to me?
"If I have to cook, I might as well watch it all go up in smoke!"

Offline SMOKEHOUSE ROB

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2004, 10:30:38 pm »
what dow-oldman is using is a ham that is already cured, i  cured ham is alread part way  cooked just so it will last longer , a not cured han is i think just a shoulder, you would have to ask the butcher for one of those then it needs to put threw the ringer as so to speak, and that takes weeks, so all dow-oldman is doing is taking a cured ham that is cooked to a point that is not ready to eat then he is just enhancing the flavor to be the best ham you ever had, then the last part is he will bring it up to temp where it is ready to eat, next time you are at the store look at the diferant hams some will say already cooked and some wont, it wont be called a ham if it is not cured , the same way with bacon, i hope this helps you,

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2004, 11:59:33 pm »
My understanding is ham is made from the lower part of the shoulder, that is often called a "picnic cut". The upper part of the shoulder is often called a "Boston Butt".

I did a picnic cut a few weeks back. It was close to a 9 pound cut, but when it was finished, I only got a little over 4 pounds of meat out of it. There is a lot of bone in this cut.

I did not cure it, and it had a similar taste of ham. It is surprising that those two cuts of meat taste so different. I used a rub suggested for picnic cut in "Smoke and Spice"; it came out great. I used a combination of apple and maple pucks; 1 maple per 2 apple; smoke for four hours and a total cooking time of 9 hours at 210 degrees. I only brought the internal temperature to 165. Next time I will incorporate some of DoW-oldman's; using the tee shirt and refrigerating for a few days; but my preference would be to reheat to 165.



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Offline Oldman

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2004, 02:19:55 am »
Michelle,

First there are no stupid questions here, as I have already asked them all. LOL!

Next all shoulder/ picnic-hams, and hams are  cured and cooked to 150 degrees before they get to the store. If it is a raw shoulder or a raw butt it will say "Fresh Pinic or Fresh Ham." The only exception to this I've seen is a boned picnic that is cured but not cooked. It is generally in the sliced meat/ beacon section and not in the beef, pork or chicken section. It will say on it that it needs to be cooked. BTW if a picnic or ham does not say it needs to be cooked then it was cured and cooked enough before it was shipped...at least that is the way it is in the U.S..

The type of ham I'm talking about is the type you would use to have a Baked Ham dinner for a Sunday after going to the meeting meal.

Baked Ham

Fresh Ham
You can see "Fresh" is raw.

Smithfield also offers a low salt ham. However, I feel that a Hamilton has less salt. I believe that these are the types of ham you are talking about. If not, and you are talking about a fresh ham you don't have enough time to cure it for at least 3 weeks in a salt box that is the minimum required for a full ham. Plus not just any fresh ham will do for curing, but is a story for another time.

As stated what you are doing is enhancing the ham flavor by smoking it before you bake it.

Believe this, if you follow that outline your ham will be the talk of the town. In fact since I posted earlier I went out and picked up a large picnic ham.... :) Going to do it tomarrow or Tue. I will post pictures for you.  So stay tuned~~! We will eat it next Sunday when Mother comes over so she can beat me at cards--Heh he he.  (I've got a young 74 year old card play fool for a Mother. How about Uno to a 1000 points! And then I hear, "Is that all?")

Olds

Edit I went back are re-read what you wrote. I miss-understood your  question. Your are talking about a fresh ham. However, unless you want it to turn out like a cooked pork loin it has to be cured. Their is just not enough time between now and Thankgiving. If you want a fresh ham for Christmas then you have time. Sorry that I miss-understood you earlier. Just remember as SMOKEHOUSE ROB posted if you want to cure a fresh ham not just any fresh will do; you will have to go to a quality  butcher . It will have to be order in, and most chain grocery stores do not have access to that quality.  It has to be cut differently, have a certain type of flesh structure, and a certain amount of fat.

Next why go through all of the trouble and expense to get the correct type of fresh ham, cure it, smoke it and then not age it for at least a month or so?  Do a Google search on curing fresh hams there are several good sites concerning this matter.

Curing, smoking, and ageing a ham is an learned art. In theory it is simple. Make one small mistake and you tash the whole piece. I know; I use to cure, smoke, and age all of my own hams. Now my life is much simpler. I just get a low sodium/ salt ham and follow that outline. The only exception to this is if I want a Virginia style ham. Then I would do that the ole-fashion way. [:D] And that takes at least a year if not longer~~~ [:p]

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Offline jaeger

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2004, 05:18:45 am »
Michelle,
You are going to be limited to what kind of ham you buy as to the kind that is sold in your part of the country. Ask your butcher what they sell the most of and what their favorite is. I would smoke with hickory. If you want to prepare and serve the ham all in one shot, I would smoke for about three hours and then transfer to the oven and finsh heating @ 200 to 225 degrees. As Olds said you will have to allow several hours for the whole process. You will be using a ham that is already cooked and smoked, but the reheating and smoking that you are able to do will truly enhance the flavor of your ham. Also the kind of ham we are talking about is a SBO Ham (shank bone out/removed). It is the same part as the round on a beef. It is not off the shoulder.
P.S. When you put it in your smoker you may want to double up the racks to support the weight as it will probably weigh from 12 to 20 pounds. Don't forget to use your probe while heating in the oven! Good Luck![:)]
As for size to use: For a bone in ham allow at least 1/2 to 3/4 pounds per ADULT. You also could cover the ham in honey before you start to make a honey glazed ham though I don't think I would go to the trouble or mess as you will be just as happy with a Double Smoked ham.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2004, 11:29:09 am »
My taste buds are more sensitive to the taste of salt, and I am one who does not like salt over powering the other flavors. Therefore I don’t eat ham. If you have the refrigerator space and time to experiment; smoke a picnic cut, and see if that may not satisfy your taste for ham without the saltiness. It is difficult to slice due to the bone. The next time I may ask the butcher to debone it. I usually find them for $.99/lb.

Perfect Picnic Rub (Smoke & Spice)
5 Tbl.   Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 C.  Turbinado sugar
3 Tbl.  Paprika
2 Tbl.  Coarse kosher salt
1 Tbl.  Dry Mustard
2 Tsp.  Onion Powder
1 Tsp.  Cayenne

Mix all ingredients and massage the pork well with about 1/2 the rub. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. Prior to smoking, add another coating of rub, and massage it into the pork.


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Offline SmokinMoe

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2004, 02:24:26 pm »
Ok, which one of you guys wants to come be the star of my party and cook the thing for me?  LOL  I will feed you really good and you can bring the whole family if you wish.  
Ok, I am going to get a Hamilton ham as I have had that before and really liked it.  I DO NOT like salt and can't hardly stand the taste except on cold pizza. ha ha
But, I have had that brand before, just forgot it until someone mentioned the name, and I know I could stand that.
Would I want to rub it with anything like Haberno smoker suggested, or just smoke it?  What would be the difference of cooking it in my smoker versus the oven if I could keep the same temp.? I would only smoke it for the 3 hours and then turn off the smoking thing and just cook it.  I was trying to clear the oven space for the side dishes, so that was why I was trying to put it in the smoker.
If it was already pre-cooked from the manufacturer, would it still take on the smoke?
Anyone try the Maple Bourbon Ham out of Smoke and Spice on page 78-79?
It says to use this with a bone-in cooked ready-to-eat ham.
Thanks for all the advice.
"If I have to cook, I might as well watch it all go up in smoke!"

Offline Oldman

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2004, 08:03:53 pm »
I would not add a rub. A Hamilton smoked as I outline above will be outstanding.

Yes you can smoke/ and bake the ham all at one time but it will not have nearly the total favor when compaired to the two step process I outlined.

You can still free up your oven when doing the two step process. Go ahead and smoke your ham as I outlined, then allow a few days for the smoke to cure through to the bone.  On the day you are going to serve the meal just use your Bradley as an oven--200-210 degress to bake your ham.

Why short change yourself on the flavor?

 <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">If it was already pre-cooked from the manufacturer, would it still take on the smoke?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
Yes the ham will still take on the smoke flavor.
Olds

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Offline SmokinMoe

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2004, 10:12:33 pm »
Ok, that will be my plan. I think for the best way to do this, I will do one this week and see how I do following instructions.  That way, on Thanksgiving, all won't be a complete failure.
I will post my results and sing your praises when it works out!!
Thank you to all who helped me out AGAIN!!
All these questions and I still haven't used my smoker!!
But, look, I finally have a star!
"If I have to cook, I might as well watch it all go up in smoke!"

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2004, 10:35:40 pm »
Good luck with your project.

Olds;
I reread your instructions. Just curious - why not smoke a ham higher than 145 degree?


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Offline Oldman

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2004, 12:10:01 am »
Michelle,

We are not going to Mars. After your first time you will laugh at yourself because this is almost fool-proof! Just follow my outline. Now one thing. I like a SWEET smoke on the ham. This is why I use oak. However, it takes a few days to complete the process. Maybe you should start out with 4 hours.  If you want it stronger then next time add another hour.

 <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">All these questions and I still haven't used my smoker!!
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Just make sure to break your unit in first~~!
Olds

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Offline SmokinMoe

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2004, 12:32:52 am »
Just make sure to break your unit in first~~!
How do I do that?
"If I have to cook, I might as well watch it all go up in smoke!"

Offline BigSmoker

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Re: Need advice on smoking a ham...more
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2004, 01:42:11 pm »
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by SmokinMoe</i>
<br />Just make sure to break your unit in first~~!
How do I do that?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Load up 4-6 hrs of pucks. Turn on smoke generator, hit advance button three times and let 'em burn until finished with top vent opened about a third of the way.  I might be off on the amount of time but you can check the owners manual I think it has exact instructions[:)].

Jeff
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Some people say BBQ is in the blood, if thats true my blood must be BBQ sauce.