Smoked Spiral Ham: Mind-Blowing Double Smoked Ham Recipe

August 9, 2023
Written by John Smits

Double-smoked spiral ham might be the easiest, most mouth-watering food you can crank out on your smoker. The 2-hour process (for an 8-pound ham) is simple, but your guests will think you slaved at the grill all day - smoke at 225°F for 30 minutes, hit it with my bourbon and maple syrup glaze, let the ham reach 140°F internal temperature, carve, and serve.

The first time I smoked spiral ham, I was so excited you think I'd just discovered fire. The extra kiss of smoke and finger-licking glaze make twice-smoked spiral ham incredibly tasty. It tastes so good, I make one for Easter dinner, Christmas, and any time spiral-cut ham goes on sale!

I'll cover everything you need to know, including my go-to recipe. Toss your old holiday ham recipe in the recycling bin. I'll show you how to crank out smoked ham packed with flavor in just a couple of hours. Sound good? Let's get smoking!

smoked spiral ham

Buy a Wet-Cured Ham

First things first - you'll need a wet-cured ham. Look for a bone-in ham that's around 8 pounds.

Wet-cured hams are by far the most common type sold in the United States. These hams have been injected with a cure containing salt, sugar, spices, and preservatives. They come from the leg of the pig.

They are also pre-cooked, almost always by smoking. That means your ham is going to be double-smoked - I can hear the cheers of joy from pitmasters everywhere.

Wet-cured hams are a pinkish-purple color (thanks to the preservatives) and may have already been hit with a sweet glaze. They're also almost always spiral-cut, which means carving them is a breeze.

Trim the Ham

Remove any skin, and trim the fat layer. Spiral ham usually comes with a glaze packet - ditch it and make my glaze recipe instead.

Keys to the Recipe

My maple glaze is next level once you add bourbon to the glaze ingredients. Use real maple syrup if you can find it. Otherwise, substitute brown sugar or honey - don't buy the artificial stuff.

The awesome sweet maple glaze works its way into every nook and cranny of the meat, making every bite salty, sweet, smokey perfection.

Ditch the Glaze that Comes in the Package

The first step is to throw out the glaze that comes with the ham. It's crammed with high fructose corn syrup. You want real flavor.

Skip the Rest

Here's the deal: smoked ham can be served immediately - no need to rest for hours like other large cuts of meat.

Plate it Attractively

Get your best serving dish out. People tend to eat with their eyes, so you'll want the ham to look as attractive as possible. Put it on your best-serving ware before putting it on the table.

Invest in a nice platter if you don't have one - spiral hams are a cheap cut of meat per pound. Use those savings on a handsome serving dish.

Double Smoked Spiral Ham Recipe

Once you've got your ham in hand and you've trimmed it up, you're ready to cook that delicious cut of meat. This recipe is screaming to be used for a classic Easter dinner that the entire family loves, but it's also great on sandwiches, eggs, salads, or in split pea soup.

Grab a couple of spiral-cut hams if you'd like leftovers. I promise your friends, family, and the whole crew will love my smoked spiral ham recipe, and there won't be much leftover. Figure at least one pound of ham per person if you want some leftovers.

Makes: 8 servings

Cook time: 15-20 minutes per pound. Around 2 hours for 8-pound ham. Cooking time will vary depending on weather, wind, and other factors.

Cooker temperature: 225°F

Recommended wood chips, chunks, or pellets: Apple, pecan, hickory, cherry wood

Homemade Glazed Spiral Cut Ham

Ingredients

For Maple Bourbon Glaze

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, pineapple juice, or apple cider
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup (I'm spoiled. My neighbor taps trees and gives me the real stuff whenever I need it. Don't substitute artificial syrup.)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (light brown sugar works in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite bourbon
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For the Ham

  • 1 (8-pound) precooked bone in wet-cured ham
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I use the Better Than Bullion brand)
  • 1 cup bourbon maple syrup glaze

Recipe

  1. Prep glaze. Make the glaze by combining all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir with a whisk, and simmer for 5 minutes. Filter through a fine mesh strainer, and return the strained mixture to the pan. Boil on low until the sauce has thickened slightly (reduced by a third). The brown sugar should fully dissolve.
    Refrigerate when done. You can make my sticky sweet glaze well ahead of time - it will keep for weeks in the fridge.
  2. In another saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the glaze with the chicken broth. Heat over medium temperature, stirring frequently. Refrigerate until you're ready to use it - you can make it days in advance. This will be mopped on during the cook to make delicious smoked ham.
  3. Remove your trimmed ham from the refrigerator. Rinse off any glaze that is on the meat - mine is better, and I doubt store-bought has bourbon in it. If any water works its way into the sliced spirals, it's fine. It'll help keep things moist.
  4. Preheat your cooker to 225°F. Smoked spiral ham can be cooked on whatever smoker or grill you've got. Traeger smoker, wood pellet grill, gas grill, kamado grill, bullet smoker, barrel smoker - it's all good.
  5. Set your cooker up for indirect grilling, low and slow, and toss some wood chips on the hot coals. Use less than normal since the meat is already smoked. You'll need to crank the heat at the end of the cook.
  6. Smoke the ham. Get your ham, cut side down, on the grill - place it directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the ham from the smoker. Place several feet of heavy-duty aluminum foil on your grill grates. Stick the ham, cut side down, on the foil. Don't puncture the foil with the ham bone. Pour 1/2 cup of the mop over the spiral ham and seal the foil tightly. This will generate some steam, which quickens your cook and makes that smoked ham extra juicy.
    If you've got a leave-in thermometer, stick it in the ham to monitor your temperature. Place it through the foil in the fatty end of the ham, keeping it an inch or so away from the bone.
  8. Once the spiral smoked ham reaches an internal temperature of 125°F, open the foil and apply some of the remaining mop with a brush. Leave the foil open, and reapply the mop every 10 minutes.
  9. While the mop sets, prepare the glaze by taking it out of the fridge and warming it up in a small cast iron skillet on the grill or in a small saucepan on the stove. Remove the ham from the smoker and add any drippings in the aluminum foil to the glaze.
  10. Crank your grill temperature to 400°F. Remove the smoked spiral ham as the grill comes to temp. Remove the thermometer from the meat. Cover the entire twice-smoked ham with the maple and brown sugar glaze using a basting brush. Reserve some glaze for serving, if desired.
  11. Once the grill is ready, put the ham on there. Watch it like a hawk. The maple and brown sugar can burn - be prepared to pull the ham from the heat. Let it sizzle but don't allow the cooked ham to burn - it'll ruin that smoky flavor in a hurry.
    Let the smoked spiral ham cook for 3 or 4 minutes per side. Once the internal temp of the ham reaches 140°F, it is ready to go. Don't overcook the ham by going past 140°F.
  12. Slice and serve. Place the ham on a cutting board. Carve the spiral ham by slicing in from the sides toward the bone, then slice along the bone to release the meat. No need to rest my glazed ham - slice it and serve immediately.
    Serve the individual slices in a large pan, on a charcuterie board for a beautiful presentation, in a disposable aluminum pan, or however, you see fit. Spoon some reserved drippings and glaze on the top for more flavor.
Glazed Spiral Cut Ham Served with Sauce

What to Serve With Smoked Spiral Ham?

Mashed potatoes are a spectacular side to start with. Baked beans, a fresh garden salad, and fresh corn on the cob are some other sides I regularly prepare with my smoked spiral ham.

I also love making an apple-based dessert - usually apple crisp and ice cream - to wash it all down. Apples and pork are the perfect pairing.

Spiral smoked ham is an eye-popping, visual feast (and actual feast). You'll want to nail the sides you'll be serving with the sliced ham.

How to Store Leftovers?

Smoked ham should last for 3-4 days in the fridge - discard if it smells funny or if it starts to look slimy.

Freeze anything you won't eat in 3-4 days. Frozen smoked ham should keep for at least six months, but it'll taste best within three months.

How Long to Smoke a Spiral Ham?

People are always asking me, "How long does it take to smoke a spiral ham?" Not long, I promise! Figure around 15-20 minutes per pound, or around 2 hours for an 8-pound ham.

Trust me. The smoking process will transform the ham into the tastiest pig you've ever eaten. My recipe works on whatever smoker you've got so that delicious smoke flavor will work its way into every bite.

The leftovers also make for some easy meals like sandwiches that you'll love to eat. (Slather mine with mustard, please.)

Is a Smoked Spiral Ham Fully Cooked?

Yes, smoked spiral ham is typically cooked fully cooked. You could eat pre-cooked ham cold right out of the bag, but it's better to warm, and it's unbelievably tender, porky goodness when it's been double-smoked.

How Do You Heat Smoked Spiral Ham?

I use my smoker - double-smoked ham may be the best ham you've ever tasted. There's so much flavor from the smoke and the salty pork. Once it's glazed with my bourbon and maple syrup mix, it is next level.

You may see instructions on the spiral hams' packaging that say to heat at 325°F. Disregard this. 325°F will leave your ham dry and pitiful. Cook it at 225°F on your smoker for best results.

No smoker? No problem. You can smoke ham on a grill or even in your oven. Baste the ham with my glaze and cook the ham at 225°F. The ham is already cooked, so you're just reheating it.

Honey Glazed Baked Ham

How Do You Reheat Smoked Spiral Ham for Leftovers?

In the (unlikely) event that you've got some leftovers, you can use your oven (set it to 225°F) to heat up the ham. Your microwave is another option, as is on the stove in a cast iron skillet.

Want to triple-smoke that ham? Stick it on your smoker and reheat it with a third blast of smoke. Now we're cooking.

Double Smoked Ham: Your New Go-To

There you have it, everything you need to know to make a flavorful dish that will leave your guests howling for more. Make one serve alongside your Thanksgiving turkey, and I promise you'll be hosting for the holidays every year. If you've got to feed a crowd, grab two spiral hams and double the glaze.

Remember - smoke the ham at 225° for around 2 hours if it's 8 pounds, and hit it with my glaze for that extra blast of sweetness. It's my favorite way to make double-smoked ham, and I hope you get as much joy from the dish as I do. Mastering the art of smoking spiral ham is fun and easy - give it a try. You'll be glad you did.

By John Smits
John bought his first home in 2012 and bought his first grill shortly afterward: the ubiquitous Weber kettle grill. He’s been hooked since the first time he fired up some coals. Now, after over a decade spent making countless delicious meals, John is a passionate advocate for live-fire cooking.
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