How to Do Low&Slow BBQ Picnic Ham




I will show you how to do an low and slow slicable BBQ picnic ham. For this instructable I am doing a slicable ham, 180 degrees which should be done in about 6 hours. You can continue to cook the ham about another hour (until it's190 degrees), and have Pulled Pork

Step 1: What You Will Need:

1) A water bbq smoker
2) A picnic ham 7-9 lbs and a storage bag that will hold it
3) A sharp knife to remove fat cap
4) A Spice Rub
5) Butchers cotton twine
6) 3 cinder blocks with a grill grate
7) Charcoal brickettes
8) Wood chips and aluminum foil
9) An instant read thermometer

Step 2: Make a Spice Rub

There are many spice rub recipes on the Internet, but they all seem to contain a lot of sugar. I used to use these recipes, but after 6 hours, the meat would come out almost black. It was delicious, but to look at it you would think it was burnt. For presentation sake, I strive for a nice mahogany color when the meat is done.
My spice rub:
1 cup paprika
1 cup chili powder
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup garlic powder
3 TBL granulated sugar
1 tsp Black pepper
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 TBL molasses

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the molasses. Mix together with a fork, or in a mortar and pestal. It will still be a dry mix.

Step 3: Prepare the Picnic Ham

I remove the fat cap from the ham. Because I am using a Water BBQ Smoker, the meat stays juicy even without the fat cap.
Take a sharp knive and carfully remove the fat from the ham. If the ham is very cold, it makes the job easier.
Apply yellow mustard generously to the ham and apply a good coat of your rub mix to the outside. Then do the other side. Note: The mustard gives the spice something to stick to, but will cook away and leave the spice rub on the ham. Although called a rub, don't rub it in.
Put the ham in a large freezer storage bag and refrigerate from overnight to 24 hours.

Step 4: Smoking Day

Take your Ham out of the refrigerator while you set up your smoker and start the coals. Soak about a cup of wood chips in water.
I take 2 cinder block and put an old BBQ grate I found being tossed out over them and add another on top for a impro charcoal starter. Add some paper through the grate. If you have any of the match-lite type charcoals, you can put 4 on the bottom of regular carcoal to help start them. Start with about 40 brickettes of charcoal. Light them up.
Fill the water pan 3/4 full of water to begin. The ham will release fat into the pan and you don't want it to run over onto the coals.
Make a foil package of the woodchips to put on the coals.
Put the ham on the top grate and cover.
Wait until the coals are covered with a white ash before putting them into the smoker. Add the chips over the coals.
You will be making and using 3 of these wood chip packs 1 an hour for the first 3 hours. You will also have to add an additional 16 charcoals every hour for the total cooking time of 6 hours.

Step 5: Keep the Smoker at 225 Degrees for 6 Hours. Start Check of Temp at 5

I try to keep the temperature at 225 degrees but no higher than 250 degrees. I don't have vents on my lid, so I have to use the door to let excess heat out if needed. By adding 16 coals every hour, I haven't run into the problem of not being hot enough. I plan on cooking the ham for 6 hours, but start checking after 5 hours. I want a temperature of 180 degrees because I want the ham slicable. If you cook until 190 degrees, about 1 additional hour you will have pulled pork. Both are good, it just depends what you're going for.



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    8 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 2

    I do a lot of BBQ, so make a large batch.  You don't use the entire batch at once.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I particularly liked your method for starting coals. Very creative. I will use it. Nice coloring on the ham. Why is the Ham tied?

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    It helps moving on and off the smoker using tongs without disturbing the spicerub. I BBQ'ed this weekend and didn't have any "matchlight" charcoals to put on the bottom. I put 4 cpals in the bottoms of the cinderblocks, put a little bit of lighter fluid and filled the balance with regular charcoal. I just like the insurance that the coals will start and I won't have to start all over again but I'm not using a ton of fluid either to taint the food.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great looking ham! @atombomb1945: There's a product out there that will turn your Weber charcoal grill into a water smoker. It's called the Smokenator 1000. Google it and you will find the site. I don't one one of these YET, but based on everything that I've read about it, I plan to in a few months. Once I get it, I'll have to try this ham! BTW, I don't work for Smokenator or something, but I like to recommend good products when I see them. I know that this site is all about building your own appliances rather than buying them, but cooking a ham (or brisket, ribs, etc.) on a Weber grill can be done quite tastily :-)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice. Any thoughts on doing this in a plain old Weber Grill? Would it work (without the smoking part that is) if I could keep the coals going for six hours?

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yes it would work, but you would have to set the Weber up for indirect grilling. Without the water pan, I would leave the fat cap on the meat to keep it juicy and because of this the meat would naturally take additional time. Also make sure you put a pan under the meat because with the fat cap there will be more drippings. Another option is to remove the cap, spice rub and when you put it on the Weber put the fat cap over it. Once you get some BBQ, you can't quit!