Honey-Glazed Smoked Ham

5 from 10 votes
Jump to Recipe

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

sliced honey glazed ham on a cutting board

Smoked ham is one of the easiest hams to make, either from store-bought pork or wild pigs, if you are a hunter.

This traditional Easter smoked ham, honey-glazed, is a cooked ham that is easy to make if you have a smoker. If you want to make this ham for Easter Sunday, you’ll need to start a couple days ahead of time. This ham is cured, then smoked and glazed.

Consider this a baseline recipe. You can scale it up or down, depending on the size of the ham. Cure time is about 12 hours per pound of meat for a light cure, 24 hours per pound for a more traditional ham cure. Smoking is also variable.

I’d say you need at least 2 hours to get even a light smoke on, and you can go all day if you like it smoky. Wood’s also your call: I prefer fruit woods here, but nut woods or oak or alder or mesquite would work, too.

You can play with the sweetener as well. I chose honey, but brown sugar is more traditional, and you could use molasses, maple syrup, birch syrup, agave nectar or some fruit syrup. Whatever floats your boat.

Finally, how do you eat it? Sliced, like on Easter Sunday, or cold, as sandwich meat, which I prefer. This recipe makes awesome cold cuts.

honey glazed ham right out of the smoker

You will need to get your hands on curing salt for this recipe, otherwise it won’t be a ham — the curing salt provides that rosy color and “ham” flavor you’re looking for. I use Instacure No. 1, which you can buy online or in good butcher shops.

Also, this recipe requires time. Curing time and smoking time. Also, when the ham is ready, let it rest for a solid 15 minutes before you slice into it. It’s actually just as good cold. Once made, your hams should keep for a week to 10 days in the fridge, and they freeze well if vacuum sealed or tightly wrapped.

If you feel like it, go ahead and stick cloves in the ham like you would with an Easter ham. I never did like this too much, so I didn’t.

honey glazed ham recipe
5 from 10 votes

Honey Glazed Smoked Ham

I do this with the large muscle group on the back of the ham, which would be a rump roast in a cow or a culatello in Italian charcuterie. But the exact cut isn't as important as just a big ole' hunk of hind leg. I am using a wild pig here, but domesticated pork is fine, as would hams from a bear.
Course: Cured Meat
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 or 2 skinless hams, each about 2 to 4 pounds
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Instacure No. 1
  • 1/2 cup honey


  • Mix the salt, curing salt, sugar and a half-gallon of water until the salt dissolves. Submerge the hams in the brine for 2 to 4 days in the fridge. The longer you brine the hams, the saltier they will be, and the rosier they will get from the cure. For 2 1/2-pound hams I cured for 48 hours and they came out very lightly cured, which I like. If you prefer a more traditional "ham-ier" flavor, go a bit longer.
  • When you are ready to smoke, take the hams out, pat them dry with paper towels and set them on a wire rack in a cool, breezy place. I put mine on the kitchen table under the ceiling fan with the window open. Let them sit there for 2 to 3 hours, so they can dry a bit and develop the pellicle that helps the surface of the hams take the smoke better. You can also leave them in the fridge uncovered overnight.
  • Smoke over your favorite wood (I used cherry) for 2 hours, getting the smoker's temperature up to 200°F in this time. Meanwhile, heat the honey in a little pot so it will flow better. At the 2-hour mark, paint the hams with the honey. Paint again every hour until you are done smoking.
  • You can finish the hams entirely in the smoker, painting with honey every hour until you get an internal temperature of 160°F to 175°F, or you can do what I do, which is to finish the ham in the oven. To do this, I move the hams from the smoker to a preheated 375°F oven, painting them with honey every 20 minutes. I like this better because the final hot temperatures fully cook the ham and the honey caramelizes nicely, which doesn't happen so well at the low temps of the smoker.
  • Let the hams cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or cold.


Calories: 80kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 4717mg | Potassium: 13mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

You May Also Like

Fish Sausage

A fish sausage recipe that isn’t fishy and tastes great grilled or seared. Homemade fish sausage isn’t hard to make and will work with most fish.

Spanish Fuet Sausage

How to make Spanish fuet sausage at home. Fuet is a long, thin salami-style sausage lightly seasoned with garlic, white pepper and wine.

British Game Pie

How to make hand-raised pies with game. This one is a huntsman’s pie, an English classic hand pie made with a hot water crust.

Venison Salami

How to make venison salami at home. This is a basic salami recipe, but dry curing sausage requires some skill before you try it. I’ll show you how.

About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. I’m going on your Texas hog hunting trip in May! This recipe just made me decide to have some cut into small hams!!!!

  2. If I’m using a single smaller ham (1.5 lb), can I just keep the same brine ingredient quantities you’ve listed here? I’ve read elsewhere about the risk of scaling curing ingredients, so I just want to make sure I’m getting it right. Thanks!

  3. Can I please re-visit the no-nitrate question? If I cured my ham without the nitrates and then froze it, would it retain its color and flavor? Thanks in advance for you answer and thanks for your great website! I’m not particularly against nitrates, just wondering if I could skip them since I keep my meats in a deep freezer anyway.

    1. Meaghan: No. It won’t, sorry. It will be perfectly safe to eat, but it won’t taste “hammy” and will turn gray when you cook it.

  4. Recently I got a recipe for smoked meat which calls for 60 grams of insta cure #1.It says to mix with 4 liters of water plus the other salts, picklings spices.The meat is about 3 lbs. Does this sound like too much insta cure. Thanks.

    1. Bruce: Whatever wood you want. It’s a personal choice. I like cherry wood. How long? Until it’s done. At least 3 hours, and probably 4 or 5.

  5. I go to our Rod and Gun Clubs Banquet every year and love the bear ham that is served there but no one seems to want to give me the recipe.I was wondering if you or any of the people on your site would like to impart with a recipe for bear hams

    Thank You

  6. Quick Question about ham, I had a fresh boneless ham about 12 lbs that i decided to cure with a friend of mine. We used the pink curing powder and salt and brown sugar in a ratio for old style country ham. We rubbed it inside and out and hung it in a walkin cooler for the past 43 days. It has cured nicely turning a walnut brown on the outside, lost about 1/3 of weight and has very little white mold build up that has been washed off with vinegar and water solution. I am planning on smoking it soon and putting it back in the cooler to continue drying. my question is how long should I smoke it and how long should I hold it afterwards until its ready to eat? Any insight would be a big help, this is my first ham. Thank you!!!!

  7. I raise Berkshires, and I butcher them much bigger than the commercially acceptable weights (400 versus 250 or so). For really big muscle groups (whole legs, etc) that are getting instacure, I basically go one day per two inches of thickness, plus some more if you have a real big porker. In some cases, we’re talking 30+ day cures.

    At the end of that you have some really salty meat on the exterior layers. So next step is to soak that boy in cold water for a few hours, and probably swap out fresh water every hour or so. Then you need to let it rest a day or two to equalize the salt (outside versus inside salinity). Then smoke it carefully.

    It works, but like Hank I seriously suggest breaking those things down. Butcher around the bone and don’t slice the leg across – that’s not a ham, it’s a big steak.

    The novelty of a real big ham is nice the first time, but if you mess up you pay more. I’d say the most common mistake you’ll make here is too salty, but I have seen some people end up with bad hams: mushy exteriors (too wet during cure) or punk interior (cure didn’t get to the center before it went ugly).

    I have done this successfully, but still consider it a novelty.

    Hank’s recipe is a great place to start. You could add some more flavor, but be careful not to go overboard. You don’t want to lose the pork flavor under added spice. I tend to like (as do our guests) a little crushed juniper berry to offset the sweetness of “whatever”.

    Good luck.

  8. Anthony: Sorry man, but I’ve never done that. I am sure there are some recipes online. Basically you’d need to salt cure it for a couple weeks at least before smoking. I rarely deal with whole muscles that large – I break them down.

  9. How would I cure and smoke a 22lb ham? I bought and had a pig butchered and had one whole ham not cured or cooked so I could try it myself. Could you help with a recipe, I like a salty smoky ham.
    Thanks, Anthony Meudt

  10. Michael: Cure it longer. It is simply a question of time. Eventually the cure will reach the center.

  11. Hi Hank, can you advise on a problem I’m having? My hams never cure through to the middle(or corned beef for that matter) I always have a pork spot running through. Even brining for 24hrs per pound doesn’t help, I always rest it overnight after removing and I tend to add extra salt and cure as I like a strong ham. Any idea what’s going on?

  12. Hank, thanks for the intel on the InstaCure. The problem is that nitrates and nitrites are triggers for my wife’s migraines, thus the search for a way to cure meat without either. The search continues.

  13. I made this for Easter and used brown sugar as sweetener. I like the traditional taste. It was perfect.

  14. Hank, this guy https://benstarr.com/blog/curing-wild-boar/ cures his boar hams without the skin. I know that’s not how they do it in Spain or Italy, but it seems to work. I have one hanging for 8 months now, cured without skin, no nitrite, just salt. It has a little white mold but nothing else. I salted it and refrigerated it for 6 weeks, then hung in a cool spot to continue to dry. From what I’ve read the salt/refrigeration keeps the bacteria from getting a start at the beginning, then the dry cure after 6 weeks will kill trichina. Trichina is gone completely after total 3 months, and after that it just develops flavor. It’s my first wild boar ham and I don’t plan to slice it until it’s a year old. I’ll let you know how it works, but any thoughts on this process? Isn’t it true that Prosciutto and Iberico don’t use Nitrite?

  15. Hank, I usually cure a couple of deer hams every year but I have always dry cured them with Morten’s sugar cure. I have been wanting to try a brine cure but am a little nervous about it and just haven’t gotten around to doing it. What differences can I expect with a brine cure.

  16. I’ve been looking for a recipe like this. I recently purchased and butchered half a pig and wanted to make a couple of small hams instead of a big honking one.
    Thanks, Hank!

  17. Sean: No. And you should not be scared of sodium nitrite, which is what Instacure No. 1 is, not sodium nitrate. It and its predecessor, potassium nitrate, have been used for 2000 years in charcuterie. The “science” behind nitrite and nitrate as being bad for you is deeply flawed and involves so much of the stuff you’d never, ever eat it. If you just don’t want to go buy it, you can cure the ham without it, but it will be gray and will not taste like ham.

  18. Delicious! That’s a great, and easy recipe. One question, though. Is there any way to cure a ham without the use of sodium nitrate that will produce similar results? Thanks.