Southern Culinary Arts: The best smoked ham ever!
culinary arts - Southern food - how to smoke a ham
Today's culinary art in my online cooking school is a great Southern food - smoked ham, or more specifically, how to smoke a ham. This ham takes some time and effort, but it will probably be the best you've ever eaten - hands down! It's wonderful for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or any time you have guests for dinner. Should you be lucky enough to have any leftovers, they make great sandwiches and ham salad, and the bone is wonderful for hearty soups. After you're done with the big bone, give it to Fido for a real treat. I always cut the small bits of meat and fat from the bone and put them in ziplocs and freeze them. They give vegetables a tantalizing smoky taste. If you enjoy BBQ cooking and smoking, this is for you!
How to smoke a ham
Start with a sugar-cured ham. A half works better because there's more surface area to soak up the flavorings. The shank portion is fine, but the butt half is meatier.
Remove the tough outer skin from the ham. Place the ham in a large container and cover with a mixture of cherry, apple, and/or pineapple juices. Place the ham in the refrigerator and allow it to marinate overnight.
The next morning, make a thick syrup of brown sugar, cherry juice, and ground cloves. Microwave until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the ham from the marinade and pat dry, reserving the juices for later. Brush the syrup liberally on the ham.
Place the ham on the top rack of an electric smoker. Place pecan twigs that have been soaked overnight in water on the burner. Pour the juice marinade in the water pan. OR- use a charcoal smoker. Several top quality smokers are listed below. I assure you that if you like good food that's easy to prepare, you'll never regret investing in a smoker!
Every two hours, re-apply the syrup mixture to the ham with a brush. Check the water pan after about six hours. If more liquid is needed, add more juice or water.
Cook the ham for twelve hours on the smoker. Remove and let stand 30 minutes. Apply one last coating of the brown sugar concoction. When it cools, it will harden into a wonderful crunchy coating that will have you licking your fingers! In fact, the crust is the best part of the smoked ham, as far as the kids are concerned.
If you plan to cook a turkey or a fresh pork roast, place it on the bottom rack, under the ham. This is especially good for dry meats like poultry or lean pork because as the ham cooks, the fat and syrup will drip onto the turkey or other meat, constantly basting it.
If you don't want to go to this much trouble, just place the ham on the smoker and forget it. Just check the water pan after about 6 hours. You'll still have an amazing smoked ham that your family and guests will rave about!
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