Who smoked hams first?
Ham is the thigh and leg portion of a pig. It’s one of the meatiest and leanest body parts of a pig. Therefore, making it one of the most in demand ingredients in our favorite every day dishes.
But during the holidays, hams are not just the typical every day meal, it’s the star of the night; especially when it’s smoked.
Smoking is a famous cooking process that brings out a savory and distinct flavor of meats that will make it even more fabuloso. The Chinese people are believed to have started curing meats but it is still not sure whether who smoked the ham first.
So whoever dude went out of his crazy mind and tried to smoke his freshly bought meat from the market, we owe our delicious Noche Buenas to you!
Will this be hard?
Smoking hams is definitely not hard to do. But you have to allot time to do it. It’s not hard process but it’s time consuming.
So you always have to keep in mind that patience is a virtue, and patience will give you something definitely delicious to chew.
Most smoke-ham enthusiasts and aficionados will wait for long hours and even days, they are even willing to pay a big amount of money just to get a taste of an authentic and well-done smoked ham.
You will need the following materials
1. Half ham (either butt part of shank)
How to choose the right ham?
To start with a great material will make the cooking process a lot easier for you. So to get a fresh and best raw material is essential. Hams can either be cured, smoked, or both.
Curing is another type of cooking method for hams that include nitrates, nitrites, salt or sugar. TIP!
Be careful in buying hams in supermarkets. Some sell hams that are labeled as smoke but are not really smoked. These hams are just injected or marinated with smoke-flavored liquids for it to taste as smoked.
You must not also buy hams that are fully cooked already for it may not be fresh anymore.
This is the primary cooking tool that you will need when you want to smoke a ham. While there are many types of smokers (charcoal smokers, homemade smokers, smoking pits, pellet smokers), the best type of smoker to use is the electrical smoker.
It’s easy to use and it gives you a consistent cooking temperature during the entire smoking process. An electric smoker is ideal to use not only for smoking pork, but also for beef, chicken, and just about any type of meat you want.
Most electric smokers come with a water pan. A water pan is found usually at the bottom part of an electric smoker and is responsible for providing a moistly smoke to your ham.
Note that it’s better to have a smoke with moist than to smoke it dry for it doesn’t bring out that much flavor versus a moistly smoke. You can either put beer, wine, fruit juice, or just water to your water pan, depending on your preference.
The wood gives your ham the smoky flavor whenever you smoke it. However, you have to take note that wood types give different flavors to meat.
So it is best recommended for you to try and test each type of wood and see for yourself which type gives your desired smoky flavor.
3. Glaze or Coating
Adding more flavor to your smoked ham
Others prefer to add flavor to their hams even before smoking by injecting or marinating sauces or spices to it, or the most common is to glaze or coat it with a sweet mixture.
The glaze or coat is usually made of a sweet ingredient such as the following: honey, jams, fruit syrups, pineapple juice, orange juice and sometimes, cola products.
Here’s a sample glaze recipe you can try if this is your first time smoking a ham:
Mix all the following ingredients together on medium heat:
- 1 cup honey
- 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
- 1/4 cup
- dark brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4. Chef knife
We will use a chef knife for scoring the ham before we smoke it for a more pleasant and beautiful presentation of serving after cooking.
Smoking Your Ham
Now that you are all set, let’s start smoking your ham. Again, note that this may take a few hours but fortunately you don’t need to watch this closely. So you can still do other things while the smoking process is ongoing.
Just follow these 6 easy steps and your smoking hot ham will be waiting for you and your folks for dinner! Let’s start.
1Turn Your Smoker on
Prepare your smoker. Turn it on and keep its temperature steady at 250°F (121°C). Fill the water pan with your desired liquid and put the wood in.
2Score Your Ham with a Diagonal Pattern
Scoring your ham with a diagonal pattern just before you cook it by smoking gives it a better, nice, and more appetizing look after smoking.
3Place Fresh Meat in Smoker
Now that your smoker has a steady temperature, place unadorned ham in smoker fat side up. Smoke it with the same and consistent temperature for 2 hours.
Cooking it under low heat will extract its juices and will make it more tender.
4Turn up Heat of Smoker
After 2 hours, adjust heat and turn it up to 325°F (163°C). Monitor its internal temperature with a thermometer. This is the most important thing that you should watch closely for it will determine if the smoky flavor will be achieved.
Note that it must not exceed 165°F (74°C) or else it means that it’s already burning.
5Apply Glaze/Coat on the Final Hour
On the final hour, get your glaze/coat and apply liberally on ham every 15 minutes. This is so the coat can marinate deeply into the meat. You can glaze your ham for more than an hour but note that this can burn the glaze.
If you prefer a taste of burnt sugar on your ham, then go ahead. This is the perfect thing to do.
6Remove Ham Once It Reaches Desired Internal Temperature
Once the deepest part of your ham reaches 165°F (74°C) internal temperature, remove it immediately from smoker. Serve.
There you have it! Now, you can make your folks feel like every day is a holiday because of your special homemade smoked ham.
You can do and make your own smoked ham at home without the hassle of buying expensive ones in the supermarkets. Without even assurance if these hams are definitely smoked or not.
We all first thought that smoking a ham is difficult. I must admit that before I tried smoking my own ham, I also had hesitations because I thought it was impossible to do.
But here we are. I’m sharing this technique with you so you can also enjoy the luxury of having that extremely great taste of a smoked ham anytime and anywhere you please.
Here you will see and realize that a good and nice meal need not be expensive. All it takes is a little reading and research. Well actually, all it takes is one click!
If you find this article useful and helpful, please don’t hesitate to share it with your family and friends so they too can try and enjoy making smoked hams.
Keep visiting cookingchew.com for more helpful tips and delicious recipes! See you again next time!