Big Game Hunting photo

After a pig hunt in Texas last spring, I brought home two bone-in hams from a small sow that I’ve been saving for something special. Here is one of them—a cured and smoked bone-in ham with a maple-whiskey glaze. A fresh ham can be intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. The smoking process is actually quite simple, but does take a week or so for the cure to do its thing. After that, it’s a simple smoke interrupted a few times to brush the glaze on the ham. This ham made for a nice Saturday project on a beautiful day before hunting season starts in earnest.

Smoked Wild Pig Ham

6 to 9 lb. wild pig ham, bone in

1 ½ cups kosher salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 Tbsp. pink salt (Insta Cure No. 1)
2 quarts cold water, plus more to cover

½ cup whiskey
½ cup apple juice
1 cup maple syrup

In a large, non-reactive container, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the water and stir until all the dry ingredients are dissolved.

Using a meat syringe, inject the ham with brine in several places. Pay particular attention to the area around the bone and any thicker areas of the ham.

Submerge the ham the brine, using a weighted plate to hold the meat under the surface of the water and adding more water if necessary. (I’ve been using this inexpensive plastic bucket and locking plate with much success.)

Place the brine bucket in the refrigerator and let it cure for 7 to 8 days.

The day of smoking: Combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced by half.

Remove the ham from the brine solution and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and place on a rack to dry for an hour or two.

Move the ham to the smoker and cook with heavy smoke at 200 to 225 degrees for two hours. At the two-hour mark, brush the ham with the glaze. Continue glazing the ham every hour until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees. At this point, remove the ham from the smoker, glaze again, and wrap well in tinfoil. Let the ham rest for an hour before slicing and serving.