Sunday, March 28, 2010
A lot of folks are scared to grill larger cuts of meat, but hams are (or can be) super easy to grill or smoke. They just take longer, but the wait is worth it. And, you free up the oven for side dishes when you do the ham on the grill.
What Kind of Ham Do You Grill?
You can grill any ham on a grill. But, a pre-cooked ham is going to be easier, since you do not have to worry about actually cooking the ham. An uncooked grilled ham is great too especially if you have plenty of time.
Most families do pre-cooked hams for holidays anyway, so taking that idea, just get your favorite ham that you would usually buy. The one you see in my photo is a Hormel boneless ham. But, I switch around depending on the sales.
What Kind of Grill Do You Use to Cook a Ham Outdoors?
Basically, any grill (other than really small tailgate models) will handle a ham. You can use a charcoal grill like the Weber Kettle which is very popular, a gas grill, or a smoker.
How Do You Set Up to Grill or Smoke a Ham?
With a large piece of meat like a ham, you want indirect heat. Otherwise, you burn the outside and the ham has cold spots in the middle (or uncooked spots if you use an uncooked ham).
To get indirect heat on a grill, offset the heat. With charcoal, just push them over to one side. With gas, heat burners on one side but not the other.
Then, the ham goes on the side that does not have direct heat.
In either case, you grill with the lid down on the grill which is a convection method or rather like baking your ham in the oven. With charcoal grills, you will need to keep vents open to keep some air flow, or the coals will go out. With gas, no worries (unless you run out of gas).
Getting Some Smoke to the Ham
If you use a charcoal grill or a smoker with wood or charcoal, then you get the smoke flavor. With gas, just put some water soaked wood chips in a little aluminum wrap and put that on the grill beside the ham.
Adding Some Flavor to the Grilled Ham
The fun part is seasoning the grilled ham.
You can use the flavor pack and follow the directions, since many hams come with such packs, but I prefer to do my own seasonings and glazes.
I like to start first with just a little seasoning sprinkle like Pig Pen's seasoning which I just added to my OpenSky grill store.
Then, I like to mix some honey, brown sugar, and apple juice. Yes. This is messy. But, it is good. And, no, I do not really measure. I just work up a paste that will rub on. Then, I put some of that on the ham and then often add more off and on as the meat is grilling.
Keeping the Grilled Ham Moist
Depending on the grill temperature and other things, the ham can start to get a bit dry.
To take care of that problem, I just have some apple juice in a spray bottle and spritz the barbecue ham every 20 minutes or so.
How Long Do You Grill a Ham?
It is impossible to give an exact cooking time for a grilled ham, since everyone uses different grills and different types and sizes of hams.
On my Hormel ham above, it went around an hour and half in a Traeger pellet grill. In most cases, my hams stay on the grill or smoker from that time to up to 2 hours. The key really is just to get it heated through for an un-cooked ham. So, if you get your grill anyone close 350 degrees F, then that will give you a general idea.
With dedicated smokers like the Smokey Mountain Bullet which is fabulous, the temperatures are often lower, so more time may be needed to get the meat fully heated. Plan for, at least, two hours. But, you sure get some great smoke flavor.
When the Ham Comes Off the Grill or Smoker
Once I pull a grilled ham off the grill or smoker, I wrap it up in aluminum foil. That keeps it warm and lets the flavors settle in. And, then, I can work on the other parts of the meal.