How to Smoke a Ham on a Charcoal Grill?

How to Smoke a Ham on a Charcoal Grill?

Charcoal grilling techniques add a unique smoky flavor to meats that cannot be replicated by other methods. Smoking a ham on a charcoal grill is a great way to infuse the meat with a delicious, smoky flavor and create a juicy and tender texture. I am excited to share with you the key techniques and steps to smoke a ham on a charcoal grill and make a scrumptious smoked ham.

Key Takeaways:

  • Smoking a ham on a charcoal grill adds a unique smoky flavor to the meat.
  • Charcoal grilling techniques create a juicy and tender texture for the ham.
  • Following the steps in this guide will lead to a flavorful and rewarding smoked ham.

Choosing the Right Ham and Preparing the Grill

When it comes to smoking ham on a grill, selecting the right ham and preparing the charcoal grill are crucial steps to ensure a successful and flavorful outcome. Here are some smoking tips that can help you achieve the best results.

Choosing the Right Ham

When choosing a ham for smoking, it’s essential to go for a high-quality, fresh cut. Look for a ham that has a good amount of fat, as this will help keep the meat moist during the smoking process. You can choose between a bone-in or boneless ham, depending on your preference or the recipe you are following.

Before smoking the ham, make sure to remove any excess moisture by patting it dry with paper towels. This will help the smoke adhere better to the ham and enhance the flavors.

Preparing the Grill

Before lighting the charcoal grill, make sure to clean and oil the grates thoroughly. This will help prevent sticking and ensure even cooking. Next, arrange the coals evenly on one side of the grill, leaving the other side empty for indirect cooking. You can also add some smoking wood chips or chunks to the charcoal to enhance the smoky flavor.

Once the coals are properly arranged, light them up and wait until they turn gray and ashy. You can also use a chimney starter to light the coals faster and more evenly. Finally, adjust the air vents to control the temperature and maintain a steady smoking temperature between 225-250°F.

Preparing the Ham for Smoking

Before smoking a ham on a charcoal grill, it is crucial to prepare it properly. This involves trimming the excess fat and skin and seasoning the meat to enhance its flavor. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Remove any excess fat and skin from the ham, leaving only a thin layer to protect the meat during smoking.
  2. Score the remaining fat in a diamond pattern to allow the seasonings to penetrate the meat.
  3. Coat the ham with your preferred rub or seasoning blend, which could include garlic, onion powder, pepper, brown sugar, or paprika.
  4. For maximum flavor, you can marinate the ham overnight in a brine solution or fruit juice, which will also help to keep the meat moist during the smoking process.

Once the ham is adequately seasoned, it is ready to be placed on the charcoal grill for smoking.

A charcoal smoked ham recipe is a versatile and tasty addition to any meal, and with proper preparation, it can be a simple process. The next step is setting up the charcoal grill for smoking, which will be covered in the following section.

Setting Up the Charcoal Grill for Smoking

Before smoking the ham, it’s crucial to set up the charcoal grill correctly. This step is essential to achieve the perfect smoky flavor and maintain a consistent temperature throughout the smoking process. Here are the best charcoal grilling methods to set up your grill for smoking ham:

Arrange the Charcoal

First, arrange the charcoal in a two-zone fire configuration, with one side of the grill having a pile of unlit charcoal and the other side containing a small amount of lit charcoal. This setup will create two temperature zones inside the grill, allowing you to smoke the ham indirectly over the cooler side while maintaining the desired temperature on the hotter side.

Control the Temperature

The key to smoking a ham on a charcoal grill is to maintain a consistent temperature between 225°F and 250°F. The temperature can be regulated by adjusting the air vents on the bottom and top of the grill. Open the bottom vents to increase the temperature and close them partially to reduce the heat. Similarly, adjust the top vents to control the amount of smoke inside the grill.

Add Smoking Wood Chips or Chunks

Once the charcoal grill is set up, add your preferred smoking wood chips or chunks. These wood pieces will give your ham a distinct smoky flavor. Some popular woods for smoking ham are hickory, apple, cherry, and oak. Soak the wood in water for 30 minutes before adding it to the charcoal grill. Once the wood is added, place the ham on the cooler side of the grill, opposite the lit charcoal. Keep the lid closed to maintain the temperature and smoke levels.

Smoking the Ham

Once the grill is set up and the ham is prepared, it’s time to start smoking.

First, ensure that the temperature of the grill is stable and consistent. A temperature of around 225°F to 250°F is ideal for smoking ham on a charcoal BBQ. Maintain this temperature throughout the smoking process by adjusting the vents and adding charcoal as needed.

Next, it’s important to monitor the levels of smoke. Too much smoke can make the ham bitter, while too little smoke may result in a lack of flavor. Add smoking wood chips or chunks to the charcoal as needed to maintain a steady and pleasing smoke level.

Periodically baste the ham with a mixture of apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and honey to keep it moist and flavorful. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the ham, which should reach 145°F before it’s fully cooked.

Once the ham is cooked through, remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for about 10-15 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy ham.

Finally, carve and serve the deliciously smoked ham. Slice it thinly and arrange it on a platter, garnished with some fresh herbs or fruit slices for an extra touch of flavor and presentation.

Finishing and Serving the Smoked Ham

Once the ham has reached the desired internal temperature and has been smoked to perfection, it’s time to finish and serve. Here are some tips for the final steps:

  1. Glaze the Ham: Apply the glaze of your choice to the surface of the ham. You can use a store-bought glaze or make your own by combining honey, mustard, brown sugar, and other desired flavors. Place the ham back on the grill, close the lid, and let it cook for another 15-20 minutes.
  2. Let it Rest: Once the ham is done, remove it from the grill and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat.
  3. Carve and Serve: Once the ham has rested, carve it into slices and serve. You can also serve it with additional glaze on the side for extra flavor.

Keep in mind that smoking a ham on a charcoal grill requires some patience and effort, but the end result is a juicy, smoky, flavorful meat that will impress your guests. Experiment with different flavors and techniques until you find your perfect recipe. Happy grilling!


In conclusion, smoking a ham on a charcoal grill is a delicious and rewarding experience that anyone can enjoy. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully smoke a ham on your charcoal grill and impress your friends and family with a mouthwatering meal.

Remember to choose the right ham, prepare your grill, and properly season and smoke your ham for the best results. And don’t forget to allow your ham to rest and glaze it for a finishing touch before carving and serving.

I hope you found this article helpful and informative. Smoking a ham on a charcoal grill is a great way to elevate your grilling game and create a delicious meal that everyone will love. So why not give it a try and see for yourself? Happy grilling!


Q: Can I use any type of ham for smoking?

A: Yes, you can use any type of ham for smoking. However, it is recommended to choose a bone-in ham for better flavor and tenderness.

Q: How long does it take to smoke a ham on a charcoal grill?

A: The cooking time will depend on the size of the ham and the desired level of smokiness. As a general guide, allow approximately 20 minutes of cooking time per pound of ham.

Q: Do I need to soak the wood chips before adding them to the charcoal grill?

A: Yes, it is recommended to soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the charcoal grill. This helps to create smoke and enhance the flavor of the ham.

Q: Can I use a gas grill instead of a charcoal grill to smoke a ham?

A: While a gas grill can be used to smoke a ham, the charcoal grill provides a more authentic smoky flavor. However, if you only have a gas grill, you can still achieve delicious results by using a smoker box or foil packet filled with wood chips.

Q: Should I baste the ham while it is smoking?

A: Yes, it is recommended to baste the ham periodically while it is smoking. This helps to keep the ham moist and adds additional flavor. Use a brush or marinade injector to apply the basting mixture.

Q: How should I store the leftover smoked ham?

A: After smoking the ham, allow it to cool slightly and then wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or place it in an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, you can either slice and microwave individual portions or place the whole ham in a preheated oven at 325°F (163°C) for approximately 10-15 minutes per pound.

Michael Davis
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