How to Cure & Smoke a Ham - Indigo Pool Patio BBQ

How to Cure & Smoke a Ham

Enjoy an unforgettable, smoky taste that will tantalize your taste buds - perfect for a special occasion or holiday meal. There’s nothing like a big and fragrant Smoked Ham on the table for the holidays. Have you ever wanted to go that extra mile and make your own from scratch? It’s easier than you think to cure and smoke your own ham. With a little patience and planning a delicious smoked ham can be ready for your holiday dinner. This recipe will require the use of a kitchen scale and math to ensure that you get the correct ratios of curing salt, salt, sugar, and spices.



  • Large piece of pork, skin on, deboned, leg is preferable, do not use belly
  • 0.04 oz curing salts per pound of meat
  • 0.48 oz salt per pound of meat
  • 0.08 oz of brown sugar per pound of meat
  • Mustard powder to taste
  • Onion powder to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Apple juice
  • Fruitwood smoker chunks



Start by tying your pork into a log shape with the skin side out. Use some stout butcher’s twine so that it holds together well - your butcher may take care of this for you. Measure your pork across the front – flat face – use inches. Take the width across (diameter) of your pork and add 3 days. This will be the length of time you need to cure it to make ham. For a 4-inch ham, you would cure for 4 days then add 3 days for a total of 7 days.

Weigh the pork and measure out the appropriate amount of curing salt, salt, and sugar, seasoning to taste with mustard powder, onion powder, and freshly ground black pepper.

For example:
4 lb. pork, 6-inches in diameter
0.04 oz/ lb. of meat = 0.16 oz of curing salt
0.48 oz/ lb. of meat = 1.92 oz of salt
0.08 oz/ lb. of meat = 0.32 oz of sugar
Seasoning to taste

Season the pork on all sides with curing salt, getting as much seasoning into every nook and cranny that you can. Place your meat onto a wire rack in a baking tray with sides.

Cure the meat in your fridge for the same number of days as the diameter of the ham. Periodically drain the liquid from the tray under the ham.

Upon reaching that number of days, remove the ham from the fridge and rinse all of the curing mixture off. Rest the ham back on the rack in the fridge for 3 more days. **There may be some mold development. White mold is completely normal and okay to leave. If you get blue or green mold, you will have to toss it and start again.

When you are ready to smoke after the 3 final days, set your smoker up, preheating it to 225°F. If you are using an Apollo 3 in 1 Charcoal Grill and Water Smoker fill the bottom basket with unlit hardwood lump charcoal like Napoleon’s Blackstone. Disperse a few chunks of your favorite fruit wood like Apple or Cherry throughout. Fill a charcoal chimney starter 1/3 of the way full with charcoal, light the paper in the bottom and allow the charcoal to ignite. Pour the lit charcoal into the basket in the center. Add the middle chamber of the smoker and fill the water basin with room temperature apple juice or a mixture of apple juice and warm water. Put on the lid and allow the smoker to come up to temperature – adjusting the air vents appropriately. If you are using a charcoal grill like the Napoleon PRO Kettle, use the indirect setup, and place a drip pan filled with water or juice under where you will be putting your ham. Pour a good amount of unlit lump charcoal and a few chunks of smoking wood into the grill, then light a very small load of charcoal, then add it to the unlit.

Smoke the ham for about 40 minutes per pound, or until you reach an internal temperature of around 185°F. At about the half-way mark of the cook, remove the skin, leaving as much fat as you can on the outside of your ham and return it to the smoker to finish smoking.

Rest your ham for about 30 minutes under some foil and a couple of towels to keep warm. Serve sliced, with your favorite side dishes like mashed potatoes and roasted carrots, for an incredible holiday meal.

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