Honey-Glazed Smoked Ham

5 from 10 votes
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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!

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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.

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  1. I’m planning to brine a 5lb boar ham for about 3 days, but don’t have Instacure#1. What will happen if I don’t use the Instacure?

    1. Robbie: Then it won’t be a ham. Ham requires nitrite. You will be making smoked pork. Still good, but it won’t have that ham color or flavor.

  2. I just made this recipe from boneless feral hog hams for the second time with really good results both times.

    Thank you for a great recipe!

  3. If I use this recipe for small, young wild boar hams, do I need to reach a higher temp internally to break down the connective tissue? I know on your bbq shoulder recipe you recommend 185 but wasn’t sure if this applies here. And if so, how long does it need to hold at a certain high temp so it will be broken down properly?

      1. Thanks Hank! I love your podcasts and your recipes are phenomenal. Thanks for being you 🙂

  4. Do you have a recommendation for a non-sweet glaze? My father is diabetic so I try to stay away from sweet glazes. I have tried many of your recipes and bought a few books too I really enjoy your recipes!

    1. Sean: All glazes are by definition sweet. You can skip it and the ham will be perfectly fine. Thanks for the kind words!

  5. My desire to harvest another wild pig has been magnified by a factor of 10 as a result of this recipe. Due to a recent over-brining disaster with a brisket, I was concededly anxious when it came to the prolonged soak time. All of my misgivings were washed away with the first smokey, sweet and juicy bight. Wonderful recipe.

  6. If I smoke it and finish the ham in the oven, can I cool it and vacuum seal it, can I then freeze it for several months?

  7. I still ache to make prosciutto from my wild pig hams. Of course there is no skin, but wouldn’t they cure more like a gigantic jerky? (FYI – I’ve tried twice. Once I made the saltiest thing I’ve ever eaten, the other time, with less salt, I made blue cheese). There’s got to be a way. Would love your thoughts, even regarding any attempts that ended in failure.

    1. DD: Yes, bone it out and separate into individual roasts. Cure the large round one, which will basically be a culatello. Easier and more doable than a skinless prosciutto.

  8. Good evening. I have worked with your recipes in the bast with much success. So when I found a ham to cure, your site was my go to. The question I have is how many times do I need to multiply your recipe to cure a 21lb ham. I ask to make sure I do not use to little or to much instracure.
    Thank you in advance

  9. Hi Hank
    I’m wanting to serve warm ham on Christmas. My question is, can I cure and smoke my hams and then freeze before cooking until internal temperature reaches 160? I am wanting to cook it on Xmas day and not dry it out by reheating an already cooked ham.

    1. Danielle: It’s December 18. No way you can cure and smoke a ham in time for Christmas. But for future reference, yes, you can do that.

  10. Hank,
    I have been curing a 7 lb ham for about a week and I am going to smoke it tomorrow. In your directions you say you like it best when finished in the oven. At what point would you transfer from the smoker to the oven? At the 2hr mark? If you were transferring to the oven would you glaze in the smoker at all?
    Thank you!

    1. Sean: Depends on how much smoke you want for flavor. I might let a 7 pounder go 3 hours before moving to the oven, and yes. I’d start glazing it after 1 hour.

  11. Last year I used this recipe with a bear ham for Easter and it turned out fabulous. My guests, all non-hunters, enjoyed this “classic ham” recipe with a not so classic meat.

    This year I have almost 20 guests so I have two large wild boar rear hams curing in preparation for Sunday. I have no doubts that we’ll be enjoying a fantastic meal, I just hope there is enough leftover for ham and eggs next week.

  12. I just very successfully used this recipe to make hams with mountain lion hams. Every time I’ve eaten it, it’s been comparable to pork. When I was given meat from three lions this year I figured I’d try it and it’s great!

  13. Hello Hank, I’m just curious how long the cured smoked ham will keep if vacuum sealed? The best way I’ve eaten wild ham BTW!


  14. I have a 20 lb whole pork leg. I have two questions…
    Is it okay to double or triple ALL the curing ingredients to fully submerge this big piece of meat? Half a gallon of water won’t cover.
    Should I inject the curing liquid to get it into the deepest parts?

    Thank you!!

    p.s. – Just got my copy of Buck, Buck, Moose.. Love it!

  15. You said you like to finish in oven at 375. but do you just cook until the interior temperature of the ham reaches 160 to 175.

  16. Just did a couple 5lb hams from a wild hog. 72hrs in the brine was perfect. Used apple wood in the smoker. Great color, and flavor. not heavy salt.