This BBQ spin on the holiday classic will prove an instant hit this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Smoked over cherry wood and finished with a sweet and spicy glaze, there’s nothing quite like this double smoked spiral ham.
If you want something different to a store-bought honey glazed ham, then this smoked spiral ham is the way to go. This is a quick and easy smoker recipe for the holidays.
It has a sticky-sweet glaze that offers a touch of spice. I cook it on my drum smoker for the perfect cherry smoked finish.
How to double smoke spiral ham
Most spiral hams come pre-cooked, which for this recipe is fine. We’re simply going to warm it up in our smoker, which is why we call this double smoking.
At the end of our smoke we’ll then glaze it with a sweet sauce to give it a beautiful finish fit for any holiday platter.
Prepare your ham
We’re going to use a 10lb spiral-cut ham from your local butcher or supermarket (even places like Walmart tend to sell decent cuts, so these are fairly easy to find).
Take away any packaging, and protective sheets at the bottom of the meat. Just be careful: This comes pre-cut in slices, so can easily lose its shape if you’re not careful when handling it.
Place the ham on a chicken rack, and then place back on a baking tray. At this stage we’re not going to be using any fancy brines, sauces, or seasonings. We’re simply going to heat it up over smoke, and bring it to temperature.
Prepare your smoker
Heat up your smoker with your choice of smoking wood. I like to use cherry wood here, as it pairs beautifully with pork and offers a delicate sweet flavor. Also, because the ham has already been smoked, we only need to use a mild flavor with it, rather than something strong like oak or hickory. It also imparts a little bit of red coloring onto the ham when it’s finished, which will go down a treat at the dinner table.
Heat up your smoker to 275°F. We’re going for a temperature slightly higher than our usual default of 225°F because the ham is already cooked. Here we’re just double smoking it to give it a bit more flavor and bring it to an internal temperature of 140°F. Because we don’t need to render the fat or collagen ourselves (this has already been done), we can be a bit more aggressive with our heat levels.
Leave to cook for about two hours. Open your smoker and check that the internal temperature is approaching 140°F with a meat probe. Also look for good signs like moisture on the surface of the meat, and some nice color developing.
How to make the glaze
When your ham has about 30 minutes to go, take this time to make the glaze.
For the glaze we’re just going to use two very simple ingredients. One is apple jelly, and the other is raspberry chipotle BBQ sauce.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, add a cup of the apple jelly. Allow the jelly to liquify (should take about 3-5 minutes). Once the jelly has broken down completely, add a cup of the raspberry chipotle bbq sauce.
Mix the two together and bring the heat up to a simmer. Leave the sauce on warm until your ham is ready.
When your ham is ready, open up the smoker and transfer the ham to a shallow pan. Use a basting brush to apply the glaze to the ham. Ensure that all cracks and crevices along the surface of the ham are covered. Any run-off should be collected in the shallow pan.
Smoke the ham in the pan for a further 30 minutes.
When it’s ready, the glaze should have set on the outside of the ham, with a beautiful red colour developed.
Remove the ham from the smoker and leave to rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes.
Use a carving knife to cut the ham, making sure to follow the seams along the surface of the ham. The ham should easily fall apart, and present meat that’s juicy all the way through with a beautiful pink color.
If you notice the slices of ham start to fall apart, simply use some toothpicks to hold the ham together. Pinning them with toothpicks should stop them falling apart and leaving the meat prone to drying out.
AIm to serve about 1lb per person. I’ve used a 10lb ham for this recipe, which might sound like a lot, but the leftovers are so good that it’s worth cooking more than you need!
Use a tray when smoking. Some people like to expose the ham directly to the smoke underneath, but I find that the run-off from the ham causes more problems than its worth. Using a pan when smoking should help catch these, and then an aluminum pan when you’ve applied the glaze will catch the glaze and stop it dropping onto your coals and causing problems like flare-ups.
Use a sweet wood. I’ve used cherry here because I love its mild flavor and the red color it gives the ham, but you can also try pecan or apple. Just try to stay away from heavier woods like oak or hickory. They impart a lot of rich flavor, and might not match well with the flavors from the first time the ham was cooked.
Use a chicken tray. This will help make transferring the ham a lot easier without disturbing it. Because it’s come pre-sliced, the slightest movement could make it all unravel. Also be sure to place the ham cut-side-down to give yourself the best chance of keeping the ham in one piece while it cooks.
What is double smoked ham?
A lot of hams bought from stores have already been smoked. This is also the case for spiral hams. This makes preparing them a lot easier, and just means that we need to smoke them to bring them to an internal temperature of 140°F, and apply a glaze to give them more flavor.
In the case of this recipe, we’ll also be smoking the ham over cherry wood to give it a sweet flavor and a hint of color.
How long does it take to smoke a spiral cut ham?
It will only take about 2.5 hours in total. Because the ham comes pre-cooked, we simply need to bring it to an internal temperature of 140°F and apply our glaze.
What temperature do you cook ham to?
140°F. Spiral cut hams are safe to eat cold (source) but when cooked they must reach 140°F to take it past the danger zone and make it safe to eat. Don’t go above this temperature, as the ham will start to dry out.
What’s the best wood for spiral cut ham?
Cherry wood. Because the ham has already been smoked, woods like oak or hickory will be too strong and overpower the flavors of the ham. I like to use cherry wood because it’s more mild, and will add a nice touch of sweet flavor to the ham.