Hickory-Smoking a Ham with the Smokenator

We picked up a ham on an ‘after-Easter’ sale a while ago, and I finally convinced my wife that hickory-smoking it was THE way to fix it.

I’m not often right so I’ll just say so, right up front here. This turned out to be the best ham we’ve ever had, and I bet that I get to do it again, the next time we have a ham.

First, here’s the method:
Glaze the ham and then smoke it for about 2-1/2 hours (at about 220°) in the barbecue with the Smokenator 1000 (insert Tim Allen “Arrrrh, Arrrrh, Arrrrh” here), then bring it out onto foil, bring it into the house, give another coating of glaze, and finish in the oven on convection-bake for 2 hours at 215°.

Let’s get into how I did it.

First, I made a glaze by using up every little bit of leftover mustard we had in the fridge. We had a short squirt of Jack Daniels Mustard, a long squirt of Sweet and Spicy Mustard, a small gob of Country Dijon, a good long squirt of Heinz Yellow, and I made up the rest of about a third of a cup with some Ploughman’s. I added about a cup of brown sugar, and stirred this all together until it made a sticky “glop”. And that’s what it feels like, when you put your fingers in it to coat the ham. These are rough guesses; just feeling my way as I went. The idea is to have it sticky and gooey enough so that it doesn’t just run down the ham and puddle.

And because we all like to see pictures, here’s where we started:

Yeah, I was standing a bit to the side to try to catch the ‘glop’ glaze and the ham.


I lined a tray with cling-film, because I knew this was going to get really messy and sticky.


Meanwhile outside, the coals are ready to go:


You load the Smokenator, then add unlit fuel and smoke chips on top. This primes it for a good, long, even burn. The unlit fuel catches eventually, while keeping the temperature down.

After you load the hot coals in the bottom, you fill the water pan, add the unlit fuel and smoke chips, insert the barbecue grille, put on the top, and then adjust the top vent for both the fuel and the conditions of the day. If it’s cold outside, you open the vent more… You get how it works; it’s a scientific guess.


A few minutes to heat up and for the temperature to stabilize, smoke to get going well, then in goes the ham.


The flowerpot base to the left is where I keep briquettes to add. You add them one at a time, when you open the barbecue periodically (about an hour’s intervals) to refresh the fuel and water. You open the lid, step out of the way of the smoke, then poke the fire around with the stainless steel rod to settle the burned briquettes and to make space for the new, unlit ones and the smoke chips. This also knocks the ash out the bottom of the fire grate. Then you add the fresh fuel and chips.

The first hour’s a little tricky, because you’ve just put in a big, cold, chunk of ham and it has to get warmed up. You have to run a little more draft to create more heat at first. I always forget about this, and so end up with the barbecue being too cold at first. And this means I have to cook for a longer period. So your first hour’s interval checks should actually be two half-hours, as you have to get things adjusted and into a groove. A good practice is to check after 15 minutes and adjust the draft as necessary. Then when you come back to it at the end of that first half hour, you should be in good shape, heat-wise.

Usually the second check – at the 1 hour mark – shows things are rolling along nicely. Time to pick up a book, and wait it out…

So here we are, some 2-1/2 hours later, after a few sessions of watery eyes from the smoke. The ham’s ready to come off and go into foil, get another coating of glaze, then into the oven for about a couple hours – less, especially if you can smell it and it’s driving you crazy.


Just look at that nice, deep color… Ready for the oven!

A half hour or more of resting, and we’re ready to reveal it and slice.

And here we are: done, a few slices, and ready to eat!



If you’ve never had hickory-smoked ham before, THIS is worth the time!

Hope you enjoyed the post – dinner was great! And the leftovers… hey, they’ll be just as good.


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