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smoked ham

Holiday Ham Recipe

Prep Time 4 d
Cook Time 10 hrs
Total Time 4 d 12 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 16


  • 1 26-pound raw ham, the rear hind leg of a hog/piggy
  • 4 lbs Ice

The Brine

  • 2 tbsp Cardamom seeds 
  • 3 tbsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp Dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp Celery seed powder
  • 3 tbsp Black peppercorns
  • 4 Orange peels
  • 6 Turkish bay leaves
  • 3 sticks Cinnamon
  • 4 cups Kosher salt
  • 3 cups Turbinado sugar

Salt Cure

  • 3 tbsp Distilled Vinegar
  • 3-4 cups Kosher salt (or enough to fill cover the whole ham skin)

Dijon Bourbon Glaze

  • 2 cups Dijon
  • 1 cup Honey
  • cup Brown sugar
  • ½ cup Hot sauce
  • ½ cup Bourbon


  • Start off with a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the herbs to the pan (cardamom seeds, fennel seeds, dried rosemary, peppercorns, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks) and toast them for 4-6 mins. Once toasted, remove them and get a large pot filled with 4-5 gallons of water and add the toasted herbs/spices and then add the celery seed powder, salt and sugar. Bring to a light boil for 6 mins and then let cool.
  • In a large cooler add a whole small size bag of ice and add in the massive pot of seasoning. Toss in your ham and then add water until your ham is covered. Now add another bag of ice. Let it sit in the cooler (make sure it is sealed from exposed air) for three days. Add ice every day to keep it cold.
  • After 3 days remove the ham and place it on a wire rack with a baking sheet under it. Leave it out in room temp for 2 hours. Now score the skin of the ham in a crosshatch pattern and then apply distilled vinegar on the surface of the skin. Pour the salt on the skin and cover it generously. Once the skin is covered, place it in the fridge for 12-24 hours. 
  • The next day, remove the ham and wipe off all of the salt as best as possible. 
  • Set your smoker up at 250 degrees for smoking with applewood chunks. Place the ham on a wire rack and add to the smoker. Have a drip pan under the ham to catch the dripping fat and a water pan filled next to the ham for smoking. Smoke at 250 degrees for 8-10 hours (as long as it takes, to reach the internal temp of 165 degrees) and when the ham reaches 150 begin to make your glaze.
  • Get a saucepan over medium heat and then add the dijon mustard, honey, bourbon, hot sauce and brown sugar. Let it simmer for 8 mins, you want to burn the alcohol out as best as possible. 
  • Let the glaze cool for 6-8 mins and then set the glaze on the ham. Let it go for 20 mins and then add another coat, 20 mins later remove the ham and place it on a baking sheet (keeping the wire rack under it) and cover it with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 1 hour.
  • Slice against the grain and enjoy it with your family and friends!
Keyword big ham recipe, easy ham recipe, holiday ham, smoked ham recipe, thanksgiving recipe