Double Smoked Ham
My Big Green Egg has missed me over the last few weeks! Sorry for the radio silence here on the blog. But I came back with a bang last weekend.
We entertained a crowd Saturday night. The centerpiece of the evening was a Double Smoked Ham.
I settled on the double smoked ham after spending hours scouring the internet for inspiration. I wanted a non-poultry solution for feeding the masses. The double smoked ham caught my eye as unique and flavorful dish. It’s also relatively low stress. Since the ham is already cooked before you start, you don’t have to worry about killing anyone by undercooking. I like the freedom to err on the side of moist and tender when cooking for a large group.
The basic concept is simple. You start with a pre-smoked ham. You inject it to increase moisture then smoke it for about five hours, glazing it at the end to finish it off. My method and recipe was adapted from Dr. Chicken’s method (Google it, everyone seems to repost this same recipe).
I bought a full-sized ham with the shank. I’ve become a big believer in buying the “whole cut.” I always get a full pork shoulder rather than a partial cut. With my under-educated eye I worry that I’m ending up with an inferior portion of the cut if I don’t buy the whole thing.
I sliced the thick skin to allow for better smoke penetration. I left the underside alone. Next came the fun part – my first foray into injections.
(Yes, even in December I sometimes have to strip down a little when I’m grilling hard. It is California, after all!)
The recipe for the injection is below. I made a single recipe of the injection. It seemed to be the right amount for my 21 pound ham. Dr. Chicken suggests wrapping the ham in plastic wrap prior to injecting. I didn’t do that for two reasons. First, I was worried about punching the plastic deep into the ham. Second, I didn’t see the point. The ham will be sitting on the grill for hours, leaking away, right? In the end I did place foil under the ham. Maybe I’ll do that from the start next time.
I placed a drip pan filled with orange juice and water under the ham. After prepping the grill for smoking at 225, I loaded the ham onto the Big Green Egg.
Incidentally, I had to place the ham directly on the grill – it was too big to use the rack!
The ham smoked away contentedly until it reached an internal temperature of 120 degrees. Then I applied the first layer of glaze.
I was surprised to see how much the meat swelled under the skin. What would have happened if I hadn’t slit the skin?!? I also wonder whether I should have placed the meat skin down to retain even more moisture. That probably would have prevented smoke penetration, though. In the end I’m happy with my method. I simply carved off the top layer of skin and fat prior to serving.
But I digress. As noted above, I applied the first glaze at 120 degrees internal. I applied another layer when the meat reached 127. I pulled the ham at 135 degrees and wrapped it immediately in a double layer of heavy-duty foil. The ham sat for about an hour before I carved it. During that time it should have risen above 140 degrees internal temperature.
I was really happy with the final product – and so were our guests. Of course I didn’t get any pictures as I carved. It’s too hard to pull out the camera when the game is on the line. But here’s a shot of our leftovers.
The method gets it done, but the flavor comes from Dr. Chicken’s injection and glaze. Here’s my slightly modified version.
1 cup water, 1 cup light Karo syrup, 1/8 cup plus 2 tbsp amaretto, 1 tbsp rum extract, 2 tbsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp orange juice concentrate
Heat water, Karo syrup, and amaretto over low heat. Stir frequently to avoid scortching. Add remaining ingredients and heat until uniform in color. Remove from heat and allow to cool to almost room temperature. Inject in a grid pattern throughout the ham.
1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup, 1/4 cup honey, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp instant coffee granules, 1 tbsp dry ground mustard, 2 tbsp orange juice concentrate
Blend all ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat until well combined. Prepare immediately prior to use.