Simple steps is all it takes to learn How to Make Twice Smoked Ham for the holidays. The extra smoke along with the Bourbon Glaze makes this ham the showcase of any holiday table with minimal effort for the chef.
🍽️ Why This Works
Simple | This ham will be one of the easiest things you will ever smoke. The meat is prepped from the butcher so you only have to spend 2-3 minutes to get it ready for the smoker. It’s already pre-cooked and pre-smoked so you are simply adding in additional smoke and glaze to take it up a couple notches on flavor.
Perfect for Holidays | Put this recipe on the top of your list when you want to make the main dish for holidays. Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years and Easter all quickly come to mind as times where we gather friends and family and want those show stopper meals. This one never disappoints.
Flexible Glaze | Whether you like this Bourbon glaze or have a tried and true Grandma’s favorite, learning the techniques of twice smoking is all your really need to make this family favorite.
Ham | Order a whole ow half ham that is labeled “pre-cooked” or “ready to eat” to know you are getting a true precooked cut. If you are unsure, ask the butcher what version it is. We chose to go straight to the butcher for this one vs picking one up from Costco. We did love that the ham wasn’t as salty as some can be, but we have smoked ham from Costco as well and they turn out fabulous. You can choose bone in or boneless. This technique can be used for a spiral sliced ham as well. You wouldn’t cross hatch it, obviously but I would consider tenting it with foil as there are so many places for it to dry out.
Bourbon | We love to use Bourbon in our recipes as it gives them a nice sweet flavor with a little punch. If you didn’t want to use bourbon, leave it out and substitute extra fluids from either the apple juice or the juice from the oranges.
Orange | The oranges in this recipe will infuse a little (but not a lot, so lower expectations that it will have an orange taste all over) flavor to the bottom of the ham where it rests on the cast iron skillet. If you want more of an orange flavor, substitute the orange juice for the apple that is called for so you can achieve a stronger taste.
Step One: Heat the smoker up to 225 degrees. Choose your favorite smoking wood. Always remember that hickory and mesquite are going to infuse the strongest smoke flavor. If you have questions, refer to the Smoking Cheatsheet.
Step Two: Slice oranges and lay in the bottom of the cast iron skillet. Pour the apple juice over the top.
Step Three: If the ham is in plastic wrapping, remove it and pat the ham dry. Cross hatch slice the ham about two inches deep to allow more surface area to achieve the smoke taste. If your ham is spiral sliced, skip this step. Place the ham on top of orange slices. Place the entire cast iron on the grill and smoke uncovered for about two hours.
Step Four: Combine the brown sugar, bourbon, orange juice, cinnamon and orange zest into a bowl and stir. If you want it thicker, heat over a medium heat on the stove to allow it to thicken. Bring it to a boil and allow it to cool. Once it is cooled, the glaze will thicken. We love it thin as it sneaks into all the baby crevices. It’s all up to you.
Step Five: At the two hour mark, increase the temperature to 300 degrees and continue to cook the ham for an additional two hours or until the meat thermometer reaches about 1115-120 degrees. At this point, start brushing the glaze on the ham multiple times and allow the ham to absorb it. Reapply the glaze a couple times as the it will get sticky. Remove and tent for 10-15 minutes.
❗ Expert Tips
The orange slices (you can use lemon as well) will elevate the ham off the bottom of the cast iron skillet to allow it to gently absorb the orange flavor. The cast iron will get very hot and the ham may dry out if it is resting directly on the metal. The orange slices keep it elevated. It also allows it to gently steam to keep the ham moist while not immersing the ham in the fluid.
Choose your wood smoking chips wisely. We mention that a lot because a simple change of the wood chips will completely change the smoky flavor of the meat. We chose a fruit wood this time but if you like a hearty smoke, try mesquite or hickory.
Make sure the packaging says “pre-cooked” or “ready to eat” so you know it is already smoked and not a natural ham.
Choosing a ham with a bone is up to you. I fine the marrow in the bone adds more flavor.
When the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. We use thermometers to check this in a couple of different areas.
No, it’s best to get it to the 140 degrees before taking it off. At this point, try to increase the temperature of the smoker to 250 degrees and see if it will help bring up the temperature of the ham to 140. If you do this, I would cover it with foil so it doesn’t dry out. Do not serve ham that hasn’t come to the correct temperature.
So many things can factor into why your smoker won’t stay at temperature. Before smoking, make sure that you don’t have too much excess charcoal inside from prior smokes. If it is a cold winter day, it is going to be harder to keep up, if the wind is howling, it will be a challenge.
If you want to do this, up the temperature to 300 degrees and it will smoke up quickly to 140 degrees. Because the temperature is higher, it will takes less time to smoke and less time exposed to smoke. The apple juice will still keep it moist. If you want to do this, consider a small foil tent to make sure it doesn’t get dry.
Twice Smoked Ham with Orange Bourbon Glaze
- Cast Iron
Twice Smoked Cured Ham
- 8 lb Ham cured, bone in
- 1 cup Apple Juice
- 4 slices Oranges
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Orange Juice
- ¼ cup Bourbon
- ¼ tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Orange Zest
Twice Smoked Ham
- Heat smoker up to 225 degrees. Choose the smoking wood of your choice.
- Slice oranges and lay in the bottom of the cast iron skillet. Pour the apple juice over the top.
- Cross hatch slice the ham about two inches deep to allow more smoke to go inside. If your ham is spiral sliced, skip this step. Place ham on top of orange slices. Place the entire cast iron on grill and smoke uncovered for about two hours.
- At the 2 hour mark, increase the temperature to 300 degrees and continue to cook the ham for an additional 1-2 hours or until the meat thermometer reaches about 1115-120 degrees. At this point, start brushing the glaze on the ham multiple times and allow the ham to continue cooking. Reapply a couple times as the glaze will get sticky and the temp of the ham increases to 140 degrees. Remove and tent for 10-15 minutes.
- Combine the brown sugar, bourbon, orange juice cinnamon and orange zest into a bowl and stir. If you want it thicker, heat over a medium heat on the stove to allow to thicken even more.