Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

The Posture of a Pit Keeper: Pecan Smoked Honey Maple Ham

Pit Date: Easter Morning

Pit Weather: Cool. Light breeze out of the northwest. 

Two cute Chickadees lit on the feeder outside the patio door, chirping their song for the morning at large. Yapping it up, like tweety birds chickadeesdo, and poised to flirt, if not for the nearest shrubbery, then with each other. Classic signs of spring time in Minnesota. You see it everywhere. Squirrels, ducks, bar tenders, you name it. The males of the species putting on a bit of a show, or a rather over-the-top exhibition, if you will. On my morning commute last week, in point of fact, I came upon two wild turkeys, strutting up the sidewalk. One of them, the male I presume, was proudly puffed up, it’s tail fanned out, bold and beautiful, as it did a little disco dance right there along side the road. Stomping around, flaunting his tail feathers and such. Goofy creatures I thought, as I drove past with an air of smugness and superiority and general awe. I was sure glad that my species at least, had come far enough along in life to not have to resort to such humbling, petty measures. Well, leastwise, not all of us males would do such things. Certainly not this male. That is until I smoked the Easter ham. Indeed, I may have had a small relapse then, to my more primitive side. I digress.

You see, I was milling about the house Easter morn, getting the Weber Smokey Mountain ready for the day’s culinary sortie, and I was coming in from the garage with a brand new bag of charcoal perched on my shoulder, when I caught sight of myself in the mirror.

Shoot” I bellowed, “Now there’s a ruddy looking bloke!”

Ruddy. In my words, it means manly, and rather pleasant on the eyes. A condition usually spawned from a life out-of-doors.

I paused momentarily, to fully grasp the sight. I sported a light-weight red flannel smoking jacket, clashing with a pair of blue and green flannel pajama bottoms, brown leather boots with tongues that which hung forth like the fleshy namesakes of two over-heated bull dogs, and an old black ball cap that has seen the sweat of a thousand days. Not exactly a Sears and Roebuck model, but if flannel had a poster child this day, well, it was me!

The sound of my bride coming down the stairs snapped my attention clear of my evident self lust, but not enough so, turns out, to resist striking a manly pose for her, just the same. As her foot steps grew closer, I adjusted the 20 pound bag of charcoal on my shoulder, so she could better glimpse my bulging biceps, and taut mid section. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but listen, it’s my blog, and if I want a taut mid section, well then so be it. Anyways, my chiseled Norwegian jaw line took rather well in the morning light, and my gray steely eyes were trained on the metaphoric mountain tops whence she made her landing at the foot of the stairs.

Wow, you’re wearing a lot of flannel!” She croaked, looking right at me, “Have you started the ham yet?”

Well,  yes, I’m getting there in due time“, I said, whilst nonchalantly adjusting my pose . “Must not rush the pit processes you know.

Excellent“, she said, as she began to sort through the morning paper.

I waited a few moments for a comment on my ruddiness… Nothing.  I strutted past her with my bag of charcoal aloft, considering something relevant from the disco era to engage in, but I couldn’t think of anything, and soon gave up and headed for the patio. She was right tho, I best get the ham started, I guess. And I reckoned not even a turkey gets it right the first time. Anyway, here is how I lit up the pit.

IMG_0256 Known in the BBQ sciences as the Minion Method. It is the choicest of techniques for operating the Weber Smoke Mountain. It’s simple to do too. Simply dump a chimney of fiery hot coals into a donut of unlit coals. Done. The hot coals will slowly light the unlit coals next to them. And those coals in turn will light up the coals next to them. And so on. We did an article a long while back that goes more in-depth on this technique, The Long Burn: The Method of Jim Minion, and if you ever want to delve deeper into the smokey arts, it would be a good read for you. Anyways, once the pit was up to speed, 225 degrees, with a few chunks of pecan wood smoldering away, and after we scored the ham for better smoke penetration, we slathered the it in our finest cheap mustard first, then hit it over with a homemade ham rub consisting roughly of the following:


Home Made Patron Ham Rub

  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Turbinado Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika

The mustard slather is only to act as an adhesive agent. For reasons that are beyond my mere grasp, you do not taste the mustard whence the cook is complete. But the rub remains in all it’s glory. IMG_0259

Now here is where the pit does its magic. And where a pit master proper is to simply stay out-of-the-way. And that’s what I did. Doing such in a semi-reclined Roman banquet sort-of-way on the couch, which just barely allowed me to consume thy lovely beverage without the hassle of sitting up straight. But this tactic soon faltered, of course, and with the shrewd hands of gravity, I soon found my self “belly up”, with not a care in the world. Eye lids growing heavy, something educational played on the television, tho I couldn’t tell you what. I didn’t care. I was smoking meat, and for a while at least, that was all the entertainment I needed. I was exactly where I wanted to be, doing precisely that which was well with my soul. And I may or may not have dozed off during the high rigors of BBQ here, whilst those wonderful, pecan-scented tendrils of wood smoke pillared into beautiful, April sky.

Long about 135 degrees internal temp, about 4 hours, I stirred up enough motivation to concoct a simple maple honey glaze for the ham, and varnished it on in turn. Here is the recipe we used for the glaze. It weren’t too bad!


Honey Maple Glaze

  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Butter

At this point, we opened all the vents on the smoker to full throttle. The hotter it gets, the better things caramelize. But it turns out the smoker was low on fuel, and didn’t want to go much higher than it already was. But we muddled through it anyways, glaze and all, for poetic reasons alone. It is not shameful to use the oven tho, not to worry. Do what you gotta do. I just felt like ending the cook where it started- on the pit. Like I said, for the poetry. But keep an eye on it during the glazing process, less your sugars conspire against thee in a siege of burnt tidings upon your dear ham. It’s too late in the game to lose it all now. When your ham reaches 145 degrees internal, it’s ready for your people. Go any higher than that, and you risk drying it out.

And that is how a turkey smokes a ham on Easter day. Amen.

IMG_02674 Hour Pecan Smoked Ham with a Honey Maple Glaze. Man! If you’ve never done your ham on the pit yet, you’re missing out people!

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22 responses

  1. Now that’s a ham! 🙂

    April 9, 2015 at 9:15 am

    • And that ham has been consumed! Happy belated Easter, Kate. Thanks!

      April 9, 2015 at 9:17 am

  2. My mouth is watering at the thought of it!

    April 9, 2015 at 9:34 am

  3. Now your talking!!! I have yet to have a ham on a smoker or grill…. (gasp!)

    April 9, 2015 at 10:44 am

    • Oh man, how ever have you managed on all these years. Put David on the task, and never look back!

      Thanks!

      April 9, 2015 at 2:11 pm

  4. Hey, what do you know…I also have a taut mid-section! The wonders of WordPress 🙂

    April 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

  5. Oh my friend it is so good to hear from you again.

    We also made a ham for Easter, but we had to do if from scratch as there are no hams here where we live. So we bought a half leg of pork and brined it ourselves. It turned out great with a few hours of smoking in the Ecuadorian sunshine. Life is good.

    Belated Happy Easter to your and yours!

    April 9, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    • Wow! That’s kind of impressive, John. Well done old chap. Sounds like you made the very best of a hamless environment. Indeed I do say you did. Sounds like much fun. I’d love to try that someday myself in fact.

      Always a treat when you chime in. Many thanks, sir! Happy Easter!

      April 9, 2015 at 4:29 pm

  6. Well now. That looks very tasty sir, as in “I wanna bite”!

    April 9, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    • A few days late and a ham short my friend! But yeah, you would have liked it just fine. Can’t beat ham off the pit!

      Thanks for checking in Gldlubala!

      April 9, 2015 at 8:25 pm

  7. Another fine read…you sexy beast.

    April 10, 2015 at 8:29 am

  8. A pair of “rugged” hams Indeed (Both the pitmaster and the meat). All jest aside, have you tried curing a picnic shoulder yourself? Nothing like it in the world.

    April 10, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    • No I haven’t. And it’s one of the gaps in my meat knowledge I hope to correct some day. Sounds like a good time. Just like curing ones own bacon, which I have still yet to do. Oh yes, many projects for the pit yet to come. Thanks Mr Quincho! All the best my friend.

      April 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm

  9. I’m still trying to get over the image of you in your flannels. 🙂 The ham sounds great too.
    Cheers
    Laurie.

    April 11, 2015 at 5:12 am

    • Yeah, it was quite the sight! And I’m talking about the ham… I mean the meat! Never mind…

      Many thanks, Laurie!

      April 12, 2015 at 9:07 am

      • Yeah, I’d stop explaining while Iwas ahead too. 🙂

        April 12, 2015 at 4:36 pm

  10. Reblogged this on Cappuccino.

    April 11, 2015 at 6:34 pm

  11. 43 south, Ron Duke

    Happy belated Easter to you and yours !
    I do believe the red flannel smoking jacket and the flannel PJ’s would have indeed been a fine sight to behold, not that a handsome rooster like yourself needs to flash his feathers.
    Many thanks for the the food verse, it has truly made my evening.
    I do look forward to your next verse.

    Cheers

    Ron

    April 20, 2015 at 3:59 am

    • Many thanks, Ron. And likewise unto you. Hope you had a good Easter with some good eatin too. And as always, it is a treat when you chime in over here. Thanks for that!

      Cheers!

      April 20, 2015 at 8:57 am

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