How to Grill a Ham
Many people are too afraid to grill massive cuts of meat such as ham. However, with the right guidance, hams can be quite easy to grill. Besides that, if you grill ham, you will free up oven space for side dishes. However, you will need to pay close attention to these instructions if you want to get it right. It will no doubt take longer to grill a large chunk of meat like ham, but it will be worth it. We’ve already talked about how to smoke a ham, but today, it’s all about grilling!
If you think that ham is delicious, wait until you try grilled ham. Also called double smoked ham, I find that its smoky flavor becomes enhanced when it is placed on a grill. After you season and glaze it, the ham will be the center price of your table. Here are some useful instructions on the tools you need and the steps to follow if you want to get it right:
What you will need to follow this tutorial:
- Precooked ham with a seasoning packet (about 14lb)
- Aluminum foil
- A large enough grill to cook the ham
- Seasoning spices
- Sugar-based glaze
Step by step instructions
1. Pick the Right Ham
When going to the store to get ham, pick ham that has not been there for too long. It is thus essential to check the date when the pork came to the store. You should only pick ham that looks fresh to you, even when it is cooked. Choose pork that comes with a seasoning packet. Do not buy ham that has already been rubbed down with spices and sugar.
It will allow you to control the flavor and get it hot enough without burning the surface. Once you unpack the ham, ensure that the slices remain stacked, and it is compact. You may cut off any hanging pieces but otherwise, leave your ham intact. Remember that you want to pick cooked ham only. There is uncooked ham at the store, but that is not what you want if you are grilling ham.
2. Place the Ham on a Rotisserie Skewer
The rotisseries skewer is a great way to keep the ham roasted evenly. However, this can be a significant challenge even with the best of ham picks. Running this skewer through the bone in ham requires patience and a delicate touch. You will also need to do some significant counterbalancing. If you had chosen a spiral cut ham, this task could seem almost impossible.
When you do eventually manage to place the entire thing on your rod, there is a good chance that some slices will begin to fall off as soon as the meat loses its chill. However, the chances that you will find affordable uncut ham are quite low. Thus, you should choose to cook it up a bone in without the skewer to make things easy.
3. Smoke the Ham
On a charcoal grill, this will be quite easy. However, I have found that you can still do this on a gas grill. To achieve this, you will need some wood chips soaked in water. You will then wrap them in some aluminum and then place them on your grill, close to your ham.
4. Grill the Ham
During grilling, you will need to ensure that the ham remains moist. If the pork dries out, it will become leathery and chewy. If you picked spiral cut ham, the goal would be to keep these slices packed together as close as possible. You will also need to keep them away from a direct flame.
If you want to avoid the ends of your ham drying out, ensure that the cut side of the pork is placed facing down on the aluminum foil. It helps to keep the ham moist while exposing its skin to the heat of the grill.
Ensure that the ham is over indirect heat at all times. That will mean you shut off all burners below the ham. If you are using a charcoal grill, ensure there are no burning coals below your grill.
5. Watch the Temperature
The best way to keep the ham moist and the flavors intact is to keep the temperature low. It is especially crucial if you will be using a sugar-based glaze. Keep in mind that sugar will burn at 265 degrees F. If it goes beyond this temperature, your ham is going to be ruined.
To avoid this issue, always set the temperature of your grill at 250 degrees F. The ham will be ready to eat from the store. Thus there is no need to hit high temperatures to make it safe for consumption.
These instructions are for a typical ham. If you have fresh pork, you will need to cook it first at about 160 degrees F before you can place it on your grill.
There are several ways to heat ham. The most common practice is to roast pork at 325 degrees F for about 20 minutes for every pound of ham and about 25 minutes for every pound for a half ham. If your harm has to be cooked before you eat it, then you had better start with a high temperature.
If you are using spiral cut hams, they cook much faster as the heat goes through the cuts. For such ham, you can prepare at about 15 minutes for every pound. In my case, I will concentrate on heating the ham through and getting a good crust. In most cases, I will not care too much about it final internal temperature.
6. Baste the Ham
As the ham cooks, you will need to baste it to add the flavor, while at the same time creating the foundation on which to place the crusty top. The main word of warning that I have for you is to use moderate amounts of sugar to start. However, if you are grilling at below 265 degrees F, you do not have to worry.
However, if you use a higher temperature than 265F, you will either need to lower the temperature or wait until the end of your grilling to add sugar. In my case, even when grilling at low temperatures and slowly, I prefer to wait to add sugar until the very end. However, I will continue basting my ham until just about 30 minutes. You can baste ham using fruit juice, beer, wine, jam, or preserves.
Personally, I use:
- A cup of orange juice
- ¼ cup of sugar
- Cinnamon and ground cloves- 2 spoons each
- A teaspoon of nutmeg
During the cooking process, baste several times. Apply the last coating at about 30 minutes to the end of your grilling.
7. Sugaring Your Ham
The basting is essential for maintaining the surface of the ham moist. Now you need to start applying sugar to the skin of your pork. It is done in the last 30 minutes of grilling ham. If your harm has been grilling at more than 265F, you need to drop this temperature.
Keep in mind that if you apply a thick layer of sugar to the hot ham, the sugar will melt and this will create a hard shell once you take it off the grill. Just pat the sugar onto your ham gently to get it to form a nice crust. If you do not want the surface to be sweet, you can cut back on the amount of sugar you use. In some cases, you may even avoid the sugar if you do not like it.
Ensure you choose a quality “raw” sugar such as Turbinado or Demerara. These sugars have large crystals, which stick perfectly to the surface, thus creating the thick crust you want. Once you are done applying the sugar, let the ham continue to cook until it is ready. Ensure that there are at least 15 minutes between the last sugar and the time you take your pork off the grill. It will allow the sugar to have formed a crust.
After you are done grilling the ham, take it off your grill. As the pork cools, the sugar will continue to harden and stick to your ham better. However, while the pork is still hot, it will wipe off with ease. Let the ham cool for about 15 minutes before you curve it and serve it.
Did you enjoy this useful list of how to grill ham? If you have been having reservations about grilling such a massive cut of meat, this tutorial is just what you needed. These are the steps that I always use to grill my ham, and I always get consistent results. If you follow every instruction that I have included in the tutorial, you will also get satisfying results like me. However, nothing is set in stone; you are free to experiment with the instructions and see where it goes. Do you have any opinion about this tutorial? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below. Your feedback is always welcome. Make sure you share it with your friends if you like it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does it Take to Grill a Ham?
Ham should take about 15 to 20 minutes per pound of ham. This is assuming that you are using a precooked ham and cooking it between 225 to 250 degrees F. Most hams weigh in the 8-pound range, so this size ham would take about 2 to 3 hours to be fully heated through.
What is a Cured Ham?
A cured ham is a fully cooked hind quarter of a pig. It is brined before being smoked or cooked at low temperatures. Since it is fully cooked, you only need to heat it through before you eat it.
What Temperature Should You Grill a Ham?
Most hams are already pre-cooked, so you don’t want to cook it at too high of a temperature. High temperatures will cause the ham to dry out and become burned or overcooked on the outside. If you keep your grill at 225 to 250 degrees F, your ham should take about 3 hours to cook and will be perfectly juicy.
Should You Grill a Ham on a Gas or Charcoal Grill?
Any type of grill will work for cooking a ham. If you use a gas grill with propane or natural gas, you may find it easier to control the temperature. Using a charcoal grill can impart a slightly more smoky flavor to the ham from the briquettes.
How Do You Glaze a Glaze for Ham?
Ham glazes are made with brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. They are usually combined with apple juice or water to make them easier to apply. Glazing the ham by brushing or spritzing it every hour will make a sweet coating over the ham. This is recommended, especially when grilling, so you protect the ham from drying out.