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Cranberry Glazed Ham on the Goldens' Cast Iron

February 02, 2023

Cranberry Glazed Ham on the Goldens' Cast Iron

My Cranberry Glazed Ham is perfect for Christmas. This recipe combines a holiday favorite with one of the best seasonal flavors. When cranberries are mixed with sweet maple syrup, it creates a sticky glaze to die for. If you enjoy cranberry sauce with your turkey, you will love this fun recipe. 

The ham is double-smoked, once by the manufacturers and once throughout the cooking process, giving it extra flavor. Friends and family will talk about this main dish for days! It’s the perfect crowd-pleaser with festive flair. 

Cranberry Glazed Ham on the Goldens’ Cast Iron

This ham may look gourmet, but it’s as easy as they come. Your smoker does all the hard work! With a simple recipe, there’s no excuse not to have a full spread. Be sure to check out some of my serving ideas for inspiration. 

Don’t be surprised when the main course is your responsibility every year. After all, you can’t blame the crowd for wanting ham this good every year. 

The Ingredients

This recipe uses ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. No special orders here! With the holidays being hectic, a down-to-earth main dish is something we can all appreciate. Here’s what you need to add to your shopping list. 

  • Spiral-cut ham. The ham I purchased was about 10 pounds. Remember that you’ll have to adjust your cooking time if your ham differs in size. I love spiral-cut hams because the cuts allow you to get glaze in every crevice. Keep the glaze packet because we will use that later. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Competition BBQ Rub. My Competition BBQ Rub is a key part of my 2022 Memphis in May World Rib Championship win. While I can’t share all the elements, I can tell you that this rub is the best balance of sweet and savory.  I use it on pork, beef, and chicken. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Honey Rub. I created this rub because I wanted something that gave me all the flavors of honey without the char. My Honey Rub is fantastic on chicken, ribs, hams, or anything else you can think of. It also gives the ham a gorgeous golden color. 
  • Maple syrup. Maple syrup creates a sticky-sweet glaze that caramelizes when smoked. I love the combination of cranberries and maple. It has a nostalgic Christmas flavor of yesteryear. I recommend pure maple syrup, as artificial won’t give the same effect. 
  • Cranberries. Real cranberries give the glaze the perfect amount of tang. Plus, it’s fun to watch them pop. The glaze has a fantastic texture due to this ingredient. 
  • Ground mustard. This warm spice adds just a hint of tang to the glaze. Its deep, earthy flavor pulls the entire mixture together and keeps it from being too candy-like. 
  • Cranberry Sauce. I love having multiple types of cranberries in this glaze. Cranberry sauce thickens the glaze while still keeping the flavor profile on point. I used regular cranberry sauce from a can. 
  • Apple cider vinegar. A touch of acidity keeps the glaze from being too sweet. Apple cider vinegar stays consistent with the fruit notes and isn’t too intense. 
  • Orange juice. Oranges and cranberries are like peanut butter and jelly. You can’t have one without the other! Orange juice gives the glaze a bright note that tastes like the holiday season. 
  • The Smoker Setup

    Here’s the main equipment I used to pull this recipe together. You can find more of my pit boss must-haves in the Equipment and Tools section of this post. 

  • Cast Iron Cooker. I used the Goldens’ Cast Iron Cooker for this recipe. I love this setup because it lasts for years and holds its heat. This pit is great for small spaces and has plenty of room for prepping your meat. You'll love the searing plate if you make a lot of steaks or roasts. It fits a colossal ham with ease!
  • Charcoal. I stoked the Goldens’ with Royal Oak Charcoal and Tumbleweeds. This winning combination creates a pure smoke with no fillers. The Tumbleweeds get the fire hot, fast. I use them almost every time with excellent results. 
  • The Process for Making Cranberry Glazed Ham on the Goldens’ Cast Iron

    You can find a more detailed demonstration of this recipe in the video and recipe card near the bottom of this post. For now, here’s a quick overview of how I pulled this decadent Cranberry Glazed Ham together. 

  • Fire up the Goldens’. I stoked the Goldens’ with Royal Oak Charcoal and tumbleweeds, then fired it up to about 275℉-300℉. 
  • Add seasoning. I took the ham out of the package and added a thick layer of Heath Riles BBQ Competition BBQ Rub. The rub stuck to the ham because I didn’t dry it off; I needed no binder. 
  • Start Smoking. I put the deflector plate in the Goldens’ and set the ham directly on the grates. I let it go for an hour, then spritzed it with apple juice once every 30 minutes until it hit 130℉ internally. This took my ham about 2 hours.
  • Make the glaze. While the ham was smoking, I created my glaze. I combined the syrup, cranberries, ground mustard, cranberry sauce, apple cider vinegar, and ham glaze in a saucepan until smooth. I heated the glaze until the cranberries popped and cooked down. Then, I added my orange juice to thin it out. 
  • Sauce. I took the ham off the pit and set it in a cast-iron skillet. This protects your grill and saves you a lot of clean-up time. I poured the glaze over the top and brushed it into every slice. I finished off with a sprinkle of my amazing Honey Rub
  • Caramelize and finish. Once the ham was glazed, I put it back on the grill for another 15-20 minutes to caramelize. I took the ham off the heat and let it cool before serving. The only thing left is to dig in. 
  • The Results

    This fabulous ham was top-notch. The ham was juicy and flavorful, while the cranberry glaze added the perfect gourmet touch. My seasonings were the cherry on top, giving the ham just the BBQ flair it needed. 

    Serving Suggestions for Cranberry Glazed Ham

    Every main character needs supporting roles. Here are a few side dishes that complement this delicious ham. 

  • Blue Cheese Rosemary Mashed Potatoes. These mashed potatoes are positively delightful. This recipe is found in my Prime Rib Roundup, which also features an awesome homemade horseradish sauce. 
  • Green Bean Casserole and Maple Butter Carrots.  You can find both of these mild side dishes in my Thanksgiving post. They pair well with anything; many people expect them at a holiday meal. Bonus: They’re made on the Traeger. 
  • Smoked Pecan Pie. Finish off your meal with this sweet, rich pecan pie. This pie is made entirely from scratch, giving it a leg above the competition. Top it with whipped cream or some cool ice cream. 
  • Storing Leftover Cranberry Glazed Ham

    If you find yourself with leftovers, ham sandwiches are always a great option. However, you can also store the ham in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

    If you think you won’t eat the ham within that time, freeze it for up to 4 months. I prefer vacuum-sealing the meat to prevent freezer burn. 

    Equipment and Tools

    Cast-iron cooker, cutting board, sheet pan, cast-iron skillet, instant-read meat thermometer, and insulated gloves for handling meat, Royal Oak Charcoal

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