Cooking with Fire Episode 11: Holiday Ham from Scratch

Pitmaster Josh Cary and Chef Tom Jackson are back with another episode, this time they’re curing and smoking the perfect holiday ham from scratch.

Cooking with Fire Episode 11: Holiday Ham from Scratch


  • 1 (16 lb) fresh ham
  • For the brine:
  • 3 gallons of water
  • 4.5 cups kosher salt
  • 6 ups brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp pink salt
  • 3 tbsp red chile flakes
  • For the BBQ rub:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • For the glaze:
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup prepared mustard
  • 2 tbsp BBQ rub
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


Combine all brine ingredients in a food safe 5 gallon bucket. Whisk to dissolve. Add the ham to the solution. Weigh it down with plates to keep it submerged. Place in a refrigerator for 8 days, or a 1/2 day per pound. Remove from brine. Rinse well under cold water. Place on a cooling rack, over a sheet pan. Place the ham in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours to form the pellicle (surface will become tacky).

Remove the ham from the refrigerator. Preheat your smoker to 250ºF. Season the ham with the BBQ rub. Smoke for four hours. Increase the smokers temperature to 350ºF. Cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into the deep part of the meat reads 140ºF.

Mix together the glaze ingredients in a bowl. Place the ham in a foil pan and place the pan in the smoker. Brush the glaze on the ham. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 150ºF. Glaze again. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 155ºF. Remove from the grill and let rest 30 minutes before slicing.

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