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Spiral-Sliced Ham

Originally posted: 03/01/2002
Last updated: 09/24/2014

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Summary

  • Buy a spiral-sliced half ham labeled "ham with natural juices".
  • Smoke at 225-250°F to an internal temperature of 120°F.
  • Use a mild fruit smoke wood, and go easy on the amount of wood used.
Spiral-sliced ham ready for the smoker
Spiral-sliced ham ready for the smoker
 
Spiral-sliced ham with potatoes, corn, and apple sauce
Spiral-sliced ham with potatoes, corn, and apple sauce
 

Spiral-sliced hams are a popular choice not only during the holidays, but any time of year. These hams are convenient to serve because they're pre-sliced and "ready to eat", and their quality is usually quite good because most are a "ham with natural juices" product instead of the lesser quality "ham with water added" product.

Here are some pictures I took on June 4, 2006 when I prepared this ham.

As always...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.


No Preparation Required

Spiral-sliced ham in packaging
Photo 1
Ham face down on foil-lined pan
Photo 2
     

These photos shows a Cook's Spiral-Sliced Honey Ham. It's a shank end, ready-to-eat half ham with natural juices, weighing 9.55 pounds.

There's absolutely no prep involved with a ham like this one, nor does it have to sit at room temperature before heating. Just remove the packaging and it's ready to go into the WSM.

Place the ham face down on a foil-lined pan that will fit on the top cooking grate in the WSM. This prevents the slices from separating and even falling off the bone during heating.

To learn more about the various types of ham and ham terminology, visit the Ham Selection & Preparation page.

Fire The WSM

Two chunks of dry apple smoke wood
Photo 3
       

Fire-up the WSM using the Standard Method, using enough fuel to run the cooker at 225-250°F for 3-4 hours. About 1-1/2 chimneys of charcoal briquettes should be sufficient.

When the coals are well lit, assemble the cooker, add cold water to the water pan, and place a small amount of smoke wood on the fire. Remember, these hams already have smoke flavor added, so go extremely light on the smoke wood. Mild woods like cherry, apple, oak or combinations of these work nicely with ham.

I used two small chunks of dry apple wood, as shown in Photo 3.

Heat The Ham

Ham goes into the WSM
Photo 4
       

Place the ham on the top cooking grate.

Start with all bottom vents closed and the top vent wide open. When the cooker drops into the 225-250°F range, begin opening the bottom vents slightly to maintain this temperature. Leave the top vent wide open during the entire cooking process.

Heat the ham at 225-250°F to an internal temperature of 120°F. There's no cooking involved here...remember, a ready-to-eat ham is already fully cooked, so you're just heating the ham to serving temperature. This may seem like a low finished temperature, but anything much higher risks drying out the edges of the ham slices.

There's no need to turn the ham during heating, but you can baste it occasionally, if you like. Just for fun, I basted this ham at the start and again every hour with a 2:1 mixture of Martinelli's Premium Apple Juice and Maker's Mark Whisky.

Here's how the cooker and meat temperatures went for this ham.

Time Lid Temp Meat Temp Vent 1 % Vent 2 % Vent 3 %
3:08pm(b) - - 0 0 0
3:40pm 280 41 0 0 0
4:00pm 240 41 0 0 0
4:15pm 215 44 50 0 0
4:30pm(b) 218 48 50 50 0
4:45pm 225 57 50 50 50
5:00pm 225 64 50 50 50
5:15pm 225 71 50 50 50
5:30pm(b) 225 78 100 100 50
5:45pm 215 87 100 100 100
6:00pm 213 95 100 100 100
6:15pm 211 100 100 100 100
6:30pm(b) 205 104 100 100 100
6:45pm 200 113 100 100 100
7:00pm 205 118 100 100 100
7:23pm 200 120 100 100 100
(b) basted ham

Note that the vent percentages represent the way I set the vents at the time indicated.

Serve The Ham

Ham after heating in WSM
Photo 5
Ready to remove slices from face of ham
Photo 6
Spiral-sliced ham with potatoes, corn, and apple sauce
Photo 7
   

When the ham reaches an internal temperature of 120°F, it's ready to serve. Tips for carving a spiral-sliced ham can be found on the Ham Selection & Preparation page.

Photos 5-6 show the finished ham. Photo 7 shows how I served it with barbecue seasoned potatoes, cut corn, and apple sauce.

Make It Sweet, Turn Up The Heat

Looking for a sweet and spicy ham? In the book Dr. BBQ's Big-Time Barbecue Road Trip!, Ray Lampe has a recipe for Smoked Ham Kansas City Style (p. 22) that follows a similar process to the one described above, but rubs the ham with a mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, then heats it to 160°F internal temperature using oak as the smoke wood.

More Ham Links On TVWB

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