Bourbon Smoked Ham with Molasses Glaze


Fresh ham is outstanding when smoked and finished on the grill. The cut is the same one used to make the cured ham we are so familiar with, but it is really more of a pork roast when prepared in this fashion. You may have to special order this, referred to as fresh ham or pork leg. This recipe calls for half of a leg, and we prefer the shank end, although we have used the butt with very good results. Begin one day ahead; brining is essential. Ham goes well with Gratin of Celery Root and Potato.
1 bone-in shank-end fresh ham, 8 to 10-kb (4kg), skinned, with fat left on

1 gallon water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup table salt
1/2 cup bourbon whiskey
10 whole cloves
20 black peppercorns

2 teaspoons Mark's Rub
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika

smoker bath
5 cups water
2 cups red wine
1 onion, quartered (no need to peel)

smoking - use chunks of wood, not thin chips used for grilling
1 quart Apple wood chunks
1 pint Hickory wood chunks

1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Prepare brine: In a deep pot large enough to hold the ham, add 2 cups of water with sugar, honey, and salt. Place over high heat and stir occasionally until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat, then add rest of water, bourbon, cloves, and peppercorns. (If you are in a hurry, use ice cubes with water). When brine is room temperature, add ham to pot, adding more water if necessary to cover meat. Cover pot, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

2 Drain ham, pat dry and allow to sit at room temperature for at least one hour. Mix together the rub ingredients, then coat the ham with the rub.

3 Place smoking chips in water at least 1/2 hour before needed.

4 Preheat smoker (other methods in note below). Put all smoker bath ingredients in smoker bowl and place in smoker.

5 Place ham on smoker rack, fatty side up, over bath drip pan. Add a few chunks of apple wood and a bit of hickory. Don't over-smoke - just add chips every 45 minutes or so. Smoke for about 3 to 4 hours. Meat may not be thoroughly cooked, but you will finish the cooking process on the grill. A meat thermometer should register 130° to 135° when inserted into the middle.

6 While ham is smoking, prepare glaze by heating glaze ingredients over moderate heat or microwaving them until easily blended.

7 Remove ham from smoker. Put on preheated grill for 20 to 30 minutes. Brush ham with glaze, then turn several times, brushing with glaze each time.

8 Transfer cooked ham to a platter and cover loosely with foil. Let stand 20 minutes or so before carving.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 12 Servings
Notes NOTE We first learned smoking using a Brinkman electric smoker - a vertical cooker that is reliable, inexpensive, and easy to use. You can often find these at garage sales, as many friends have done. To convert your gas grill to a smoker, there are a number of methods on the web that generally involve a smoker box and low heat.

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