What a delightful thing it is to awaken to the savory aroma of smoked ham, and the warm banter of a house full of contented family. It was Easter, and as the day would have it, we had some family over to the pit to celebrate our Savior’s victory all those many years ago. And after the festivities were done, and our bellies were filled, we sort of bandied off to various sectors of the house, some to play games, others to watch a movie perhaps, and still others, like me, who sought a comfy locale in which to go “belly-up” for a bit. And that’s what I done did. The long-honored and highly esteemed privilege of the pit master. I took a nap.
Wake Up and Smell the Ham
Not all that exciting, I suppose, but for me, you understand, it was an event to rival a home run in the World Series. Okay, I have low standards, but even so, I love to nap. It’s my hobby these days. One of which , I find, I seem to get better and better at with advancing years. There is just something about a well-placed nap that sets a bloke off right. It syncs a soul into the proper speed, perhaps. A worthy speed for disciplines of patience, such as the BBQ Arts, but also an over all suitable gait for general life enjoyment as well. You see, taking a nap slows you down, and that right there is the most important thing it does. It says to yourself and the world around you, that for a while at least, you’re in no hurry. That you’re content in this present moment, and you’re doing precisely that which is well with your soul. Oh, I adore a good nap.
Thus, I melted into the couch with an abundance of soft pillows and drapey blankets. The soothing banter of family took up the acoustic back ground. Some movie also, played quietly on the TV. There is something intriguingly intoxicating about background murmur. The sounds you hear, but don’t really listen too. They ensconce around you like an acoustic gramma blanket almost. Anyways, I wiggled in, pillows situated just right. My eyes drooping like a pair of wet underwear. And my deeds as a pit keeper met yet again, for another Easter. Indeed, a belly full of ham and a long string of “Z’s”. I was content, but before I doze off, let me tell you a little more about this Easter ham. And how it went and came to be.
Hams are easy smokes, by and by. Unless you buy them green, or uncured, all the work is already done for you. Shucks, you don’t even have to cook it if you don’t want to, as most ham is cooked and ready to eat cold, right out of the package. In point of fact, most hams come smoked already too. So what’s a pit master need really to do then with a ham? Well, the obvious answer is to smoke it again! And that’s just what we did. The double smoke!
Match The Smoke
If you ever want to amp up the flavor of your run of the mill ham by ten fold, this is how to do it. Look on the package and see what kind of wood was used to smoke the ham, and then sort through your wood larders and see if you’ve got the same. Match the smoke if you can, just so you can maintain a certain tidiness about things. If not, apple wood is an excellent choice. Hickory too, and pecan wood is always wonderful as well.
Whilst the smoker was coming up to speed, we rubbed the ham down in a cheap yellow mustard. Rubbed it all over like a bronzed Ecuadorian smearing on his sun tan lotion. The mustard rub is not for flavor of course, which many newbies think it is. Nay, it is your adhesive agent, varnished there to help hold your rub longer to the ham. And our rub today was about as simple as it gets – brown sugar. Feel free to add a little cinnamon and nutmeg to the ensemble, as I forgot to do that in my enthusiasm. We also lanced a few pineapple rings to the old ham for to serve as a self-basting sort of mechanism, but in truth, we did it mostly because it looks cool.
From there it was a slow ride in the Weber Smokey Mountain, at 225 degrees, bathed in a cloak of hickory smoke. A span of clock reaching about 3 hours, I should say, until the internal temperature of the ham reached 135 degrees. That is more than enough time to practice your pit master posture, in your favorite BBQ chair. Lovely beverage in hand, the world twirling slowly about you. Stately plumes of wood smoke curling from your old pit damper. Song birds rejoicing from yonder tree tops. This is our time, people, our privilege patron to the Smokey Arts!
Near the end of the cook, we glazed the meat lightly with some home made maple syrup, fresh from my brother’s tree. Don’t get too much better than that, folks!
And so it was, after the festivities were done, and our bellies were filled, we sort of bandied off to various sectors of the house. To do our bidding as it were. And it wasn’t too long before I was buried in a warm blanket, belly-up, head listing partial to the left, with a faint trail of drool accumulating in my down stream lip pit. The soft banter of family, a full belly, and the warm confide of a nap. Man! And for a while at least, and maybe even longer than that, all was right on Easter Day. Amen.
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him – Romans 6:9