Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

How to Lay Low: Cherry Smoked Black Friday Ham

Smoke Date: November 28, 2014

Location: Pond-Side Pit

Outside Temp: 23 Degrees F/Pit Temp: 251 Degrees F

About two miles away, there is a store. A big store, as stores go, and today they offer the very best deals for to sooth the mass consumerism that which has spawned upon it’s very flanks. And shoulder-to-shoulder the covenant die-hard will dutifully tread to and fro amid the fields of commerce. Racing head long to get their paws on that which they easily lived without just yesterday. Today is different, however. Today is Black Friday. The herds are on the move again. And we here at this blog know just how to handle such nauseum. We are well schooled, you see,  in the art of crowd avoidance techniques. Indeed, how to and with great effect, lay low from the masses. Thus, it is time to head out to the pit, of course, and smoke our Annual Black Friday Ham!


A light, but abiding sleet taps rapidly over the black enameled lid of the smoker. It’s almost up to speed now. Cherry smoke is stabilizing. A cold, November breeze swirls over the snow-encrusted pond, and mingles through the naked branches of the old Cottonwood tree. And the Chickadees flirt about, perch-to-perch, frolicking, or doing what ever it is that Chickadees do. I nary question their motives anymore. They are perhaps the hardiest little birds I know, spending the winter long living out-of-doors, seemingly giddy to be alive. Always fluffy. And always active. Our stalwart mascot of the winter pit! Anyways, let’s head inside shall we and get to that ham.




 Ingredients List

We prepared two things to get this ham started. A liquid base and/or baste. And a simple, sweet rub. Here is the recipes for both

Honey Ham Baste

  • 1/3 Cup Apple Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Honey

Bring these ingredients henceforth to a nice simmer, for to marry the flavors appropriately.

Patron Ham Rub

  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Turbinado Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika


First order is to score the ham a good 1/2 inch deep. This humble act will allow further penetration of both spice and smoke. Say what ever you want, but this is a good thing, people! So we scored the ham in an semi-attractive checker board pattern, and then lavished it with liberal brush strokes of the honey baste. Whilst wet, we then gave it a good coating of the ham rub too. And that’s that, folks. Take it at once out to the pit, and commence with what you do best!


This truly is where most pit junkies are at their finest. Or at least at their happiest. Whence the wood smoke begins to curl, there is a special, contented sort of mojo that which transpires across a pit keeper’s soul. Something about the curling plumes, and the aroma of meat on the low and slow, that sets a fellow at ease. We can at once draw a manly beverage, and prop our feet by the fire, and for a while at least, require very little else in this life. Indeed, we are privileged this way, to revel in the simple order patron to the pit. So I moseyed inside, and lit the fireplace there. Turned the man chair towards the heat, whilst maintaining a good line of sight out to the pit, which puffed serenely just past the frosty patio door. And as I leaned back, feeling the first waves of a nap slosh the shores of consciousness, I couldn’t help but to think of those mass herds of shopping folk, elbowing their way in and out of lines, chasing the ultimate bargain. Filling mini vans. Thinning wallets. Bringing home bountiful piles of stuff, for to add to their already mountainous piles of other stuff. Mercy. I nudged my feet a little closer to the fireplace, pulled a blanket over me, and did the only sensible thing I could divine at the time…


Baste and hit the ham with rub every hour or so


When I awoke, the ham was pretty far along. I gave it another baste, and dusted it over with another smattering of rub. The goal is to take its internal temperature up to 145 F. Higher than that tends to dry a ham out. Since most hams are already cooked, how hot you wish to make it is left to your discretion, of course. But 145 F seems to be a happy temp for most folks. This ham needed more time, a duty of which was my pleasure to ensure. And so I put the lid back on, and sidled through the door, returning from whence I came to my man chair still warm, for a few minutes more under a soft blanket, beside the crackling fire. Rigorous work indeed, this pit keeping. It is not for wimps, nor the faint of heart. You gotta work up to it, people! Thus, I nuzzled back into my nest, feet propped up just right, whilst the chickadees zipped past the window pane.

I repeated this process hourly, two more times in point of fact, before the ham was hot all the way through. A routine you should know, that you may become quite accustomed to. A most beautiful, intoxicating rhythm indeed, when Black Friday rolls around, or any day really, when you feel the re-occurring need to lay low. Amen.


Sweet and Smokey: Cherry-Smoked Honey Ham, fresh off the pit, sided with a heaping spoonful of homemade scallop potatoes, and a vegetable medley for to please the lady folks. Yum! You can do more popular things on Black Friday, I suppose, but why!!


33 responses

  1. Why, indeed?!? Looks like you spent your day in the most satisfying way possible. That ham looks great!

    God bless you and yours this Christmas season.

    December 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    • Thanks John. Oh yes, this is my favorite time of year by far. December always feels like one big party. I will roll a snow ball for you!

      December 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm

  2. You are a miracle-worker and I am nothing if not envious of the meal you got to eat.

    December 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm

  3. That is one sexy ham, a thing of beauty. Do you have snow??? looks white around the pit. Stay warm my friend.

    December 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    • Thank you kindly! Yup, we have a few inches in the yard. Came early in November and never bothered to leave yet. Winter has begun here, for sure. I love it.

      Take care!

      December 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm

  4. Are you sure you are not Southern? Having read that ham recipe I am wondering…

    December 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    • Well my mother is southern. That’s about all I can claim. Thank you kindly!

      December 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      • There had to be a southerner in the woodpile!

        December 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm

  5. Oh, my goodness! Your pics exude the delectable sweet smokiness of that pork that brings a tear to my eye. As you know, I have no shortage of wild pork. You must’ve, through a mental connection, known that I needed those recipes and instructions. Thanks.

    December 3, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    • Many thanks, Mrs Deerslayer. I can only imagine your holiday dinner spreads boast bountiful platters of perfectly prepared wild pork. Such is the expectation anyways, being Mrs Deerslayer. If you like a little sweet on your pork, these recipes are for you!

      Happy belated Thanksgiving, Mrs Deerslayer. Great to hear from you!

      December 3, 2014 at 9:47 pm

  6. Brian

    Poetic Justice !! Buying my ham tomorrow – greetings from Nashville, TN – any other Patrons in the Area ? Hit me up –

    December 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    • Many thanks, Brian. Dang, there’s patrons all over the globe. Gotta be some hiding out in Nashville. Good to hear from you, appreciate the comment. And have a great smoke with that ham!

      December 3, 2014 at 9:53 pm

  7. Oh, PotP. How you dazzle with your delectable recipes and your vibrant nature writing! Although my smoking typically comes from the business end of a briar pipe full of tobacco, much like you, I always enjoy sitting out in the cold watching the chickadees and their brethren as my smoke wafts off into oblivion.

    Exceptional post as always! Love the writing. Love the recipe. Love the blog. Keep it up, my friend!

    December 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    • Thanks man, really appreciate it when you chime in. I’m excited to see you back in the blogosphere again, for generally where you have been, you’ve left it better than when you found it. The mark of a good outdoors man, and person.

      Here’s to long respites, curling smoke, and tweety birds.


      December 3, 2014 at 9:58 pm

  8. That ham is stunning! Cushioned with a succulent, browned and honeyed layer of fat, I just long to cut myself a slice. Love those fluffy chickadees too.
    Glad to hear that you spent your day wisely. Here in the U.K people fighting each other in stores to grab televisions hit the news. I spent my day with the pest control man who came to advise me on the community of rats which are living in my garden. I hoped he would remove them in the style of The Pied Piper of Hamlyn, which sadly, was not possible. What he did say was that I had to stop feeding the birds, as the food which falls to the grown attracts all kinds of critters. This is advice that I really do not wish to take….anyway, I digress.
    Great post, as always.

    December 4, 2014 at 12:45 am

    • Greetings Karen,

      I feel your pain. I was told recently too, to stop feeding my beloved tweety birds, because of similar reasons. The moles were digging up the lawn, it seems, in the vicinity of the feeder. Stop feeding the birds they said, and the moles should go away…I dunno if I buy it tho. We’ll see I guess.

      Anyways, you would have liked the ham, I think. Many thanks, Karen!!

      December 4, 2014 at 9:24 am

  9. Looks very tasty. What brand of ham do you like?

    December 4, 2014 at 8:23 am

    • It turned out very tasty. I believe the brand of this one was from a company by the name of Elliot. The hams were pretty picked over. There were about three hams left in the supermarket after Thanksgiving. This was one of them. My favorite hams, however, I get from a local farm here in Minnesota.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      December 4, 2014 at 9:31 am

  10. I have begun to salivate like a dog. Great work as usual.

    December 4, 2014 at 8:44 am

    • TJ, that’s OK. We’ll wipe it up! Drool away, sir.

      Hope you had a good Thanksgiving, and an even better Christmas to come.

      Blessings TJ!

      December 4, 2014 at 9:33 am

  11. Looks killer! Gotta try this soon!

    December 4, 2014 at 10:24 am

    • Oh man, ham is so good! Comes already smoked, I know, but believe you me, you can smoke it again and amp up the flavor ten fold. Good times.

      Thanks Donald!

      December 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

  12. Lovely post, PoTP. Your description of the pitside demeanor is perfect – and that is a demeanor that only comes with the experience of knowing that you can’t rush good BBQ, and it doesn’t help if you rush it anyway. So my friends, as you aptly describe – it’s a race to the bottom. He who has learned to relax while the pit smokes away without worrying about it, wins. And you chaps are winners in the long run. Carry on, and stay warm.

    December 4, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    • Thanks for that, Mr Quincho! Yes, we are rather partial to the slow but steady way of doing things. I read once, in some narrative, that anything worth doing, is worth doing slowly. Of course I liked that line. I liked it a lot! And it applies to more things than just BBQ.

      Take care!

      December 4, 2014 at 7:09 pm

  13. Liz

    now THAT is a good tradition. Have never wanted to follow the masses to the stores day after Thanksgiving. Seems wrong somehow. But grilling a lovely ham (with cherrywood for goodness sake) seems very very right. The rub and base are perfect, too. You are wise patrons of that pit.

    December 4, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    • Ah thank you , Liz. Nothing any like-minded food lover such as yourself wouldn’t come up with. And I know, a ham the day after a turkey? What can I say….I like to eat!

      Thanks Liz!

      December 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm

  14. I noticed in one of the pictures that you had the ham on a roasting rack over a pan. BRILLIANT idea. The possibilities using this technique are endless! Now I know how to reserve pan juices when smoking. You my friend are nothing short of GENIOUS!

    December 5, 2014 at 6:07 am

    • Well golly, thanks Mr Dodd! No, it just seemed like a good thing to do, so I did it. The idea, of course, was to not only collect the juices, but to still be able to circulate the smoke under the ham. All worked fabulously. And oh yes, the applications are endless. I look forward to seeing what you might come up with!

      December 5, 2014 at 9:41 am

  15. Wow. The color on that ham is incredible and you definitely infused sweetness into with with all of the fruits and sugars!

    December 5, 2014 at 7:43 am

    • Thanks. Yeah, it was no doubt the sweetest ham I ever bit into. It was very good tho. Sugars and ham marry well, as you know.

      Anyways, many thanks!

      December 5, 2014 at 9:35 am

  16. Oh yeah! This just hit my to do list. I might try and work some bourbon into this somehow. Thanks PotP!

    December 7, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    • Thanks Bill, indeed a good ham smoke is always a contender for the to do list. And I reckon being the skilled pit keeper you are, you’ll figure out how to work that bourbon into it too. Love double smoked ham!

      Take care, Bill. Happy late Thanksgiving!

      December 7, 2014 at 6:17 pm

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