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Fresh Ham vs. Boston Butt

FrankSCFrankSC Posts: 2
edited 1:09PM in EggHead Forum
This past week I smoked a fresh ham for the first time. In the past I have successfully cooked Boston butts following Elder Ward's instructions for pulled pork.[p]I cooked the ham 21.5 hrs at around 210 until the last 2 hrs when I raised temp to 300-325. I was getting a little anxious and removed the ham when the internal temp hit 195 instead of 200. While all my guests raved about the results, I noticed that the bulk of the meat (light in color) was dryer than I am accustomed to. Is that because the ham is so much leaner than the butt? Or should I have cooked it a little less because of the large amount of lean meat on the ham? Or should I have let the meat temp rise to 200 as I usually do with the butt?[p]


  • JJJJ Posts: 951
    You cooked it too long. The internal temp should have been around 160*. Forget about pulled pork when cooking fresh ham.

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    The fresh hams are pretty lean cuts when compared to a butt or picnic so they will tend to dry out over a long cook. Maybe adding some bacon on the outside would help but like JJ said - leave pulled pork to the shoulder cuts.
    I have heard people here getting good results from doing a ham to 200 internal but I don't recall the temps they used.[p]Tim

  • tsticktstick Posts: 67
    How much did the ham weigh? Want to do one myself. tstick

  • MRMMRM Posts: 6
    I smoked a fresh ham over the weekend (8.5 lbs at 225 for about 20 hours to an internal temp. of 165). Now I know why my butcher kept calling it fresh "pork" instead of "ham". It reminded me more of a pork roast instead of tasting like a ham. I assume this is because I didn't cure it first. Do you, or anyone else out there, have any experience curing hams? I've seen some quick cure recipes, but wonder if they produce very good results. [p]Thanks. Mike Miller

  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    MRM, JJ is right...fresh ham is more of a roast and 160 internal is about right for a slicing fresh ham. A cured ham would be done at 140 internal. I would do em like a roast due to the leanness of the meat..Boston butt is heavy in fats, thus the self basting and the moistness retained over the long haul, yet the remaining meats are more fiberous, lending to the shredding capability over the leaner pork..Just my humble experience anyway.
    Cheers...Char-Woody....[p](ya shoulda seen that turkey I charred)

  • tstick,[p]The ham was just over 20 lbs. Since it is such a large piece it contains portions that are like the white and dark meat of chicken. The dark meat was just as moist as the a butt. As other posts suggest, the white meat, and it is mostly white, was dryer and did not pull as well.[p]However, I have friends who use fresh hams regularly for BBQ pork, but they chop it rather than pulling it. They also mix the smoked meat with BBQ sauce before serving; so you would never know that it might be dry.[p]The nice thing about the fresh ham is simply having one large piece of meat to serve as crowd rather than several smaller ones. It looks impressive when you remove from the grill.[p]Thanks to all for your responses.
  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    I always add sauce to my pulled pork and most often I pull it and toss it into a crock pot of sauce. I have also added it to store bought pork BBQ to add more meat to the blend - works very well. I would not like it plain with no sauce so your correct about the dried out sections being ok when all sauced up. You have Tstick wanting to try it too. Good luck and let us know if you do it again.[p]Tim

  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    Tim M,
    I have done a fresh ham, a shoulder and Boston Butts all by EW’s method. I cooked them all the same way and they all turned out excellent. I did use the crock-pot and sauce method for the fresh ham due to the amount of people to feed. I am getting hungry for Pulled Pork. If I am at home this weekend, may I will fire one up.[p]RhumAndJerk[p]

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