Happy Easter (and Passover)! As I sit here feeling morbidly obese after a meal with friends and family, I wanted to share a few thoughts and pictures from smoking a ham; this is a follow up to my post on Friday.
If I sound distracted, that is because I had virtually no sleep last night; that should be your first indicator that smoking a ham is an extensive experience. I started smoking the ham around 10:30 AM Saturday, and finished up just after 6 AM Sunday morning – about 19-20 hours cooking time (not including prep and brining time).
A typical ham runs around 12-15 pounds, and ours was a little north of 14 pounds. After brining for about 72 hours, I injected it with apple juice, lightly coated the ham with mustard, coated it with a pecan-based rub, and then it placed in the smoker at about 180 degrees. Throughout the cooking process (yes, the 19-20 hours) I regularly (every 30 or 60 minutes) brushed the ham with an apple juice/orange juice mixture in order to keep it moist.
Even though I have experience smoking meats, this was my first ham – and it took longer than I thought or read about from others’ experiences. It did however, provide me a chance to watch Saturday Night Live (Michael Keaton was great), watch a Sylvester Stallone movie (The Expendables or something like that – the movie certainly was that), watch Christian Bale in a Terminator movie, and learned through a number of commercials that there are services available to date Christian, European and Asian women (these ads seemed to predominate after about 2 AM).
Anyway, long story short, the ham turned out great! A smoked ham does not taste like your typical store-bought ham, as a fresh ham has not gone through that curing process. I would say both are excellent, but my preference would be a smoked ham. Just make sure you have enough time should you decide to do this yourself!