Looking to impress holiday guests with a succulent and flavor-packed main course? Or maybe just preparing a weekend meal that will provide plenty of versatile leftovers during the week? A bone-in ham is the perfect choice. And this “Ultimate Ham” recipe from AmazingRibs.com is just that – the best we’ve EVER had.
If you’re like many, you shy away from cooking ham because after following the directions on the label you found yourself with a dry, unpalatable mess. Throw those instructions away and break out the grill! The “Ultimate Ham” is cooked low ‘n slow to hold on to moisture and pick up some additional smoky flavor and seared at the end for the perfect finishing touch.
Selection & Prep
Most of the bone-in hams you’ll find in the market are “wet-cured” meaning they have been injected with a brine of salt and other flavors and pre-cooked. Many of these are the shrink-wrapped or foil-wrapped varieties you’ll see in the meat case. Pre-packaged whole hams or spiral sliced ones are ready to go right out of the package and will work equally well in this recipe. If you are able to find ham from a local source, make sure the skin and fat have been removed so flavors can make their way directly into the meat during the cook. The thin skin/rind with no fat under it is OK. We’re talking about a thick layer of skin/fat. If it looks like something guests would cut away and never eat, you want to trim it away.
To glaze or not to glaze:
Salty hams pair well with a sweet glaze to help round out the flavor. This is why you’ll see many packaged hams come with a pre-prepared glaze. For a real treat, toss that packet of glaze and pair your ham with Chris Lilly’s Spicy Apricot Glaze. It’s a well-balanced blend of sweet, savory, and spicy that goes so well with ham. It’s not critical to the success of the cook to use it, if you choose not to glaze. Your ham will still be delicious!
Set up the Slow ‘N Sear for a low ‘n slow cook (225–250 F). If desired, add a chunk of smoke wood to add some fresh smoke flavor. If cooking a spiral-sliced ham, give it a good spritz with water to ensure it stays moist. Place the ham on the indirect side of the grill, flat side down, and cook for 30 minutes.
While the ham is picking up some delicious smoke flavor, prepare the liquid for the upcoming wrap. Take 1 cup of chicken broth and combine it with 4 Tbsp of glaze. Warm in a saucepan until the glaze is dissolved. Set aside.
At the 30 minute mark, it’s time to wrap the ham:
- Tear off about 5′ of aluminum foil, if you have double strength, that’s better.
- Fold it in half to make it about 2 1/2′ in length.
- Take the ham off the grill, place the flat side on the foil making sure you don’t puncture the foil with the bone.
- Pour 1/2 of the broth mixture over the meat and seal the meat and broth mixture in the foil making it look like a giant candy kiss.
- Crimp the seams tight. We don’t want any steam escaping or broth leaking. This technique helps it cook faster by generating a little steam, which penetrates faster than dry heat, and keeps the meat moist.
Just in case there are any leaks, place your ham inside a roasting pan (or use the Drip ‘N Griddle Pan). Place the ham back on the indirect side of the grill. Insert your leave-in temperature probe through the foil, being careful to make sure you’re above the liquid level, until you’re about 1” away from the bone. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 130 F, about 2 hours give-or-take depending on the size of your ham.
If you’re choosing to glaze, now’s the time to give the ham a good coat. With the ham remaining on the grill, carefully loosen the foil to expose the ham taking care not to lose any of the juices inside the wrap. Generously apply about 1 cup of glaze to the surface of the ham, then put the lid back on the kettle and let the glaze set for about 10 minutes.
Once the glaze has set, baste the ham well with the juices in the foil before carefully removing the pan with the ham from the grill. Remove the ham from the foil and collect the juices into a saucepan; keep warm for serving.
The last step is to give the ham a quick all-over finishing sear to caramelize the sugars in the glaze and develop additional flavor. Use the Cold Grate Technique to sear the ham for 45-60 seconds per section before spinning the grate to expose a cold section over the coals and searing the next side (you do not need to sear the exposed, cut, flat side of the ham). Be careful, searing will go quickly! Don’t leave the ham on too long or the sugars will burn.
After searing, let the ham rest a few minutes before slicing. Top the ham with the saved sauce from earlier and enjoy!
- Most store-bought hams are “wet-cured” and precooked
- Warm the meat low & slow at 225 F
- Smoke 30 minutes uncovered for fresh smoke flavor
- Tightly wrap in foil in a “broth bath” to maintain moisture for the remainder of the cook
- Cook to 140 F. Glaze, if desired.
- A final Cold Grate sear provides a delicious caramelized surface