How to Smoke a Perfectly Delicious Ham Steak

As someone who loves firing up my smoker on the weekends ham steaks are one of my absolute favorite meats to smoke. A properly smoked ham steak is juicy, tender and packed with incredible smoky flavor.

In this article, I’ll share my tried and true method for smoking mouthwatering ham steaks from start to finish With my tips and techniques, you’ll be able to turn out amazing smoked ham steaks that your family and friends will rave about Let’s get smoking!

Why Smoke Ham Steaks?

Smoking infuses ham steaks with rich, smoky depth while keeping them nice and juicy. It adds so much more flavor compared to just pan frying or baking plain ham steaks.

The moderate, indirect heat of the smoker gently cooks the ham while the smoke penetrates into the meat. And unlike whole bone-in hams, ham steaks cook relatively quickly, making them ideal for smoking.

Smoked ham steaks are fantastic in sandwiches and breakfast tacos. They also make for impressive appetizers for a party when served with creative toppings and sauces for dipping.

Once you discover how easy and delicious smoking ham steaks is, you’ll want to fire up the smoker specifically just to make them again and again.

Tips for Choosing Ham Steaks

When buying ham steaks to smoke, keep these tips in mind:

  • Opt for thick steaks, ideally at least 1/2 inch thick. Thinner steaks can dry out.

  • Look for steaks with some fat for added moisture and flavor. Avoid very lean steaks.

  • Check for quality. Higher quality steaks will have good marbling and reddish pink meat.

  • Make sure they’re raw, not pre-cooked. You want to fully control the cooking process.

  • Buy them bone-in for more flavor and juiciness.

With the right ham steaks chosen, you’re ready to start the smoking process. Let’s get to it!

Step 1 – Prepare the Ham Steaks

Properly preparing the ham steaks now makes for better results later. Here’s how:

  • Rinse the steaks under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.

  • Trim off any unappetizing bits of fat, skin or bone.

  • Score the fat cap lightly to allow smoke to penetrate.

  • Apply a binder – yellow mustard works great. This helps the rub stick.

  • Generously season with a sweet or savory dry rub. Massage it in.

  • Refrigerate for at least an hour to let flavors meld. Overnight is even better.

The ham steaks are now ready for smoking!

Step 2 – Set Up Your Smoker

If you need a refresher on setting up your smoker properly, reference my guides for:

  • Charcoal smokers like the Weber Smokey Mountain

  • Electric smokers like the Bradley Smoker

  • Pellet grills like the Traeger Timberline

  • Propane smokers like the Masterbuilt Gas Smoker

No matter what smoker you use, aim for a target temp of 225-250°F and use fruit wood like apple, cherry or pecan for flavor.

Step 3 – Smoke the Ham Steaks

Once your smoker is preheated to 225-250°F, place the seasoned ham steaks directly on the grill grates. Smoke with the lid closed until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F, about 1-2 hours.

Key tips for great results:

  • Position the steaks so the fattier side faces the heat source.

  • Rotate the steaks 180 degrees halfway through for even cooking.

  • Spritz with apple juice or water every 30-45 minutes to moisten.

  • Add a couple wood chunks or chips every 45-60 minutes for continuous smoke.

  • Don’t peek under the lid too much to maintain temperature.

Step 4 – Glaze and Finish (Optional)

For bonus flavor, I like to brush the ham steaks with a sweet and sticky glaze during the last 30 minutes of smoking time.

  • In a saucepan, simmer 1 cup jelly or preserves with 1 tbsp Worcestershire and 1 tsp hot sauce until melted and smooth.

  • After 1-1.5 hours of smoking, brush the mixture onto both sides of the steaks.

  • Close the smoker and continue cooking until 145°F internal temp.

The glaze adds a lovely sweetness and sheen to the exterior bark.

Step 5 – Rest and Slice

Once the ham steaks reach 145°F, transfer them to a cutting board to rest for at least 5 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat before slicing.

Then slice across the grain into pieces about 1/4 inch thick. Be sure to slice perpendicular to the length of the muscle fibers.

Serving Suggestions

Smoked ham steaks make for amazing meals and snacks. Here are some of my favorite ways to serve them:

  • On sandwiches with cheese, pickles and mustard.

  • Diced up in chef salads, omelets or breakfast burritos.

  • As an appetizer with creative toppings like pineapple salsa, honey mustard or pepper jelly.

  • In a breakfast hash with potatoes, onions, peppers and eggs.

  • On top of a fresh garden salad for a smoky twist.

However you choose to use your smoked ham steaks, I know your friends and family will be asking you to make them again and again! Now that you’re armed with my complete guide to smoking ham steaks, you can turn out these incredible smoked treats any time.

Troubleshooting Common Ham Steak Smoking Problems

Smoking ham steaks does take some technique. Here are my solutions to some of the most common issues:

Problem: Ham steaks turn out dry and tough.

Solution: Use a water pan, spritz more often, cook to slightly lower internal temp.

Problem: Ham steaks don’t have much smoke flavor.

Solution: Use more wood, make sure smoke is flowing, smoke for longer time.

Problem: Ham steaks finish too quickly.

Solution: Start with lower smoker temp (200-225°F), use 1 inch thick steaks.

Problem: Ham steaks take too long to cook.

Solution: Raise smoker temp to 250-275°F, flip steaks more often, slice ham thinner.

Problem: Ham steaks have bitter, acrid taste.

Solution: Use milder wood like apple or pecan. Make sure smoke isn’t billowing white.

With a bit of tweaking, you’ll be smoking ham steaks just right every time. Never stop improving your skills!

Frequently Asked Questions About Smoked Ham Steaks

What is the best wood for smoking ham steaks?

Mild, slightly sweet fruit woods like apple, cherry and pecan work best with the flavor of ham. Avoid very strong woods like mesquite, which can overpower ham.

Should you brine ham steaks before smoking?

Brining is not necessary since ham steaks are cured meat. Simply seasoning and applying a binder provides plenty of flavor.

How long does it take to smoke ham steaks?

Plan for 1-2 hours of smoking time at 225-250°F to get ham steaks to an internal temperature of 145°F. Thicker steaks take longer.

Can you smoke fully cooked ham steaks?

Yes, smoking pre-cooked ham steaks will still impart new flavor. Just smoke for a shorter time, until heated through, since they don’t need additional cooking.

What’s the best way to reheat smoked ham steaks?

To reheat leftover smoked ham steaks, simmer gently in apple juice, broth or barbecue sauce to warm them through without drying them out.

Enjoy Your Delicious Smoked Ham Steaks!

Adding smoke flavor takes a great ingredient like ham to a whole new level of amazing taste! I hope my guide gives you the confidence to start smoking your own juicy, tender and flavorful ham steaks at home.

Smoked Ham Steak with a Brown Sugar Whiskey Glaze on the REC TEC 700

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