Twice Smoked Ham 101 - How to Pick and Cook the Perfect Ham

Hey Pit Boss Nation, we know you’ve been wanting a sweet, juicy ham recipe for Easter dinner. Well, our pit masters have delivered on this one! Twice smoked ham, also known as “double smoked” ham is the best dish to serve for the spring holiday. It’s easy and delicious. Plus, the finger-lickin’ brown sugar glaze gives the meat a beautiful, crispy caramelization, which makes this recipe a perfect option to have smoking pork on the grill while you spend time doing what you love best – celebrating with your family.

In this guide, you will find everything you will want to know about picking the perfect ham and a bossin’ recipe for twice smoking it.


A twice smoked ham is a pre-cooked ham that is smoked up on the grill so you can infuse it with even more texture and flavor.


Fresh vs. Cured vs. Cured and Smoked

There are three main types of ham: Fresh (or green) ham, cured ham, cured/smoked ham.

You will find more cured ham than fresh ham at the supermarket. These tend to be pre-cooked and safe to eat cold, right out of the package.

From there, there are multiple ways of curing a ham. Although, the most popular is Wet Cured, also known as “City Hams.” City Hams are soaked or injected with a solution of salt, sugar, and other spices called a brine.

But if y’all want more than the standard, a flavorful smoked and cured ham is best the way to go.

  • Boss Tip #1: Look for, “Smoked” and “Fully Cooked”, “Ready to Serve”, or “Ready to Eat” on the label.

Ham vs. Ham with Natural Juices vs. Water Added and Water Products

Most labels will have water added as part of the wet curing process. Although, the more water added to the ham, the less flavor and texture the meat has. If the label says, “water added” or “with water products” look to get one with the highest percentage of protein in the nutritional facts. This should as close to 18.5% to 17%, as possible.

  • Boss Tip #2 : A label with “Ham with Natural Juices” is better. A label with just “Ham” and no water added is best.

Bone-In vs. Boneless?

When you’re picking out your Easter ham, go for a bone-in ham. Boneless hams are easy to slice. Although, like most meats, having that bone attached gives the meat more flavor.

  • Boss Tip #3 : How can you tell if there is a bone or not? All grocery hams list it on the label

Whole vs. Half Ham?

This decision is based on two crucial questions, how many people are going to be served or... how much can you eat in one sitting?

A whole ham is the whole back side of the animal, labeled “leg or ham” above, and it typically weighs 18 to 20 pounds. The whole ham includes the butt and shank whereas a half ham is either the butt or shank.

For size, you want to get about ¾ pounds per person with a bone-in ham. A quick cheat sheet:

10 or fewer people = roughly a 7 ½ lb. Half Ham

15 people = roughly a 11 ¼ lb. Half Ham

20 or more people = roughly 15 lb. or larger, Whole Ham

      • Boss Tip #4: If you have to grab a ham that’s a little larger, turn your leftovers into Scalloped Potatoes With Ham, Corn, And Bacon.

Butt vs. Shank?

There’s some debate over which half is better. The butt half comes from the upper part of the animal’s leg. It’s very tender and arguably much more flavorful. This cut also has part of the hip bone, which makes it more difficult to carve. The shank half comes from the lower part of the leg, which gives it it’s traditional funnel shape. This cut is slightly tougher, but still has great flavor and is much easier to carve.
Boss Tip #5: For Easter Dinner, we recommend the shank half. Look for the iconic funnel shape or “Shank” on the label.

Spiral Cut vs. Non-Cut Ham?

This option comes down to convenience. Spiral or non-cut are both great choices. Spiral cut hams will smoke up a bit faster, save you the trouble of slicing, and add more flavor in between the meat layers. Whereas a whole or half ham that is not pre-sliced, will give you more slicing freedom to add beautiful diamond scoring on the outside or cut the ham into larger pieces, and has a slightly lower chance of drying out as quickly.


Now that you’ve decided on which type of ham to use, follow these steps to get your Bossin’ Twice Smoked Ham recipe.

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup of pure maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground allspice, nutmeg, or ginger

      1. Remove the ham from its’ package. If it already has a glaze on the outside, rinse it off and pat the meat dry.
      2. If your ham is not spiral cut, go ahead and score the outside. This is going to help the glaze sink into the meat.
        • Boss Tip: With the tip of a knife, make long cuts from top of the ham down to bottom, cutting through the skin. Next, make a second set of cuts perpendicular to first set, to form a diamond pattern all over the outside.
      3. Fire up your Pit Boss and set the temperature to 225°F. If you’re twice smoking your ham on a gas or charcoal grill, prepare to smoke over low indirect heat. You can place the ham in an aluminum pan uncovered or directly on the grill grates.
      4. Close the lid and smoke the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 130° to 135°F.
        • Boss Tip: This can take about an hour or two, depending on size of your ham. Average out about 10 minutes per pound.
      5. Prepare the glaze for your Easter ham. Add ½ cup packed brown sugar, ½ cup of pure maple syrup or honey, 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, and ¼ tsp of ground allspice, nutmeg, or ginger to a saucepan.
      6. Cook the glaze ingredients over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Make sure to whisk the mixture until all the sugar has dissolved. The consistency should be syrup like. If it’s too thick, add a 1 Tbsp of apple juice (or your favorite ham recipe liquid, like root beer) to thin it out.
      7. After the meat reaches that 130° to 135°F internal temperature, place the ham in a grilling safe dish - this can be an aluminum pan, cast iron skillet, or aluminum lined baking pan – and brush on the glaze.
        • Boss Tip: This can take about an hour or two, depending on size of your ham. Average out about 10 minutes per pound.
      8. Re-apply your glaze every 10-15 minutes and continue smoking until you reach an internal temperature of 140°F.
        • Boss Tip: When measuring the internal temperature of the ham, place the probe in the thickest part of the ham, away from the bone.
      9. Remove the ham from the grill, lightly cover with foil, and let rest for 10-30 minutes before serving.
      10. That’s it. You have a bossin’ ham and now. Easter Dinner is served!

Bigger. Hotter. Heaver.

Tracking the internal temp is very important for a Twice Smoked Ham, so make sure to use a meat probe or Pit Boss’ Remote Thermometer. These tools will give you precise temperature reads, and you can retain the moist, juicy texture in the pre-cooked meat.