From hanging Christmas lights to shoveling the walkway, we always have more to do than we have time for over the holiday season. If the season is truly about giving, we should give ourselves a break whenever we can! Christmas dinner, for example, has the potential to consume all of our time and energy, leaving us too exhausted or distracted to enjoy our guests’ company. The perfect solution? A grilled Christmas ham! This crowd-pleasing holiday meat comes pre-loaded with succulent flavor and nearly ready to serve. All that’s left to do is add some heat – and any excuse to use the grill is good enough for us!
While we can always opt for an uncooked ham, choosing a fully-cooked, spiral cut ham will save us precious time without sacrificing flavor. With just some grilling and glazing, we’re already adding just enough of our own input to make it look, smell, and taste like a much more labor-intensive dish than it really is!
1. Watch the Temperature – When working with a fully-cooked ham, we’re really just heating the meat and letting the flame or coals from the grill impart that smoky flavor. Make sure to leave space between burners or coals so you can place your ham on indirect heat. Keep your grill no hotter than 260℉ while heating the ham to avoid burning it or drying it out. We highly recommend the Weber iGrill Thermometer to monitor the temperature for you – this savvy item connects via Bluetooth to an app on your phone!
2. Fuel Dictates Flavor – Keep in mind that the fuel source we use – be it propane, charcoal, or wood pellets – will add most of the flavor from the cooking process. If we have the option, charcoal or wood pellets add a much richer smoke flavor that elevates the sweetness of the pork. For wood pellets – we highly recommend the Apple, Hickory, or Pecan for exceptional flavor and you can convert any grill into a smoker with this universal Smoker Box.
3. Cut Side Down – Especially for spiral cut hams, it’s important to make sure the ham doesn’t fall apart during the grilling process, which would leave us with something more like pork jerky. Keep the ham together by resting it on the grill on the cut side, and avoid disturbing it.
4. Set Your Timer – The rule of thumb for grilling ham is to leave it on the grill for 10-12 minutes per pound of meat. Set a timer so you don’t forget!
5. Glazing Makes It Amazing – In the last 10-15 minutes of grilling, brush the ham with homemade glaze. A good glaze should combine savory notes with sweet ones for ultimate palette-pleasing. Try mixing beer with some Old Bay seasoning and dark brown sugar, or cola mixed with golden brown sugar and a little sea salt. Combine the sugar and liquids into a thick, sticky consistency that won’t slide off the ham. If time is of the essence – try using our Cinnamon Apple Jelly or Pineapple Ginger Sauce.
6. Let it Rest – After removing the ham from the grill, wrap it in tin foil and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes to prevent the juices from running out. Carve the rested ham, as needed, and serve with garnishes of fresh herbs or candied slices of fruit.
Just because the weather outside is frightful, doesn’t mean we can’t still grill up something delightful! Winter grilling requires a few adaptations from our summertime technique, but nothing a dedicated barbecue lover can’t handle.
Tip 1. Use a Grill Cover – A grill cover makes winter grilling easier and protects your grill from moisture and rust. When it’s time to fire it up, all we need to do is remove the cover, and the grill is ready to use.
Tip 2. Stock Up on Fuel – We’ll need a lot of heat to cook through a Midwestern winter! Make sure to have a full tank of propane or an extra supply of coals before grilling. Cold weather means the grill will use more fuel in less time. We fill propane tanks year round!
Tip 3. Don’t Peek! – Avoid the urge to open the lid of the grill too frequently. Heat retention is the most important part of winter grilling, and even opening the lid for a few seconds can waste fuel and set the grilling process back by much longer. Rely on timers and check inside only toward the end of grilling.
Tip 4. Use a Quality Grill – A grill that’s been kept in good repair will retain heat better, cook more evenly, and make the entire grilling process more enjoyable. That’s why we only offer Weber Grills – you can’t go wrong with a Weber.
Tip 5. Stay Safe – We can never be too safe when working with an open flame! Winter clothing can include potential hazards like flammable gloves, dangling scarves, and exposed skin. Check in the mirror for anything that could catch fire before starting the grill. After grilling, ensure equipment like propane tanks are properly sealed and stored away from extreme temperatures.
Even with a few extra steps to consider, winter grilling can be a huge time saver during one of the busiest times of the year. By choosing to grill this holiday, we can master the art of serving up a decadent feast while still having enough time to enjoy it. Now that’s a Christmas miracle!