How to Smoke a Cured Ham on a Pellet Grill

How to Smoke a Cured Ham on a Pellet Grill: Perfect Flavor!


To smoke a cured ham on a pellet grill, preheat it to 250°F and smoke it for about 3 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F. Using a pellet grill to smoke a cured ham offers convenience and flavor, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate low-and-slow cooking but want the simplicity of temperature control.

With the pellet grill’s consistent heat and the savory wood smoke accentuating the ham’s natural flavors, this cooking method transforms a simple cured ham into a celebratory centerpiece. Seasoned with your choice of glaze or smoked, it provides a succulent dish embodying home-cooked comfort.

Smoking ham on a pellet grill is straightforward and yields delicious results, making it a go-to technique for both novice and experienced grill masters.

How to Smoke a Cured Ham on a Pellet Grill: Perfect Flavor! 

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Selecting The Right Ham

Smoking a cured ham on a pellet grill transforms an already delicious cut of pork into a savory masterpiece. The key to achieving that perfect blend of smoke and flavor starts with selecting the right ham. Let’s walk through the essentials.

Types of Cured Ham

Types Of Cured Ham

Understanding the different types of cured ham is the first step. Here are the most common ones:

  • City Ham: Also known as wet-cured, it often comes fully cooked and ready to heat.
  • Country Ham: Dry-cured, with a bolder flavor, usually requires soaking before cooking.
  • Speck: Smoked for a robust taste, it brings a unique twist to your meal.
Choosing the Size and Cut

Choosing The Size And Cut

Size and cut influence cooking time and flavor. Consider these factors:

Ham Type Size Range Best For
Shank End 3–5 lbs Bolder Flavor
Butt End 5–8 lbs Leaner Meat
Whole Ham 10–20 lbs Big Gatherings

For a small family dinner, a shank or butt end is ideal. For larger parties, opt for a whole ham. Remember, the larger the ham, the longer the smoking time. Always ensure it fits your pellet grill.

Understanding Pellet Grills

Welcome to the smoky world of pellet grills. Pellet grills are outdoor cookers that combine elements of charcoal smokers, gas grills, and kitchen ovens. They use wood pellets made from compressed sawdust as fuel, which adds distinct flavors to your meats. Let’s dive deeper and understand how these innovative grills work and why they might be your best ally in smoking a cured ham.

The Mechanics Of Pellet Grills

Pellet grills have a unique system that automates the cooking process.

  • Wood pellets are the primary fuel that provides a clean burn.
  • Storage Hopper: This is where you load the pellets.
  • Auger: It moves pellets into the fire pot.
  • Fire Pot: Ignites the pellets, creating heat and smoke.
  • Fan: Circulates air, maintaining temperature.
  • Electronic Control: Set and maintain desired temps.

The pellet grill’s automated feeding system and consistent temperatures make it perfect for smoking. Set it and forget it, while the grill does the heavy lifting.

Advantages Of Smoking With Pellet Grills

Smoking with a pellet grill offers several benefits:

  • Precision Temperature Control: Maintain your temperature within a few degrees.
  • Convenience: Simple start-up and cleaning process.
  • Versatility: Grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, or BBQ.
  • Flavor Variety: Wide range of pellet flavors for any taste.

Even cooking is guaranteed, and there is no need to monitor constantly. The pellet grill ensures a delectable, smoky flavor for smoking ham while keeping the process straightforward and enjoyable.

Prepping Your Ham For Smoking

Prepping your ham for smoking is both an art and a science. It transforms a simple piece of meat into a smoky delight. Let’s embark on this culinary adventure by prepping a cured ham to perfection on a pellet grill.

Trimming The Fat

Before rubbing seasonings and flavors onto your ham, you should trim the fat. Ideally, you want a thin layer left to retain moisture and enhance the flavor. Follow these steps to cut your ham efficiently:

  • Locate the fat layer on your ham’s surface.
  • Use a sharp knife to gently slice away excess fat.
  • Leave about 1/4-inch of fat to help capture that smoky goodness.

Applying The Dry Rub

With your ham trimmed, it’s time to apply the dry rub. A good rub infuses your ham with flavors that will blossom in the smoke. To apply a dry rub:

  1. Mix your favorite spices in a bowl.
  2. Pat the ham dry with paper towels.
  3. Generously massage the rub onto the ham, covering all sides.
  4. Let the ham sit with the rub for at least an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Setting Up The Pellet Grill

Embarking on your smoke-infused cooking journey begins with one critical step: setting up your pellet grill correctly. Knowing how to set up your grill is the foundation of creating that perfectly smoked cured ham. Let’s walk through the essentials, from choosing the best pellets to preheating the grill for optimal smoky goodness.

Choosing The Pellets For Flavor

The flavor starts with the right choice of pellets. Pellets are the soul of your smoke. They will imbue your ham with deep, rich flavors. Consider the following wood types for your ham:

  • Hickory: Offers a strong, bacon-like flavor.
  • Apple: Produces a sweet, fruity smoke.
  • Cherry: Gives a mild, sweet, and fruity taste.
  • Maple: Imparts a subtle, sweet flavor.

Many pitmasters recommend a blend of these pellets for a balanced taste. Be sure to pick premium-quality, 100% natural hardwood pellets for the best results.

Preheating The Grill

Now, it’s time to preheat your pellet grill. Just like preheating an oven, this step is vital. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Turn on the grill.
  2. Set the temperature to 225°F (107°C) for slow smoking.
  3. Close the lid.
  4. Let the grill preheat for about 15 minutes.
  5. Look for the smoke to thin out, indicating it’s ready.

Once preheated, the grill is the perfect stage for your cured ham to become a smoky masterpiece.

Mastering The Smoking Process

Are you ready to elevate your culinary skills and dive into the world of smoking meats? Smoking a cured ham on a pellet grill can transform your meal from ordinary to extraordinary. With attention to detail and a touch of patience, the flavors you’ll unlock will be well worth the effort. Let’s get you smoking like a pro and ensure that your next smoked ham is a delectable masterpiece.

Optimal Smoking Temperatures

To begin, finding the right balance of heat is crucial. Not too hot, not too cold; the perfect temperature is key to flavor and texture. Aim for a smoke environment so the ham can absorb the smoky goodness.

Meat Type Temperature Range
Cured Ham 225-250°F

Maintain this range to ensure the meat cooks evenly. Regularly check your pellet grill’s thermometer or use a meat probe. Consistency is necessary for a perfectly smoked ham.

Timing Your Smoke

Taking control of the clock is just as important as temperature management. Curing has preserved your ham, so smoking now is all about flavor and tenderness.

  • Preheat your pellet grill to a steady temperature.
  • Calculate smoking time by the pound for best results.
  • Typically, smoke a cured ham for 15-20 minutes per pound.

Place the ham on the grill grates and let it bathe in the smoke. Keep the lid closed as much as possible. This allows the smoke to envelop the ham, infusing it with flavor. Don’t rush; good things come to those who wait. Use a digital thermometer to check the ham’s internal temperature, which should reach 140°F.

How to Smoke a Cured Ham on a Pellet Grill: Perfect Flavor! 

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Adding Extra Flavor

Transform your cured ham into a masterpiece with extra flavor on a pellet grill.

Adding Extra Flavor

The extra flavor turns good ham into great ham. It’s all about layering taste with techniques like glazing and wood chips.

Glazing Techniques

Glazing brings a mouth-watering sheen and sweet or spiced notes to your ham.

  • Start the glaze by mixing honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup.
  • Apply the glaze during the last 30 minutes of cooking to avoid burning.
  • Brush it on in intervals to build up a thick, rich coating.

Using Wood Chips For Enhanced Smokiness

Wood chips add a signature smokiness that can match your flavor goals.

  1. Choose the right wood chips like hickory or applewood for sweetness and depth.
  2. Soak them in water to prevent fast burning and create more smoke.
  3. Scatter the chips directly onto the grill’s hot coals.

How to Smoke a Cured Ham on a Pellet Grill

Checking For Doneness

Smoking a ham on a pellet grill fills the air with a savory aroma.

Your ham is close to ready, but how can you tell it’s perfectly cooked?

Always check doneness before taking your ham off the grill.

Internal Temperatures To Aim For

Knowing the right temperature makes the difference.

Safe and delicious results come from the correct internal temperature.

Type of Ham Target Temperature
Fully Cooked, to Reheat 140°F (60°C)
Uncooked or Partially Cooked 145°F (63°C)

Using A Meat Thermometer

Get a reliable meat thermometer for accurate readings.

  • Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the ham, avoiding bone.
  • Wait for the temperature to stabilize before reading.
  • Check different spots to ensure even cooking.

A meat thermometer is your key tool for the perfect smoked ham.

Resting And Carving Your Smoked Ham

After investing the time to smoke a cured ham on a pellet grill, two key steps remain: resting and carving. Correctly executing these steps ensures juicy flavors and a stunning presentation on the dinner table. Resting allows the juices to redistribute, while proper carving can turn your ham into an inviting centerpiece at any meal.

The Importance Of Resting Meat

Resting is crucial for a tender, juicy ham. Once off the grill, cover the ham with foil. Let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes. This pause gives the fibers time to relax. It allows the juices to settle back into the meat. A well-rested ham will stay moist and succulent when sliced.

  • Rest ham for 15-30 minutes
  • Cover with foil to retain heat
  • Allows juices to redistribute

Carving Tips For The Perfect Presentation

Carving your ham is an art that enhances its flavors and appeal. Start with a sharp carving knife to ensure clean cuts. Place the ham on a cutting board, steadying it with a fork. Slice thinly and evenly, working your way around the bone. For a stunning display, arrange the slices neatly on a platter.

  1. Use a sharp carving knife for precise cuts.
  2. Secure ham with a fork while slicing.
  3. Slice thinly and evenly around the bone.
  4. Arrange slices neatly on a platter for serving.

Remember to cut across the grain for the most tender bites. Enjoy your beautifully smoked and perfectly carved cured ham with friends and family!

Serving Suggestions

Welcome to the delicious world of smoked hams where every slice promises a journey of flavor. Mastering the art of smoking a cured ham on a pellet grill brings out its rich, savory aromas, but serving it right is just as crucial. Let’s explore some delightful ways to serve your smoked masterpiece.

Pairing With Sides And Wines

Choosing the right sides can elevate your ham to new heights.

  • Scalloped Potatoes: Creamy and comforting, they complement the smoky ham.
  • Green Bean Almondine: Adds a crunchy texture and fresh flavor.
  • Cornbread: Its sweetness balances the ham’s savory taste.

Wine pairings are equally important.

Type of Wine Flavor Notes Best With
Riesling Fruity and Floral Spiced or Honey Hams
Pinot Noir Berry and Earthy Hearty Smoked Hams
Chardonnay Buttery and oak-infused Rich, Glazed Hams

Creative Serving Ideas

Impress guests with innovative serving strategies.

  1. Ham Sliders: Mini buns filled with smoked ham, perfect for parties.
  2. Ham-Wrapped Asparagus: A gourmet touch for your dinner spread.
  3. Ham Charcuterie: A platter mixed with cheeses, nuts, and fruits.

For breakfast, keep it simple. A ham omelet or ham slices alongside pancakes and maple syrup add a fantastic twist to the start of your day.

How to Smoke a Cured Ham on a Pellet Grill

Storing Leftovers

After savoring a delicious smoked ham on your pellet grill, managing leftovers is key. You’ll want them to stay fresh and tasty. Good news – storing your smoked ham properly is easy.

Proper Storage Techniques

Seal the ham correctly to maintain its quality. Use heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. You can also opt for airtight containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

  • Wrap tightly to prevent air from drying out the ham.
  • Label the container with the date, so you know how long it’s been stored.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by keeping the ham away from raw food.

Reheating Without Losing Flavor

Reheating ham correctly is essential. You want it to taste just as good as when it was first smoked. Use these simple steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C) or a similar low heat.
  2. Keep the ham covered in a dish to prevent it from drying out.
  3. Add moisture by pouring a little broth or water into the dish.
  4. Heat until the internal temperature reaches 140°F (60°C).

Alternatively, you can use a microwave. Cover the ham with a damp paper towel and use a low setting to warm it gently. This helps retain its mouthwatering flavor and juiciness.


What Temperature Should You Smoke A Ham?

For smoking a cured ham on a pellet grill, maintain a steady temperature of around 225-250°F for optimal results.

How Long Does Smoking A Ham Take?

Expect to smoke the ham for approximately 15 minutes per pound, although this can vary depending on the ham’s size and desired doneness.

Can You Use Any Wood Pellets For Ham?

For the best flavor, choose fruit wood pellets like apple, cherry, or traditional hickory or mesquite for a more robust smoke profile.


Embarking on the smoke-infused journey of preparing a cured ham on a pellet grill rewards you with delectable results. Savor the mastery of your grilling techniques and enjoy the rich, smoky flavors. Remember to keep it simple, be patient, and let the aroma guide your palate.

Happy grilling and bon appétit!


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