Smoking A Fully Cooked Butt Half Ham

posted in: Pork 12

My contribution to our family Thanksgiving feast this year is Ham.  For years I have always just reheated fully cooked Hickory Smoked Hams in the oven or an 18-Qt Roaster Oven at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes per pound.  The Hams turned out OK but often were dry.  After reading Forum posts on smoking a Ham on a wood pellet smoker-grill I decided to practice to see the results for myself.  The general consensus is that Spiral cut Hams tend to dry out … You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to find an old fashioned Smoked Ham that wasn’t spiral cut!  Used an 11.7lb ready to eat Hickory Smoked Butt Half Ham.

Preheated my MAK 2 Star Wood Pellet BBQ Smoker-Grill to 225ºF with Hickory wood BBQ pellets.  Initial estimate was that it would take about 9 hours to reach an Internal Temperature (IT) of 140ºF. Trimmed some of the excess fat and lightly scored the surface to aid in Hickory smoke penetration.  IN at 9 am with an IT of 38ºF.


OUT at 4 pm with an IT of 141ºF.  Took 7 hours vs my estimated 9 hours to reach my desired IT of 140ºF. Rested the Ham under a foil tent for 20 minutes.  The scoring gave it a nice look and I couldn’t wait to see the results.

The Money $Shot$ … A few slices of Hickory Smoked Ready to Eat Fully Cooked Butt Half Ham with a side of scalloped potatoes, and some Crescent Rolls.

The Ham turned out extremely moist and the copious Hickory Smoke from the MAK 2 Star added some great flavor.  I was truly impressed with the moistness but for Thanksgiving I might take the IT to 150ºF vs the 140ºF.  Inner portions of the Ham, though fully cooked, had that slight rubbery texture that I attribute to meat not cooked properly.  Either 140ºF is a bit low or I incorrectly placed the meat probe.  Any suggestions and/or comments?

12 Responses

  1. Greg
    | Reply

    I normally use apple or cherry wood for smaoking pork. Would this compromise the taste of a fully cooked hickory smoked butt portion of ham?

    • smokerpete
      | Reply

      I don’t think so. I normally use Hickory but Apple and Cherry will both do just fine and taste great!

  2. Greg
    | Reply

    I forgot to ask, how did you score the ham?

    • smokerpete
      | Reply

      You can just use a very sharp paring knife or anything else sharp to break the surface.

  3. Bill
    | Reply

    I have a 10lb ready to eat ham shank. I am doing it on a wood pellet smoker; Would you suggest 225 degrees and how long/

    Wonder how a light coating of mustard and then BBQ rub. Wonder how that would be.

  4. Bill
    | Reply

    Forgot to mark the notify me box.

  5. Mike
    | Reply

    I’m assuming a spiral cut ham would take less time?

    • smokerpete
      | Reply

      To be honest Mike I don’t think that I’ve ever smoked/cooked a spiral ham in my pellet grill. One big reason, as I pointed out in the post, is that spiral cut hams tend to dry out. But if you loosely cover the spiral ham with foil after you smoke the ham for an hour or so it should help with the ham drying out. So will a spiral cut ham take less time? My educated guess is that yes it will take a bit less time. But remember to always cook to internal temperatures.

      Once you’ve smoked the ham for an hour or so bump the pit temp to the temperature cooking instructions on the ham until it reaches an internal temperature of 140ºF. Course, I’m presuming that the spiral ham is “Fully Cooked Ready-To-Eat” so you’re just reheating the ham to proper temp which is normally 140ºF. A 10 pound ham should take a total of about 4½ hours to smoke/cook. This does not take into account preheating the pellet grill and resting the ham for 15 minutes loosely under a foil tent.

      If the ham finishes a little too early I recommend double wrapping the ham in heavy duty foil, an old towel, and placing it in a cooler … better known as FTC. The large mass of the ham will keep it hot till you’re ready to eat. Best be a little early than late so that all the sides and trimmings are ready before you carve the ham.

      Hope this helps. If you haven any more questions please don’t hesitate to ask … Pete

  6. Rachel Heyne
    | Reply

    Thank You for sharing, this was very helpful!

  7. Carlos Williams
    | Reply

    How long would it take to smoke using apple wood chunks? And at what temperature?

    • Pete Jautaikis
      | Reply

      Presuming that you can maintain a 250ºF in your smoker with your apple wood chunks then I think it should take about 5 hours to reach an internal temperature of 140ºF for your ready to eat fully cooked ham. Just remember that all you’re doing is adding smoke and essentially reheating the ham. Make sure it’s not a spiral cut ham.

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