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How to Smoke a Ham Shank on a Charcoal Grill

author image Patrick Hutchison
Patrick Hutchison has been doing freelance work since 2008. He has worked as a physical therapy aide and as a writer for various websites including Destination Guides and several travel-related companies. Hutchison has a Bachelor of Arts in history and anthropology from the University of Washington.
How to Smoke a Ham Shank on a Charcoal Grill
A baked ham shank. Photo Credit: oei1/iStock/Getty Images

Ham comes from the hind leg of the pig, and the shank portion is the lowest part of the whole ham. Ham shank typically comes bone-in and is available in grocery stores either "ready to eat" or "ready to cook." Ham shanks that are ready to eat are already cooked; ready-to-cook shanks require cooking for safe consumption. Make sure your ham reaches an internal temperature of approximately 145 degrees Fahrenheit. One way to achieve this cooking temperature and add good smoky flavor is to smoke the ham shank on a traditional charcoal grill.

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Grill Preparation

Step 1

Place hardwood chips in water, and soak them for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2

Place the charcoal in your grill and spray it with lighter fluid -- or simply add lighter briquettes to your grill. Light them and allow them to burn until they turn white or light gray.

Step 3

Divide the lit charcoal in half, and push it against either side of the grill, creating an open space in the middle.

Step 4

Place an aluminum drip pan in the open area and pour three cups of a liquid into the pan. This liquid will help keep the air inside the grill moist and prevent the ham from drying out.

Step 5

Place a handful of soaked wood chips on both piles of charcoal, and replace the grill food grate.


Step 1

Place your ham shank on the grate over the drip pan.

Step 2

Monitor the interior temperature of the ham shank with a meat thermometer. According to the USDA, ham must reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be fully cooked.

Step 3

Remove the ham shank when it reaches the proper temperature, tent it loosely with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Resting finishes the cooking process and forces the juices to reabsorb into the meat for a more tender smoked ham shank.

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