Demystifying Double Smoked Ham: What It Is and How To Make It

Double smoked ham is a delicacy that is popping up more and more on holiday tables and at backyard barbecues. But what exactly does “double smoked” mean when it comes to ham? And how do you make this ultra-flavorful type of ham at home?

In this comprehensive guide, we will demystify double smoked ham, explain what sets it apart, provide step-by-step instructions for preparing it, and share tips on how to select the best ham and make the perfect sweet glaze. After reading, you’ll be fully versed in double smoked ham and ready to impress at your next gathering!

Defining Double Smoked Ham

Double smoked ham refers to a ham that undergoes two separate smoking processes:

  • The first smoking is done by the manufacturer as part of curing and cooking the raw ham. This initial smoking imparts flavor and aids in preservation.

  • The second smoking happens when the pre-cooked ham is placed in a smoker again by the consumer usually just before serving. This second round of smoking further infuses the ham with a deep, smoky taste.

Double smoking requires using a cured pre-cooked ham as the starting point. Raw fresh ham cannot be double smoked since it requires different cooking methods for food safety. The most common types of ham used for double smoking are spiral sliced city hams and boneless smoked hams.

How Double Smoking Enhances Ham

There are a few key benefits that the double smoking process lends to ham:

  • Intensified smoky flavor – The second smoking amplifies the subtle smokiness from the first smoking, taking it to the next level.

  • Increased moisture – Slow smoking helps lock in moisture and prevents the ham from drying out.

  • Caramelized exterior – Brushing on a glaze and smoking again causes a delicious crust to form.

  • Unique texture – Double smoking results in ham that is juicy inside with a slight crispiness to the outside.

Step-by-Step Guide to Double Smoking Ham

Follow these simple steps to double smoke a ham at home to perfection:

1. Choose a Pre-Cooked Ham

Select a cured, smoked, fully-cooked ham that is labeled “ready to eat” or “fully cooked.” Good choices include bone-in spiral cut hams, boneless smoked hams, and canned hams. Avoid raw “fresh” hams.

2. Prepare the Ham

Take the ham out of any packaging. Then score the fatty outer layer by making shallow crosshatches across the surface. This helps the smoke penetrate deeper.

3. Fire Up Your Smoker

Heat your smoker or grill to 225°F – 250°F. Place a drip pan lined with foil underneath where you’ll set the ham. The pan will catch any drippings.

4. Smoke the Ham

Place the scored ham directly on the smoker grates or set it in a pan. Smoke at 225°F – 250°F until the internal temperature reaches 130°F. This usually takes around 4 hours depending on ham’s weight.

5. Make a Glaze

As the ham smokes, stir together a glaze. Examples include brown sugar & spices, jellies/preserves, fruit juices, honey, or mustard blends. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop.

6. Apply the Glaze

When the ham hits 130°F, liberally brush glaze all over the outside. Return to the smoker but increase heat to 300°F.

7. Finish Smoking

Smoke glazed ham for 30 more minutes. Reapply glaze and increase heat to 350°F. Smoke another 30 minutes until internal temperature reaches 145°F – 150°F.

8. Allow Ham to Rest

Remove smoked ham from grill and tent it with foil. Let rest 15-20 minutes before carving to allow juices to absorb.

And that’s all there is to it! With this straightforward process, you’ll have a mouthwatering double smoked ham ready to serve.

Tips for Selecting Ham for Double Smoking

Not every ham on the market is well-suited for double smoking. Use these tips to choose the best ham:

  • Prefer bone-in – Bone-in hams have more flavor. The bone protects the meat during extended smoking time.

  • Get a whole ham – Whole hams have more fat and muscling for better texture after double smoking. Half hams work too.

  • Choose a wet cured ham – Wet curing gives hams a lovely rosy color and juicy flavor that pairs well with double smoking.

  • Look for quality meat – Heritage breed hams like Berkshire have deeper pork flavor that shines when double smoked.

  • Find one that’s hickory smoked – Hickory smoke complements the smoky taste you’ll add during second smoking.

  • Avoid added liquids – “Water added” hams are less ideal. Seek out “no water added” for fullest flavor.

With the right ham selection, you’ll be well on your way to an incredible double smoked feast.

Glazing Tips for Double Smoked Ham

A sweet, sticky glaze takes double smoked ham over the top. Here are some tips:

  • Make glaze in advance – Glazes can be made 1-2 weeks ahead and stored in the fridge until ham prep day.

  • Mix and match flavors – Brown sugar, fruit preserves, mustard, spices, fruit juices, honey, and more all make tasty glaze ingredients.

  • Whisk in pineapple juice – The natural enzymes help break down proteins for a tender ham.

  • Warm before applying – Heat glaze before brushing to help it spread smoothly and coat ham.

  • Think beyond sugar – Ingredients like miso, hoisin, and chili paste add savory, umami glaze options.

Getting creative with your ham glaze can take your double smoked ham to new heights.

Serving Double Smoked Ham Hot or Cold

Double smoked ham brings flavor to the table whether served hot or cold. Here’s how to prepare it both ways:


  • Allow ham to sit at room temp 1 hour before heating to take chill off.

  • In oven preheated to 325°F, warm ham until internal temperature reaches 140°F.

  • Slice ham and serve immediately for best moisture and texture.


  • Skip additional heating if ham was fully cooked.

  • Chill ham thoroughly in fridge before slicing cold.

  • Opt for thinner slices and serve with mustards, pickles, biscuits.

  • For added safety, heat ham to 140°F then chill again before serving cold.

Double smoked ham makes a stellar entrée hot off the smoker or an easy cold appetizer.

Making the Most of Leftovers

A whole double smoked ham provides the gift of leftovers. Here are our favorite ways to use them:

  • Dice and add to scrambled eggs, omelets, hash browns

  • Fold into biscuits with cheese for smoked ham biscuits

  • Chop finely and use in macaroni and cheese or potato casseroles

  • Shred then mix into cornbread batter before baking

  • Simmer ham bone into bean, pea, or vegetable soups for flavor

With endless possibilities for leftovers, double smoked ham gives the gift of many meals.

Bring Double Smoked Ham to Your Table

Learning the ins and outs of double smoked ham allows you to add incredible depth of flavor to your holiday ham or Sunday supper. Follow the step-by-step smoking instructions and handy tips in this guide, and you’ll impress everyone with your double smoked ham expertise.

The twice smoked ham that emerges after slow cooking over a sweet glaze is well worth the minimal time and effort. Plus you’ll have plenty of leftover ham to enjoy in creative ways. Add double smoked ham to your grilling repertoire, and get ready for some seriously tasty meals.

Glazed Double Smoked Ham


What is the difference between smoked and double smoked ham?

This doesn’t change if it’s spiral cut, whole with bone or without. If it’s in the ham section, it’s been cured and smoked. All we’re doing to double smoke is re-heating the ham as you would in the oven, cooked at the same temperature for the same time, except in your bbq pit.

Is a double smoked ham already cooked?

Your double-smoked ham is fully cooked and may be eaten either warm or cold. Take the chill off the ham by allowing it to set at room temperature for a good 60 minutes prior to heating.

Does double smoked ham last longer?

If left unopened Double Smoked Ham will keep at or below 4°C for 8 weeks. Stored correctly, opened hams will stay fresh for 1-2 weeks. Remove the vacuum packaging from the ham then the casing or netting that is covering the Ham. The fat can also be removed if preferred.

What does double cured ham mean?

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.

Can You double smoke a smoked ham?

Some of the smoked hams available in shops have the skin on. You can double smoke hams with or without skin on, but keep in mind that the skin and fat may take longer to cook because it takes longer for the heat to penetrate those extra layers. There are countless variations of glaze you can use for a double smoked ham.

Is honey baked ham as good as regular ham?

The addition of honey will affect the calorie content of the food. One tablespoon of honey contributes to approximately 64 calories. In addition, the use of heat when making baked ham will reduce the quality of the honey.

What is a twice smoked ham?

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. WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON THE LABEL 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.

What is a double smoked ham good for?

The slow smoking process allows the ham to remain succulent while absorbing the smoky flavors. HOLIDAY TRADITION – This ham is perfect for special occasions and holiday celebrations. LEFTOVER POTENTIAL – Double smoked ham leftovers are perfect for soups, sandwiches, and other delicious meals.

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