Last Minute Low Stress Applewood Smoked Fresh Holiday Ham

Well, it has been my intention to dazzle you with a phenomenal apple brined and smoked Christmas ham recipe.

Alas, in a fit of insanity after Thanksgiving,

I decided the entire house should be painted before all the Christmas holiday guests arrive. So much for keeping things simple and stress-free, eh?

Last Minute Christmas Ham

I want to share with you a delicious recipe for a last minute fresh ham you can cook & smoke right on your grill. This way your husband can be responsible for the main dish while you stay relaxed & cozy in front of the fireplace with your eggnog and cookies.

All you need is 24 hours!

You can pull the ham from the freezer on Christmas Eve morning and leave it out to thaw (yes, on the counter!!) until Christmas morning then rub it with the seasonings and get it on the grill.

This recipe uses the Amazen Smoke Tube I recommended in my recent Holiday Real Food Gift Guide. No, it is not necessary to smoke this ham, just cooking it on the grill (or in your oven at the same temperature) will produce a lovely and delicious fresh ham.

Fresh Holiday Ham Post.jpg

Applewood Smoked Maple Sage Fresh Ham

Total Prep Time: 24 hours (for thawing) plus 30 minute prep   Cook Time: 3-½ to 4 hours


  • 7-9 lb Foggy Knob Farm Half Ham
  • 1 T dried sage or 2 T fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 T coarse salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 T olive oil, melted butter or lard
  • ½ cup maple syrup


  • Amazen Smoke Tube
  • Applewood smoke pellets
  • Foil pan
  • Charcoal or propane grill


  1. Score fat on ham with a sharp knife, making a diamond pattern.
  2. Brush the ham with the olive oil, butter, or lard, and rub with the sage, salt, and pepper. Rest at room temperature for 15-30 minutes while you start the grill.
  3. Place a large, disposable foil pan underneath the grill grate to catch drippings. Start a fire on one end of the grill. You will be cooking the ham on the other side of the grill for indirect cooking, 250-350 degrees.
  4. Fill your Amazen Smoke Tube with applewood pellets and light, per manufacturer’s instructions. Once smoking, place your tube over the flame end of the grill, opposite where the ham will be placed.
  5. Place ham on grill grates over the foil pan and close the lid on the grill. Cook ham on low heat, keeping the grill as close to 325 degrees as possible. Alternately, place the ham in a roasting pan and in your oven at 325 degrees for the same amount of time. Just skip the smoke tube, unless you want to set off the smoke alarm.
  6. After 3 hours, brush the ham with a ¼ cup of maple syrup. Cook for another 30 minutes.
  7. Baste ham with the remaining maple syrup and continue to cook until the temperature of the ham at its thickest point reads 145-150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes more.
  8. When ham is at the proper temperature, transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Slice ham and serve with your favorite side dishes!

Now that’s pretty easy, isn’t it? So be don’t be like me and decide to paint your house and renovate your bathroom between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Keep your holiday simple and low key!

I’ll be back in the New Year! In the meantime, Merry Christmas and enjoy this time with your family and friends!

God bless!


*Adapted from Weber's Smoke and The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbooks.