Ham is such a popular dish during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re new to owning a pellet grill, you may be wondering how to cook a ham on a Pit Boss pellet grill. No matter whether you liked honey-glazed, BBQ Maple, brown sugar glazed, etc, the process of cooking it on the pellet grill is pretty much the same.
Smoking Ham On A Pit Boss Pellet Grill
If you are looking to give your holiday guests something unexpected, smoked ham might be it! In addition, the grill does most of the work. To cook the perfect ham, you’ll need the following:
- A Pit Boss pellet grill
- The proper cooking method
- Your favorite ingredients
- The right thermometer
- Patience (it’s going to take some time)
- The side dishes of your choice
This may sound complicated, especially, if you’ve never cooked a ham on your Pit Boss grill. However, I’ll break it down into simple steps.
Choose Your Ham
Cooking the perfect ham on a pellet grill all starts by choosing the right ham. Most people (myself included) have no clue about all the types of hams available for purchase for your holiday dinner.
At the time of this writing, there are three types of ham available for purchase in the United States.
Fresh hams: An uncured leg of pork, that must be fully cooked before eating. Fresh ham is difficult to find in grocery stores because people prefer cured hams. If you’re looking for one, you’ll have to buy directly from the butcher or farmer. This cut of ham can last for up to 6 months in the freezer and 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
Country hams: A southern ham that has been dry-cured, meaning they have been heavily salted and seasonings., smoked, then aged for three months or more before being sold. Curing the ham allows it to be preserved for longer periods of time, but it also yields a salty flavor that may not appeal to everyone’s palate.
Country hams are most commonly found in grocery stores and meat markets during the holidays. Unfortunately, they can be quite expensive because of the aging process.
City Ham: A bone-in, bone-out ham that is the most popular cut, easily found in most grocery stores. This cut is injected with brine made of sugar, salt, seasonings, and curing agents, resulting in a mild juicy flavor. (sometimes the smoke gets smoked for added flavors such as hickory, cherry, oak, etc.)
Unlike country ham, less water is used, making it more tender and moist. Bone-in hams are often more popular for smoking as they cook more evenly since the bone conducts heat. Also, as the ham cooks, proteins such as collagen, albumin are released providing a nutritious, tasteful meal.
In addition, experienced cooks save the bone to make a hambone or bone-in soup.
Ham Can Be Purchased As:
- Boneless: A machine-carved ham without a bone, that is available for purchase as a half, mini, or petite ham.
- Half Ham Bone-In: A cut of ham that comes from the upper portion of the butt, therefore contains more meat. However, it is difficult to cut.
- Spiralized or Spiral Cut: A spiral cut ham that is easier to carve and slice.
- Whole Ham Bone-In: As the name sounds, this cut contains a large bone in the middle. It takes the longest to cook but can feed a large crowd. The cut consists of the butt and shank of the leg.
Rub The Ham With Your Favorite Spices
Once you’ve chosen your ham, it’s time to rub the ham with your favorite spices. Though most people think that this step is optional, but it’s actually an important step in cooking a ham on your Pit Boss pellet grill.
The first thing you need to do is remove the excess salt from the outside of the ham. This will allow the delicious flavor of the spices to take center stage.
To remove all of the excess salt, use a paper towel or dishcloth and pat the liquid out from the outside of the meat. If it’s still too salty, you can also soak it in fresh, cold water.
Simply place it in a container of water, cover with a lid or aluminum foil and then put it in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours before cooking it.
The longer you soak it, the less salty it will be. Don’t forget to replace the water with fresh water every 2 hours. This prevents the ham from sitting in salty water and also reduces the chance of bacteria growth.
Next, sprinkle your favorite spices (sugar, brown sugar, thyme, sage, etc) on both sides of your ham and rub them in to make sure they
How To Cook A Ham On A Pit Boss Pellet Grill
The Pit Boss is one of the best ways to prepare your holiday ham. Below are the steps to follow, and they are the same regardless of what type of pellet grill you own.
Preheat The Grill
If you want to smoke the ham for a while before turning the grill higher, you’ll want to set the grill to the smoke setting. So how long do you smoke it for? Well, a good rule is for every pound of your ham, you’ll want to smoke it for 15 minutes.
Otherwise, preheat the grill between 225°-250°Farenheit. Don’t worry, you’ll still get a good smoke flavor, even if you don’t set the grill to the smoke setting.
Remember, you don’t want to cook it too fast.
Personally, I never change the P-setting on my grill and cook most foods on the default P-4 setting. This may vary for you, so you’ll want to understand how to use the P-setting to see if it affects your cooking time.
If you live in an area where there’s snow on the ground during the holidays, you’ll likely have to change the P-setting. Here are the best P-settings for cold temperatures.
I live in a warm climate year-round, the coldest it gets is around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, so I don’t have to worry about changing the P-setting.
Place The Ham On A Cooling Rack
Once the ham is prepped, and the grill is preheated, it’s time to put it on the grill. To make sure your ham is cooked evenly, you’ll want to place a wire rack or cooling rack on top and then place the ham directly on top of that.
This will allow the heat from the grill to cook evenly and also keep the bottom of the ham from getting too charred. Make sure you keep the flame broiler plate closed, as you’ll want to cook the ham over indirect heat.
Glazing The Ham
Once the ham has been cooking for about two hours, it’s time to glaze it This will help enhance the flavor of the meat and helps keep the ham moist and tender in texture.
All you have to do is take about 1/2 cup of water or pineapple juice and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Here’s a great recipe to follow for a brown sugar ham glaze.
Bring it to a boil while stirring until the mixture thickens before lowering the heat and pouring on top of the ham.
Use a basting brush to lather the ham. Place the ham in an aluminum pan, and place it back into the pellet grill for another 20-30 minutes or until done.
You’ll notice that your ham starts to caramelize and develops a nice crust around it, which adds a lot of flavors.
Monitor The Internal Temperature
Use both the Pit Boss meat probes and a handheld thermometer. The probes will allow you to monitor the cooking time without having to continually open the lid. Once the ham has been on the grill and before glazing the ham, you can use the handheld thermometer to make sure it is cooking thoroughly.
How Long Does It Take To Cook A Ham On A Pit Boss?
Plan for a 2-hour cooking process, but if the ham is thicker, it can take 3 hours or more. No matter how long it takes, you’ll want to cook it to a safe internal temperature of 145°F. Already cooked hams need to be heated to 140°Farenheit.
The time it takes for the ham to cook on a Pit Boss will depend on the type of ham you use and how thick it is, outside temperature, and the cooking temperature
The average size of a ham when you purchase one may be anywhere from 10-18 pounds. The larger hams will take longer to cook than smaller ones.
It’s important to develop patience as hams are best when they are cooked low and slow. Cooking it too fast will result in a dry, ham that ruins your holiday meal.
Best Pellets to Use for Cooking Ham On A Pit Boss?
Hickory pellets are the “go-to” pellets for long, slow cooks. They release a strong flavor that compliments several types of meats, including ham. That said, I’ve personally used maple, cherry, and the Pit Boss competition blend.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, as that’s the only way you’ll know which pellet flavors you like best.
What Sides to Serve With Ham
Ham goes great with a lot of different sides, depending on the occasion. Whether you’re serving it for Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, it goes well with mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn, peas, or macaroni and cheese.
For the holidays I like to add some glazed carrots on the side as well, and don’t forget the dinner rolls!
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of your favorite sides. If you’re stuck, then browse the Internet and you won’t have any issues coming up with some great sides to serve with your holiday ham.
No matter the size of your ham, it’s important to cook it low and slow. If you’re using a Pit Boss pellet grill for cooking, we recommend choosing from one of these best pellets that work well with this type of smoker: cherry wood or hickory smoke flavor.
Using the right pellets, slow cooking method, indirect heat, and a tasty glaze will have people wanting you to cook next year’s holiday meal!