How to smoke a ham

While smoking a ham may seem a little intimidating, it’s actually fairly simple and straightforward, you just need to follow the proper techniques.  We’ll show you everything you need to know on how to smoke a ham!


At its most basic, a ham is the hip and upper portion of the back leg of a pig.

The ham we chose to use (and the one with which most of us are familiar) is known as a city ham. A city ham comes fully cooked having been cured and smoked, and it only needs to be reheated for serving. There’s no single right way to reheat a ham. For our guide, we recommend heating your ham up on the smoker to give it additional wood-fired flavor.

When buying a city ham, plan on 3/4 to 1 pound of ham per person.

We reheated the ham low and slow, to add extra flavor to the ham without drying it out. The time it will take to reach the magic temperature of 140°F will vary depending on its size—anywhere from 1.5 to 4 hours. For an estimate, plan on 10 to 15 minutes per pound of ham. To keep the ham moist, we placed it in a roasting pan on the smoker with some apple juice.

Glazing a ham is not necessary, but it is an easy way to dress it up and add an extra layer of sweet flavor. Since the glaze contains sugar, glaze your ham during the last half hour of cooking, so that the glaze caramelizes onto the ham but doesn’t burn. We mixed honey and our Maple Sugar Bourbon Rub for the glaze to give the ham the unique sweetness of honey, mixed with the deep bourbon flavor used in our Maple Sugar Bourbon Rub to deliver an irresistible taste of savory and sweet. 

Let the ham rest before carving. It benefits from resting at least 30 minutes and can sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours before serving.

And now for the ham...



1. PREPARE: Prepare the smoking temperature to 275-300 degrees, indirect cooking. Best to stay in this smoking range.

2. SEASON: Rub ham with olive oil all over to act as a binder for seasoning. Next, generously apply Maple Sugar Bourbon Rub all over the ham. (You can also use yellow or spicy brown mustard as a binder.)

3. FLAT MEAT SIDE DOWN: Place ham flat meat side down on a cooking tray rack. (You can also place ham flat meat side down in a foil tray to smoke.)

4. SMOKE: Since the ham is fully cooked, all you want to do is heat the ham up to 140 degrees in the thickest part of the ham. You will need to smoke the ham for 4-5 hours to reach 140 degrees. (Keep close watch on the temperature throughout the cook.)

5. GLAZE: Once ham reaches temperature of 125-130 degrees you are ready to glaze the ham and then let it remain on smoker until 140-degree temperature is achieved. (Glaze: 2 cups honey with 4-5 tablespoons of Maple Sugar Bourbon Rub mixed in with the honey.) Glaze the entire ham.

6. REMOVE: At 140 degrees internal ham temperature, remove from smoker and you are ready to serve.

And there you have it. Enjoy your beautiful smoked ham with friends and family, and make your mouth happy!