Coffee Smoked Ham

By Kipp Rixx

So here it is already April; first quarter is almost done, and tax day is here. The crew deserves an awesome meal straight off the grill, and this recipe is guaranteed to do just that. This recipe was developed at the station one day when I was missing the Dr. Pepper® that I usually basted my ham in. My engineer suggested using strong coffee, as it was what he used when cooking wild game roast. Left with little choice, I poured some strong coffee into the pan, slipped the ham into the oven, and cooked, basting every 20-30 minutes.

I was amazed at the flavor; the ham was not coffee-flavored but rather the flavors had quietly melded into a mouthwatering experience, raved the entire crew. The next Easter, I once again cooked this ham, but this time I cooked the ham in my smoker, adding yet another depth of flavor that brought this recipe to perfection. If you do not have a smoker, here is a trick: Get a disposable miniature aluminum loaf pan. Soak your wood chips in water (I use apple wood). Place the drained wood chips inside the loaf pan, cover tightly with foil, and poke holes in the foil with a fork. Place the loaf pan over high heat on one side of the grill and place the ham over low heat on the opposite side of the grill. Try and keep the meat cooking at around 250°F to 300°F.

Shopping List (serves 6)

3- to 4-pound spiral sliced ham, no bone

¼ cup spicy brown mustard

1 teaspoon hot horseradish

1 tablespoon red chili powder

2 cups strong, dark coffee (I like Third Alarm Coffee “Full City” blend when I can get it)

Cooking Directions

  1. Place the ham in a roasting pan (I use a disposable aluminum pan).
  2. Pour the coffee into the pan.
  3. Mix together the mustard, horseradish, and chili powder to form a paste.
  4. Coat the ham evenly with the mustard mixture.
  5. Bring the smoker to heat, and add your wood for smoking.
  6. Place the ham in the smoker and cook at 250°F to 300ºF for 1 hour, basting the ham with the coffee juices every 20-30 minutes. Add more smoking wood as needed.
  7. Cover the ham with foil and continue to cook for an additional hour or until ham is cooked through; continue basting.
  8. Once the ham is cooked through, remove it from the grill and allow the ham to rest for 15-20 minutes, basting a couple more times.
  9. Slice and serve.

I like to pair this ham with steamed broccoli, garlic/cheese mashed    potatoes, or grilled seasonal fresh vegetables.

Leftover ham can be diced; mixed with chopped green chili, crisp bacon, hash browns, scrambled eggs, and cheddar cheese; and wrapped inside a tortilla to create a top-notch breakfast burrito for the crew the next morning.



Kipp has been in the fire service for 17 years working as both a career and volunteer firefighter in New Mexico. Kipp started cooking at the age of 10 and learned his early skills watching shows like the Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child. Throughout the years, Kipp refined his skills with a focus on grilling foods with a southwestern flair. In 2009 Fire House Publications, LLC released the first of Kipp’s two cook books with the second book released in 2011; a portion of the proceeds from the books helps fund donations towards teaching fire fighters Firefighter Survival “Getting Out Alive”. Kipp’s philosophy of fire house cooking is “Just because you work in a busy house does not mean that you have to settle for ordinary cooking, a crew’s attitude is directly related to the meals served!” Each of Kipp’s recipes has been Fire House tested and approved. Please email with a crew picture enjoying this recipe along with your review; each month one entry will be selected to receive a signed copy of one of my cook books.

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