Last week I was exalting my ability to relish in sweet Christmas swine. Now a stuffed, glazed pork loin is pretty awesome, but there is nothing, nothing, that can hold a candle to a holiday ham. If there was one thing that made me resent keeping kosher more than anything else, it most certainly ham. Smoked, glazed, cured...there has never been a ham I haven't fallen madly in love with. Out of them all, it's the sweet Christmas time variety that holds the most special place in my heart. That flavorful pink meat with sugary, crunchy edges made we swoon as a kid, and still holds as strong a grip on me to this day.
My best friend Pete once worked at Honey Baked Ham as an extra seasonal wrapper to handle Christmas orders one winter break. He didn't dig on swine then (still doesn't, save a piece of a my pulled pork) leaving him returning from a long day at the "office" with his version of a horror story—a day measured by the stickiness of hands from an unending line of hams, with the smell of pork ingrained into crevice of clothes and body. I would listen to his rants, wide-eyed with a sense that I was surely wasting by precious time delivering for Domino's and handling hams was definitely where I belonged.
For better or worse, I never became a full-time ham processor, but I still love ham so and I have a smoker, and those two go together pretty well. I have yet to take a crack at brining and smoking a ham at home, but instead use the smoker as an alternative to heat and glaze a ready-to-eat ham. When it comes to pre-cooked ham, I say go for the spiral sliced, because the way I see it, if you're going to be lazy and not cook your own, might as well go all the way and not have to slice it either.
Since the ham is already cooked, having that perfect sweet ham taste and texture, the additional smoke doesn't impart much on the meat. What the smoke achieves is giving a faint smokiness to the glaze—an added bonus to an already killer mixture of brown sugar, dijon mustard, whiskey, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice that is brushed on during the last hour of a four to five hour cook.
Oh man, look at the crust, it's what dreams are made of! A beautiful mahogany that holds a seasonal sweetness and a little smokiness, just waiting to elevate some spectacular swine to grand heights. I'm having trouble with looking at not currently having some of it in the house to dig into, the desire for just a taste is so strong.
I had a very civilized photo of a few ham slices on a plate with a side of green bean casserole and a cheddar biscuit to end this post, but then switched it to this one of a mound of ham, which better represents my true feelings. A couple slices is all and good, but what I really want is stack like this to swim in. I am a ham monster—given the opportunity, I'll devour as much as possible, then go back for seconds, thirds, and fourths, until I've become so full of swine that I am more pig than man, and that there, is true happiness.
- Yield 12-14 servings
- Prep 10 Minutes
- Cook 4 Hours
- Total 4 Hours 10 Minutes
- 1 ready-to-eat bone-in ham, around 10 pounds
- 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Jack Daniels Whiskey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- Remove ham from packaging, wash, and pat dry with paper towels. Allow to come to room temperature while preparing the smoker.
- Fire up your smoker to 225°F. Add 4 to 5 chunks of a medium or light smoke wood. When the smoker is at temperature and the wood is burning and producing smoke, place the ham in the smoker.
- While the ham is smoking, mix the rest of the ingredients into a thick paste in a medium bowl to form the glaze, set aside.
- Cook ham to desired temperature, about 4-5 hours for a ten-pound ham to reach 120 degrees. Brush on the glaze during the last hour of cooking. Remove from the smoker, slice, and serve.
Adapted from the Virtual Weber Bullet
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Chris Excellent post for this time of year. I like your choice of pictures for that last one, the pile works for me too!
Now I want a hamwich.
Josh @Chris Hamwich! Awesome.