How to Smoke a Fresh Ham: 6 Steps


The holidays are just around the corner, and many people have begun to prepare for Thanksgiving. One of the most popular dishes served at this time of year is smoked ham.

Smoking fresh ham is an art that takes patience and determination. It can be very intimidating for some to take on this process, but the results are well worth it.

If you’re looking for a foolproof way to smoke your ham, follow these six steps.

Step 1: Prepare the Pork

The first step to smoking fresh ham is preparing it. Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to remove any excess fat around the ham’s “eye” and rind, which you can discard.

Be sure not to cut away too much of this layer, as it will help keep your smoked ham juicy during cooking.

Next, pat the ham dry with a paper towel. This will help remove excess surface moisture, making it difficult for your smoked ham’s rub and glaze to adhere properly.

Step 2: Season The Pork

Once you’ve prepared the pork, you’re ready to season it. Most people use brown sugar or molasses when they want to season their ham, but you can feel free to use whatever is your favorite.

It’s important not to reduce the amount of salt when adding sugar or molasses, as this will make it difficult for your smoked ham’s glaze and rubs to properly adhere during cooking.

Step 3: Place The Pork In Your Smoker

Your next step is to place the pork in your smoker. Many people find that their best-smoked hams come from a vertical smoker, evenly distributing heat and smoke over the meat as it cooks.

Place the ham on its side with any skin side up or inverted during cooking to get even coloration all around. Cook the ham at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit for around one hour and 45 minutes per pound.

You will want to check the internal temperature of your smoked ham with an accurate meat thermometer, as this can be how you know when it’s done cooking.

Step 4: Baste The Pork While It Cooks

While your pork is smoking, you need to baste it regularly. Basting is an important step as this will help the pork’s glaze, and rubs adhere properly, while also keeping your meat moist on its surface.

You can use any liquid you like for this process, but some prefer apple juice or even water mixed with lemon juice instead of a sweet glaze.

Step 5: Allow The Pork To Rest Afterwards

After smoking your ham, you need to let it rest until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that all of its juices are redistributed throughout the meat before slicing and serving.

If you’re pressed for time, some people find that they can speed up this process by placing the pork in an ice bath. This will chill it quickly, allowing you to serve your smoked ham within about 20 minutes.

Step 6: Slice And Serve Your Smoked Ham

Once the pork has been cooked, sliced, and served, there’s only one thing left to do – enjoy!

A good way to guarantee that you’ll be able to do this is by keeping the rest of your meal simple.

Pairing it with a green salad and some roasted potatoes will also help you maximize flavor while minimizing effort, allowing you to enjoy yourself more on Thanksgiving day.

What are the Best Side Dishes to Serve With Ham?

You can’t have a good ham without some good sides.

Below is a list of the best ones to serve with your ham:

  • Mashed potatoes: Mash potatoes as usual and then add some butter, milk, salt, and pepper until they’re the right thickness. Add some chopped parsley if you want.
  • Rice: Put cooked rice and water into a pot on the stove and let them simmer. You can also add butter, salt, and pepper to make it taste better. This goes well with the smoked ham because of its salty taste.
  • Cranberry sauce: Cranberry sauce is perfect for this time of year because it’s refreshing and goes well with almost dishes. Just take some cranberries and pour them into a pot. Add sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange zest until the sauce is thick. Let it simmer for longer if you want it thicker than this.
  • Macaroni salad: This dish goes well with ham because of its creamy flavor. Combine cooked macaroni noodles with mayonnaise, salt, and pepper to taste. If you want it creamier, add more mayo; if you want it less creamy, use less. You can also throw in some chopped celery or pickles for an added crunch.
  • Green bean casserole: Green beans are a great side dish because they go well with any dish and are very healthy. This recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup, fried onions, milk, green beans, and soy sauce if you want a bit more flavor.
  • Cornbread: Cornbread is great because it goes well with any barbecue sauce dish. You must mix up some self-rising cornmeal, milk, and eggs in a bowl. Pour it into a greased pan at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.


The holidays are just around the corner, and many people have begun to prepare for Thanksgiving. One of the most popular dishes served at this time of year is smoked ham. If you’re looking for a foolproof way to smoke your ham, follow the six steps above.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long To Smoke A Fresh Ham Per Pound?

When it comes to smoking ham, the general rule is to allow 30 minutes per pound of meat. This smoking time does not include the additional time needed to brine or cure the ham.

A freshly smoked ham will have a delicious flavor and the perfect smoky aroma. Half hams weigh around 10 lbs, while whole hams can be up to 20 lbs. Remember that the cooking time will vary depending on the size and type of smoker used.

For best results, use an electric smoker. When smoking ham, the most important thing is maintaining an even temperature throughout the cooking process.

This will ensure that the meat is cooked evenly and stays moist. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the ham before serving.

How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Ham in a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker?

A Masterbuilt electric smoker is a powerful option for smoking holiday hams. It can smoke about 7-8 pounds of ham at one time and can also smoke turkeys, ham-and-cheese sandwiches, and bread.

According to the company’s website, the smoke will take approximately three hours to smoke a 7-8 pound ham fully. The smoking process will take about 4 hours for the same amount of weight.

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.