How To Smoke A Fresh Ham (3 Simple Steps) is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you. We use our affiliate earnings to buy tasty snacks and new toys.


Did you buy a fresh ham and looking for a great way to smoke it?

If so, you’re in the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn: 

  • The supplies you’ll need
  • An easy glaze recipe
  • How to smoke a fresh ham (3 simple steps)
  • And much more!
How To Smoke Fresh Ham

Jump To A Section

When the holidays come around, Americans purchase an estimated amount of 318 million pounds of ham.

But the best thing about ham is that you don’t need to wait until the end of the year to cook it. It’s food for all seasons!

If you’re wondering how to smoke a ham, know that it’s a fairly simple process. All it takes is a bit of patience.

The goal is to cook the meat low and slow (smoked slowly at low temperatures) to get that unique taste.

We usually do our smoking with vertical smokers, but smoking ham works just as well in any grill or smoker.

Read More >> Best Smokers For Beginners

Whether it’s the holidays or another special event, try our method of smoking ham. There doesn’t even have to be a special event!

Smoke a ham this weekend if you’re craving that maple-glazed, smoky goodness!

What You Need to Know About Smoking Ham?

For this guide, we’re focused on smoking a cured, fresh ham, not a ham that has already been smoked. 

Depending on how big the ham you’re smoking is, it usually takes between five to six hours to cook completely.

Smoking is meant to be a slow process to allow all the flavors and aromas to infuse with the meat for that distinct taste.

Supplies You’ll Need to Smoke a Fresh Ham?

The two main things you need to smoke a ham are

  • A smoker (or grill)
  • A cured pork leg
  • Applewood chips
  • Roasting pan
  • Clean water
  • 1 Cup Apple Juice
  • Charcoal Chimney (optional)

To get the smoker going, you need some charcoal, some wood chips (we’re using applewood this time), and clean water.

A charcoal chimney is optional. We use this to help get an (almost) accurate measurement of charcoal and to light it up easier.

For the meat, we’re using an 18-pound ham. We placed this on a roasting pan with two cups of water below.

We also poured a cup of apple juice over the ham for some extra flavor.

For the glaze, we’re using a honey mustard glaze. For this, you’ll need: 

  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Apple Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

How to Smoke a Fresh Ham (3 Simple Steps)

1. Prepare Your Meat
2. Set Up Your Smoker or Grill
3. Smoke Your Fresh Ham

Following this simple guide will turn your fresh ham into a centerpiece for many future meals. If you have questions, feel free to drop a comment and I’ll answer as quickly as I can. 

Step 1: Prepare Your Meat

  1. Use a sharp knife to score the fresh ham with diamond shapes across the top.
    Just cut into the fat deep enough without reaching too much into the skin. This allows the smoke to infuse deeper into the ham.
  2. Transfer the scored meat onto a roasting pan.
  3. Pour 2 cups of water into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Carefully pour 1 cup of apple juice over the ham.

Step 2: Set Up Your Smoker or Grill

  1. Light up some coals for your heat source. Set the temp to 225ºF.
  2. Set up your smoker’s water bath.
  3. Pour the lit coals over your smoker’s bottom part (or your grill’s coal component).
  4. Put in some wood chips over the charcoal. We’re using a mixture of soaked (in water) and unsoaked applewood chips for smoking this ham. 
  5. Place the ham on the smoker or grill.

Read More >> How To Use A Charcoal Smoker (7 Step Guide)

Step 3: Smoke Your Fresh Ham

Once you get your ham on your grill, prepare some honey mustard glaze.

In a pot, mix and heat up 1/3 cup of honey, ½ cup of Dijon mustard, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup apple juice, and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

  1. Apply the glaze over your ham after cooking for two hours.
  2. Continue to coat the meat with the glaze occasionally, preferably after every 45 minutes.
  3. Smoke for two to four more hours. Maintain a smoker temp of 225ºF.
  4. Take out the ham after smoking for roughly 6 hours. The internal temp should be 145ºF. That’s when smoked ham is safe to eat.
  5. Cover the ham in some foil and allow it to rest before slicing and serving.

Read More >> How Long Does Ham Last in the Fridge?

Shawn Hill

Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I run this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

About The Grilling Dad

You’ve got grilling questions. We’ve got the best grilling answers from a network of seasoned grilling pros.

Our team has spent hundreds of hours researching products. Learn more about why you can trust our recommendations.

As Seen In

the grilling dad featured in media and magazines

Popular Buying Guides

Recently Published Posts