9+ Simple Steps to the Perfect Smoked Ham Glaze

Create the perfect smoked ham glaze by dry rubbing, smoking for 5-6 hours, basting regularly, and glazing once it reaches 145⁰F, resulting in a deliciously flavored ham.

smoked ham glaze

A succulent smoked ham with a sweet, tangy glaze is a winner for holidays and family celebrations. While most hams are sold fully cooked and smoked, putting your ham in the smoker to heat and receive a second smoking and glazing is an excellent approach. What are the steps to follow to create the perfect smoked ham glaze?

Creating the perfect smoked ham glaze is the last step in smoking ham. The process begins with dry rubbing and scoring the ham. Smoke the ham for five to six hours, basting it regularly, or heat it in the oven for an hour. Once the ham reaches 145⁰F, coat it with glaze and cook until glossy.

You can serve precooked and smoked ham heated up and glazed in the oven. However, combining smoking with a spicy dry rub, juicy basting sauce, and a layer of tangy glaze will create a deliciously flavored and textured ham.

The process does have several steps, but they are easy, and you can enjoy your guests while the ham cooks. What do you need to produce a twice-smoked ham with the perfect glaze?

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9 Simple Steps To The Perfect Smoked Ham Glaze

Creating a glaze for your ham is the final step in the process. Let’s look at the steps that lead up to glazing, as they are essential for building the layers of smoky flavor, the crisp crust, and the tender, pink meat.

Apply A Dry Rub

Traeger Grills SPC171 Pork and Poultry Rub with Apple and Honey

The secret to a glazed ham’s depth of flavor is marinating it in a dry rub overnight (or an hour before smoking or baking if you don’t have much time). Use your favorite commercially produced dry rub for ham, or create your own.

  • Combine 1-2 tablespoons each of freshly ground black pepper, paprika, and brown sugar, a tablespoon of sea salt, and 1 teaspoon each of mustard powder and cayenne pepper.
  • For a sweeter rub, use up to ½ cup of brown sugar.
  • For a zingier rub, add red chili pepper flakes or ground chipotle to taste.
  • For a spicier rub, add 1 tablespoon each of garlic and onion powder.
  • Another spice rub approach uses pumpkin spice instead of paprika and cayenne and adds ginger and ground cloves.
  • Remove the ham from the packaging and rinse off any brine. Pat dry.
  • Rub the ham with the spice mixture, ensuring you cover the entire surface.
  • Wrap the ham in aluminum foil. 
  • Refrigerate the ham overnight.
  • Remove the ham from the fridge for at least an hour before cooking.

Preheat The Smoker Or Oven

Ideally, use a smoker to reheat your ham, giving it a gorgeous twice-smoked flavor. 

If you don’t have a smoker, use an ordinary oven, preheating it to 350⁰F. 

Prepare The Basting Sauce

Smoking your ham will take five to six hours, so it is vital to use a basting sauce to prevent the meat from drying out. Use your favorite basting sauce, mop sauce, apple cider, pineapple juice, or the recipe below. Basting is not necessary if you’re glazing in the oven

  • In a saucepan, combine a cup of chicken stock, ¾ cup of pineapple juice, three tablespoons of oil, 1-2 teaspoons of mustard powder, and ½ teaspoon of ground cloves.
  • Heat the basting sauce gently, occasionally stirring for five minutes.

Score The Ham 

Scoring the ham makes shallow cuts or grooves over the surface, allowing the basting liquid more space to penetrate the meat and keep it moist. It will also give more area for the glaze to spread out, so score the ham to glaze in the oven.

  • Unwrap the ham from the aluminum foil.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut shallow slits, about ¼ inch deep and an inch apart, through the ham’s skin. It’s common to create a diamond or criss-cross pattern as you go.
  • To add a sweet, slightly spicy flavor, stud the diamonds with whole cloves.

Smoke Or Bake The Ham

To smoke the ham, follow these steps:

  • Place the soaked wood chips on the hot coals of the preheated smoker.
  • Rewrap the ham loosely in aluminum foil (like a tent) or place it in an aluminum foil container, cut side down.
  • Put the ham in the smoker and close the lid.
  • Smoke the ham for five to six hours (calculated at 20 minutes per pound).

To heat your ham in the oven, do this:

  • Rewrap the ham loosely in aluminum foil (like a tent) or place it in an aluminum foil container, cut side down.
  • Close the oven door firmly.
  • Bake the ham for about an hour (calculated at 10 minutes per pound).

The ham will be done when a digital meat thermometer inserted into the ham’s thickest section – not the bone – reads 145⁰F. Reading the internal temperature of the ham is the best way to ensure that the ham is heated consistently.

Baste The Ham While Smoking

To stop the ham from drying out and becoming overly smoky, baste it every 30 minutes to an hour.

  • Brush the whole surface of the ham with the warm basting sauce.
  • If you have decided to tent the ham, open and close the foil carefully with each basting.

Make The Glaze

The final step in making delectable smoked ham is to add the glaze. Make your glaze when the thermometer reaches 135⁰F. 

  • a fruity ingredient, the sweetness pairing with the ham’s saltiness. Choose ½ cup of juice, chutney, or preserves made from mango, apricots, cranberries, cherries, oranges, or pineapple. You can also use balsamic vinegar.
  • a sugary element to heighten the sweet-salty contrast and form a caramelized layer on the ham. Add ½ cup of brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, or honey.
  • a spicy element, such as a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 ½ teaspoons of mustard powder, a teaspoon of cayenne or chili pepper, or a pinch of ground cloves, allspice, or thyme.
  • an oily ingredient to spread the glaze, such as ½ cup of butter
  • Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat to a simmer. 
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir continually for five minutes. Take care that the glaze does not boil over.
  • Set the glaze aside to cool and thicken for around 10 minutes.

Glaze The Ham

When the ham has reached 145⁰F, you can begin glazing. Do not start glazing too early, as the sugar will cause the glaze to burn.

To glaze the ham in a smoker:

  • Remove the ham from the smoker, placing it on a cooling rack.
  • If using, remove the foil tent from your ham. 
  • Brush the ham with the glaze, ensuring it is well-coated.
  • Close the smoker 
  • Allow the glaze 10-20 minutes to caramelize, turning glossy and sticky.

If you plan to glaze the ham in the oven:

  • Remove the ham from the oven, placing it on a cooling rack.
  • Coat the ham thoroughly with the glaze.
  • Place the ham back in the oven.
  • Coat the ham with glaze every 15 minutes until the ham develops a beautiful glossy exterior. This can take around 45 minutes.

Serve The Ham

  • Transfer the glazed ham to a serving platter.
  • Tent the ham with foil until ready to slice. 
  • Your ham is now ready to serve with your favorite sides.

Frequently Asked Questions

smoked ham

Can You Glaze A Smoked Cooked Ham?

Most hams that you buy are already cooked and smoked. They can be eaten as is, but it is festive and delicious to reheat the ham, infuse it with extra flavor, and coat it with a glossy, zesty glaze. Glaze the ham either in your smoker or regular oven.

Do You Glaze Ham Before Or After Smoking?

Glaze your ham once it has been smoked and reaches a temperature of 145⁰F. The glazing process will take 10 minutes in the smoker or 45 minutes in the oven.

How Do You Heat And Glaze A Smoked Ham?

You can heat and glaze a smoked ham either in your smoker, which will take five to six hours or in your oven, which will take around two hours.

Should You Baste A Smoked Ham?

Baste the ham at least every hour while it is in the smoker so that it remains moist.


Use your smoker or oven to make the ultimate smoked ham with a sweet, sticky glaze. Marinate the ham before scoring the skin and heating it through. Baste the ham during smoking to further infuse it with flavor. Once the ham is done, glaze it with a fruity, sugary mixture to create a zesty, luscious coating.

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