Grill-Glazed Spiral Ham
Smoked ham is a holiday mainstay, which is a shame. I admit to placing ham into the winter grilling category when it is actually a treat to be enjoyed anytime. Ham, or in this case, a ham portion, is the perfect choice for a cold weather grilling recipe because it requires little attention. And did I mention that this is paleo friendly?
An eight pound spiral sliced portion was selected at a local market to be grilled for this post:
Is it really sliced? Let’s take a closer look:
Yep, the slices are indeed there and I’m anxious to see what can be done with this soon to be grill-glazed spiral ham.
One thing to look for is the phrase “natural juices” as opposed to “water added” ham:
Natural juices ham has less added moisture than the water added variety. Water added hams tend to be of lesser quality. I think I’ll leave it at that lest a lengthy discussion of curing, brining, and other methods becomes required.
The spiral ham is placed flat side down in an aluminum pan:
Notice the second pan to the left? It shall also be placed under the ham for added reinforcement. When handling a hot and heavy grilled item caution and grill gloves must be employed.
The glaze is a modified version of a recipe originated by the champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly.
1/2 cup apricot jam or preserves
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Yoshida’s cooking sauce (substitute soy sauce if desired)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper (not shown…how did I ever miss that?)
1/4 tsp Ancho chile powder (substitute chipotle or cayenne as desired)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sage
1/16 tsp ground cloves
Combine all ingredients and mix well in medium-size bowl.
Next the glaze mixture will be added between each slice to add moisture and flavor deep inside the soon to be grill-glazed spiral ham. This is a minimal effort grilling recipe. Once the ingredients are gathered and combined, making a grilled ham is easy!
Take a look down into the spiral sliced ham and notice the happy juice spreading through the interior:
The juiced ham is placed face-down and ready for the heat:
The grill is set up for indirect cooking with coals flanking the pan o’ ham with apricot wood added for a double smoke effect. Most any fruitwood will do but since this is an apricot glaze I thought I’d utilize my existing supply of apricot wood:
The soon to be grilled ham is on, smoke is rising, and it is time to close the lid on the grill and let the heat and smoke work their magic:
The lid on the Napoleon is closed, vents adjusted, and glaze bowl is nearby:
Expected grilling time is 12-13 minutes per pound at grill temperature of 325 degrees or until internal ham temperature is in the 140-150 range.
An hour into the cook the grill-glazed spiral ham is browning nicely but I’m concerned about drying out the tasty meat. There is significant caramelization of the sugars in the glaze ingredients. The aroma is rather amazing:
A coating of glaze is added approximately every 20 minutes:
Take a closer look at the effect the glaze is having on the exterior of the grill-glazed spiral ham above. If the amount of browning shown is a bit much for your taste simply apply a foil tent over the ham during the grilling process. The tent will provide protection from the heat and also hold in moisture.
Note: If you desire a heavy sugary glaze, now would be the time to apply the sugar (during the last 20 minutes of grilling). The choice of sugar is very important. Regular white sugar doesn’t create the a great coating or crust. The best choice would be turbinado sugar or raw sugar available at most markets. Turbinado sugar has a higher burn point than regular sugar, 365 versus 325 degrees, and is coarser. Apply the sugar but stay nearby and watch closely to prevent burning. Burning is not a reversible process so pay close attention until the sugar is melted and caramelized. I did not choose this method for this grilling recipe but wanted to make you aware of the option.
A probe thermometer reads 145 after an hour and 45 minutes:
The ham is ready to be pulled from the grill and loosely tented in foil to rest for 10 minutes or so:
While the grilled ham settles down I’m going to prepare a bunch of asparagus spears on the grill for a side. No, I didn’t leave them in the icebox for 3 weeks. This is purple asparagus grown in Peru. Purple asparagus differs from green and white varieties by having higher sugar and lower fiber levels. Purple asparagus is so sweet it can be eaten raw:
The purple asparagus spears have been washed, stems snapped off, drizzled with olive oil, dusted with sea salt and coarse ground pepper, and tossed onto the grill right over the coals. The asparagus appears to change color to green as it cooks:
***Editor’s Note ~ When grilling purple asparagus (or green or white), put the delicate tips to the edge of the fire and the thicker stems over the hottest part of the fire so the entire stalk cooks evenly, like dad did here. There’s nothing worse than the tips being overdone and the stems still raw***
Carving along the natural contour of the grilled ham makes serving so easy:
Final internal temperature was 149 after a 10 minute resting period.
Grill-glazed spiral ham slice served with grilled purple asparagus on a bed of rice and grains:
The flavor imparted by glazing and smoking was mildly sweet as well as savory, and all around fantastic with that gooey, crispy caramelized exterior. Next time I attempt this grilling recipe I will remove the ham from the grill at a temp of 140 so more moisture will be retained. This effort wasn’t dry but I want to compare the two. This is a recipe I look forward to doing again and hope you give it a try and find the same enjoyment this Grillin’ Fool did. Oh, the asparagus? It was a much sweeter and milder flavor than the green version. If you see it available I suggest taking advantage of the opportunity and get it onto your grill.
If you have any questions or comments about this grilling recipe, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.
If you liked the grill-glazed spiral ham, you might like our other grilling recipes where we used pork found here.
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- ½ cup apricot jam or preserves
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Yoshida’s cooking sauce (substitute soy sauce if desired)
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp black pepper (not shown…how did I ever miss that?)
- ¼ tsp Ancho chile powder (substitute chipotle or cayenne as desired)
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp sage
- 1/16 tsp ground cloves
- 8 lb spiral sliced ham
- Combine all ingredients, except the ham, and mix well in medium-size bowl
- Next the glaze mixture will be added between each slice
- Place the ham flat side down in a disposable aluminum pan
- Set up the grill for indirect or two zone grilling with coals and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
- Target temperature inside the grill is 325
- Place aluminum pan over the side with no coals
- Cooking time is 12-13 minutes per pound to an internal temperature of 140-150 degrees
- Brush on another coat of glaze every 20 minutes throughout the cooking process
- Pull the ham from the grill when it hits 140 degrees and let rest for 10 minutes so the juices redistribute throughout the meat