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Smoked Watermelon Ham Recipe

Intriguing and unexpectedly delicious, this smoked watermelon ham recipe is a culinary tour de force. It's a unique fusion of sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors that create a surprising and delightful alternative to traditional ham. The watermelon is brined, smoked, and then coated with a tantalizing chipotle and honey glaze, transforming it into a delightful centrepiece that will have your guests talking for weeks.

Smoked Watermelon Ham Recipe

Photos of Smoked Watermelon Ham Recipe

The ingredients for this recipe are mostly common, yet a few might require a special visit to the supermarket. Hickory chips, essential for imparting the smoky flavor, are typically found in the grilling section. Pureed chipotle in adobo is a spicy, smoky Mexican sauce available in the international foods aisle. Coconut sugar, a healthier alternative to regular sugar, is usually found in the natural foods section, and raw agave, a sweetener derived from the agave plant, can be found alongside other sweeteners.

Smoky Watermelon Ham Recipe Ingredients

Watermelon: The star of this dish and which will be transformed into 'ham'.

Kosher salt: Used for brining the watermelon, it pulls out excess moisture and imparts flavor.

Coconut sugar: A natural sweetener that has less fructose than regular sugar.

Chili powder: Adds spicy depth to the dish.

Smoked Paprika: Infuses the watermelon with a smoky, sweet flavor.

Orange: Adds a tangy note to cut through the sweetness.

Hickory chips: Gives the watermelon its distinct smoky flavor.

Canola oil: Used for cooking the glaze.

Garlic: Adds a pleasing, savory note to the glaze.

Ginger: Infuses the glaze with a spicy warmth.

Agave: A natural sweetener that balances the heat in the glaze.

Mustard: Adds tang and depth to the glaze.

Chipotle in adobo: Provides the glaze with a smoky heat.

Worcestershire sauce: Enhances the overall flavor of the glaze.

One reader, Carlotta Lawless says:

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This smoky watermelon ham recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are incredible, and the texture is spot on. It's a unique and delicious twist on a classic dish. I highly recommend trying it out for a refreshing and flavorful experience.

Carlotta Lawless

Techniques Required for Smoky Watermelon Ham Recipe

How to smoke the watermelon: The watermelon is brined and then smoked to infuse it with a smoky flavor, which requires a specific smoking technique to achieve the desired result.

How to make the chipotle and honey glaze: This technique involves combining and reducing the ingredients to create a flavorful glaze that complements the smoky watermelon.

There are LOTS of ways to enjoy watermelon. It’s often a refreshing element in dessert recipes. But have you tried roasting it? A vegan alternative for smoked ham, smoked watermelon ham tastes SO sweet and smoky at the same time. Much like its meaty counterpart, smoked watermelon is perfectly seasoned with a blend of spices. At a glance, it’s pretty hard to tell it apart from a real smoked ham.

Wanna know how to make smoked watermelon ham? It’s easy to turn this summer fruit into a roasted dish, don’t worry! Of course, you should start with a good, heavy watermelon. I sliced off the rinds and carved the fruit carefully to make it look like ham.

I formed a cross-hatch pattern on top, then brined the watermelon for at least 24 hours (you can brine it up to a couple of days). My brine mixture includes coconut sugar, salt, and seasonings such as garlic, onion, chili, paprika and cloves. But, by all means, use your preferred herbs and spices.

Bake the watermelon at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Then, turn the oven temp to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and roast the watermelon for 3 hours.

As a final touch, I adorned my smoked watermelon ham with a sweet-smoky chipotle and honey glaze. Then, I garnished it as I would a roast ham — with orange slices, fresh rosemary, and thyme sprigs. I must say, each bite of this cooked watermelon was totally explosive! Hot. Smoky. Refreshing. This BBQ watermelon is truly perfect for backyard summer parties! But feel free to serve these smoked watermelon slices as a dessert after dinner.

How To Make Smoked Watermelon Ham

This sweet-savory smoked watermelon ham may look a lot like its pork counterpart. But you can be assured this recipe is 100% meat-free.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 6 hours 56 minutes
Brine: 12 hours
Total: 19 hours 26 minutes



For the Smoke Watermelon:

  • 1 large watermelon, seedless
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 3 cups hickory chips, soaked in cold water for 1 hour

For the Chipotle And Honey Glaze:

  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ cup raw agave
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled, minced
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp pureed chipotle in adobo
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp worcestershire sauce

For Garnish:

  • orange, or fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs


Smoked Watermelon:

  1. Carefully cut the ends off of the watermelon. Turn the watermelon onto a flat side, then cut off the rind, working carefully to cut off as little flesh as possible. Discard the rind.
  2. Lay the watermelon on the cutting board lengthwise. Find the side of the watermelon with the largest surface area and set that face-up.
  3. On the top of the watermelon, cut 1-inch deep diagonal slits in opposite directions to form a cross-hatch pattern.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, coconut sugar, chili powder, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cloves.
  5. Rub the spice mixture all over the watermelon. Make sure to get some between the cross-hatch cuts, but be careful not to tear the watermelon.
  6. Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Place the watermelon on the rack, cross-hatch side up. Then, refrigerate it, uncovered, for at least 12 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  8. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the hickory chip soaking liquid, then spread the chips and reserved liquid in an even layer over the bottom of a roasting pan. Set a roasting rack on top.
  9. Place the watermelon, cross-hatch side up, on the roasting rack. Cover the pan tightly with heavy-duty foil.
  10. Bake the watermelon for 30 minutes.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F.
  12. Continue baking the watermelon for 3 hours, then remove the foil and roast for another 3 hours.

Chipotle and Honey Glaze:

  1. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the oil is shimmering, add garlic and ginger. Stirring frequently, cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the vegetables are light golden brown and fragrant.
  3. Add the coconut sugar, honey, orange juice, mustard, chipotle, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook until the mixture is evenly combined. Stir constantly.
  4. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes more, or until the mixture is reduced by half.
  5. After 6 hours, remove the watermelon from the oven and turn the broiler on high.
  6. Carefully remove the rack from the roasting pan and place it on a baking sheet. Discard the excess liquid and hickory chips from the pan. Return the rack with the watermelon to the roasting pan.
  7. Brush ¼ cup of the glaze over the top of the watermelon.
  8. Broil for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan as needed, until the glaze has evenly caramelized.
  9. Using long metal spatulas to support the watermelon, transfer it to a large serving platter with sliced oranges, fresh rosemary, or thyme sprigs.
  10. Glaze the warm watermelon with another ¼ cup of the glaze. Slice the watermelon and serve with the remaining glaze alongside. Enjoy!


  • Calories: 291.22kcal
  • Fat: 2.05g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.21g
  • Trans Fat: 0.00g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.85g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.68g
  • Carbohydrates: 72.07g
  • Fiber: 3.95g
  • Sugar: 61.33g
  • Protein: 4.02g
  • Sodium: 1427.88mg
  • Calcium: 52.54mg
  • Potassium: 887.39mg
  • Iron: 1.82mg
  • Vitamin A: 193.21µg
  • Vitamin C: 56.85mg

Helpful Technique Tip for Smoky Watermelon Ham Recipe

When applying the spice rub to the watermelon, it's crucial to get the mixture into the cross-hatch cuts. However, be gentle to avoid tearing the flesh of the fruit. This allows the flavors to penetrate deeper into the watermelon, resulting in a more flavorful dish. Additionally, when smoking the watermelon, ensure the foil is tightly sealed around your roasting pan to keep the smoke inside. This will infuse the watermelon with a deep, smoky flavor. If it's smoking too much, you may need to adjust the foil. Remember, the goal is to create a smoky environment within the pan, not to fill your kitchen with smoke.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the spice rub and chipotle and honey glaze the day before to save time on the day of cooking.

Use a smoker: If you have a smoker, use it to smoke the watermelon instead of the oven to infuse the smoky flavor more efficiently.

Sharp knife: Use a sharp knife to cut the watermelon and make the cross-hatch pattern, it will make the process easier and quicker.

Thinner slices: Cut the watermelon into thinner slices to reduce the overall cooking time and to allow the flavors to penetrate more effectively.

High heat: Increase the oven temperature for the initial roasting to reduce the overall cooking time while still achieving the desired smoky flavor.

Efficient glazing: Use a silicone brush for glazing the watermelon as it will make the process quicker and more efficient.

Chill the watermelon: Chill the watermelon in the refrigerator for a shorter time, around 6-8 hours, to expedite the brining process.

Substitute Ingredients For Smoked Watermelon Ham Recipe

  • watermelon - Substitute with cantaloupe: Cantaloupe has a similar texture and sweetness to watermelon, making it a suitable substitute for this recipe.

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a 1:1 replacement for kosher salt in this recipe, providing the same level of salinity.

  • coconut sugar - Substitute with brown sugar: Brown sugar can replace coconut sugar to add sweetness and caramel notes to the recipe.

  • chili powder - Substitute with paprika and cayenne mix: A combination of paprika and cayenne can replicate the heat and smokiness of chili powder.

  • smoked paprika - Substitute with regular paprika and a dash of liquid smoke: Adding a small amount of liquid smoke to regular paprika can mimic the smokiness of smoked paprika.

  • freshly ground black pepper - Substitute with pre-ground black pepper: Pre-ground black pepper can be used as a substitute without a significant difference in flavor.

  • garlic powder - Substitute with minced garlic: Minced garlic can replace garlic powder, providing a more intense garlic flavor.

  • onion powder - Substitute with finely chopped onion: Finely chopped onion can be used as a substitute for onion powder, adding a fresh and aromatic flavor.

  • ground cloves - Substitute with allspice: Allspice can replace ground cloves, offering a similar warm and aromatic flavor profile.

  • hickory chips - Substitute with mesquite chips: Mesquite chips can impart a similar smoky flavor to the watermelon as hickory chips.

  • orange - Substitute with tangerine: Tangerine can be used as a substitute for orange, providing a slightly sweeter and tangier flavor.

  • canola oil - Substitute with vegetable oil: Vegetable oil can replace canola oil with minimal impact on the recipe.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, providing a milder garlic flavor.

  • fresh ginger - Substitute with ground ginger: Ground ginger can replace fresh ginger, offering a similar warm and spicy flavor.

  • coconut sugar - Substitute with maple syrup: Maple syrup can replace coconut sugar, adding sweetness and a hint of caramel flavor to the glaze.

  • raw agave - Substitute with honey: Honey can be used as a substitute for raw agave, providing sweetness and a smooth texture to the glaze.

  • dijon mustard - Substitute with yellow mustard: Yellow mustard can replace Dijon mustard, offering a tangy and slightly milder flavor.

  • chipotle in adobo - Substitute with smoked paprika and cayenne mix: A combination of smoked paprika and cayenne can replicate the smoky heat of chipotle in adobo.

  • worcestershire sauce - Substitute with soy sauce: Soy sauce can replace Worcestershire sauce, providing a savory and umami-rich flavor to the glaze.

Presentation Tips for Smoky Watermelon Ham

  1. Elevate the watermelon slices: Arrange the smoked watermelon slices in a circular pattern on a large, elegant platter, slightly overlapping each other to create a visually appealing display.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle finely chopped fresh mint and basil over the smoked watermelon slices to add a pop of color and a refreshing aroma to the dish.

  3. Drizzle with chipotle and honey glaze: Artfully drizzle the chipotle and honey glaze over the smoked watermelon slices, creating elegant swirls and patterns to enhance the visual appeal of the dish.

  4. Add citrus accents: Place thinly sliced orange rounds around the perimeter of the platter to add a vibrant and citrusy element to the presentation.

  5. Incorporate edible flowers: Carefully place delicate edible flowers, such as pansies or nasturtiums, among the smoked watermelon slices to introduce a touch of elegance and sophistication to the plating.

  6. Use a sophisticated serving dish: Present the smoked watermelon slices on a sleek, modern serving dish that complements the vibrant colors of the dish and exudes a sense of refinement.

  7. Accentuate with gold leaf: For a luxurious touch, delicately place edible gold leaf on select areas of the smoked watermelon slices to create a stunning visual contrast and add a touch of opulence to the presentation.

  8. Serve on chilled marble slabs: Present the smoked watermelon slices on individual chilled marble slabs to create a striking contrast between the warm, caramelized exterior of the watermelon and the cool, smooth surface of the marble.

Essential Tools for Making Smoky Watermelon Ham

  • Cutting board: A flat surface for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile and essential tool for chopping, slicing, and dicing.
  • Wire rack: Used for holding the watermelon while smoking and roasting.
  • Rimmed baking sheet: A shallow pan with a raised edge, used for roasting the watermelon.
  • Roasting pan: A deep, wide pan used for roasting and baking.
  • Heavy-duty foil: Used to cover the roasting pan tightly while smoking the watermelon.
  • Skillet: A frying pan with a long handle, used for making the chipotle and honey glaze.
  • Liquid measuring cup: Used for accurately measuring and pouring liquids.
  • Baking sheet: A flat, rectangular metal pan used for baking and broiling.
  • Metal spatulas: Used for supporting and transferring the watermelon during broiling.

How To Reheat Leftover Smoky Watermelon Ham Recipe

  • The best way to reheat leftover smoky watermelon ham is to slice it into thick pieces and warm it gently in a skillet over medium-low heat. This method helps to preserve the tender texture and smoky flavor of the watermelon while ensuring it's heated through evenly.

  • Another option is to wrap the sliced watermelon ham in foil and place it in a preheated oven at 325°F (165°C) for about 15-20 minutes, or until it's warmed to your liking. The foil helps to trap in the moisture, preventing the watermelon from drying out during the reheating process.

  • For a quicker method, you can also reheat the smoky watermelon ham in the microwave. Place the slices on a microwave-safe plate and heat them in 30-second intervals, checking the temperature after each interval to avoid overheating and potentially altering the texture of the watermelon.

  • If you have any leftover chipotle and honey glaze, brush it over the watermelon ham slices before reheating to add an extra burst of flavor and help keep the watermelon moist.

  • Lastly, consider using your leftover smoky watermelon ham in creative ways, such as dicing it up and adding it to salads, sandwiches, or even fried rice for a unique twist on classic dishes. The smoky, slightly sweet flavor of the watermelon can add an interesting depth to a variety of recipes.

Interesting Fact About Smoky Watermelon Ham

The watermelon ham recipe is a unique and innovative way to enjoy a smoky, savory dish without using traditional meat. This recipe showcases the versatility of watermelon, as it can be transformed into a delicious and flavorful ham alternative. By infusing the watermelon with a blend of spices and smoking it, you can create a surprising and delightful dish that will impress your guests. This recipe demonstrates the endless possibilities of using fruits in savory cooking, offering a new perspective on plant-based cuisine.

Is This Recipe Budget-Friendly for Home Cooking?

This smoky watermelon ham recipe can be cost-effective for a household. The main ingredient, watermelon, is typically affordable and can serve as a budget-friendly alternative to traditional ham. The additional spices and glaze ingredients are commonly found in most kitchens, reducing the overall cost. Considering the yield and the unique flavor experience, this recipe rates a solid 8/10. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15-$20, making it an economical choice for a delightful and unexpected dish.

Is This Smoky Watermelon Ham Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The smoky watermelon ham recipe is a creative and unique dish, but it may not be the healthiest option. Here are a few reasons why:

  • The recipe calls for a significant amount of salt, which can contribute to high blood pressure and other health issues if consumed in excess.
  • The glaze contains a lot of sugar, including coconut sugar, raw agave, and honey, which can add unnecessary calories and contribute to weight gain and other health problems if consumed in large quantities.
  • The recipe involves smoking the watermelon for an extended period, which may result in the formation of harmful compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are associated with an increased risk of certain cancers.

However, the recipe does have some positive aspects, such as the use of fresh watermelon, which is a good source of vitamins and antioxidants, and the incorporation of spices like chili powder, smoked paprika, and garlic powder, which can provide flavor without adding excessive calories or unhealthy fats.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of salt used in the spice rub or opt for a low-sodium alternative to help minimize the dish's overall sodium content.
  • Replace some or all of the sugar in the glaze with natural, low-calorie sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract to reduce the overall sugar content.
  • Experiment with different cooking methods, such as grilling or baking the watermelon at a lower temperature for a shorter time, to minimize the formation of harmful compounds while still achieving a smoky flavor.
  • Serve the watermelon ham with a variety of fresh, nutrient-dense sides like grilled vegetables, leafy green salads, or whole grain dishes to balance out the meal and add more vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Editor's Opinion on the Smoky Watermelon Ham Recipe

The smoky watermelon ham recipe is a unique and innovative take on a classic dish. The combination of the sweet and juicy watermelon with the smoky and savory flavors creates a delightful and unexpected culinary experience. The careful preparation and attention to detail in the brining and smoking process result in a beautifully caramelized and flavorful dish. The chipotle and honey glaze adds a perfect balance of heat and sweetness, elevating the overall taste. This recipe is a bold and imaginative exploration of flavors and textures, sure to impress and delight anyone who tries it.

Enhance Your Smoked Watermelon Ham Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for balancing out the smoky sweetness of the watermelon ham.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Tender grilled asparagus spears topped with fresh lemon zest, adding a bright and zesty flavor to complement the rich and smoky watermelon ham.
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze: Crispy Brussels sprouts drizzled with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze, providing a delicious contrast to the savory and smoky watermelon ham.

Similar Recipes to Smoky Watermelon Ham

Spicy Mango Salsa: This refreshing and spicy salsa is perfect for summer gatherings. The combination of sweet mango, spicy jalapeno, and tangy lime juice will have your taste buds dancing.
Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts: These Brussels sprouts are roasted to perfection and then drizzled with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze. It's the perfect side dish for any meal.
Coconut Curry Chicken: This creamy and flavorful coconut curry chicken is packed with aromatic spices and tender chicken. It's a comforting and satisfying dish that's perfect for a cozy night in.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Smoky Watermelon Ham

Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are the perfect bite-sized appetizer for any occasion. Filled with a delicious mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, they are sure to impress your guests.
Caprese Skewers: These colorful caprese skewers are a fresh and flavorful appetizer option. With juicy cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fragrant basil, they are a delightful way to start any meal.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a velvety smooth and decadent chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. This elegant dessert is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic dinner.
Berry Parfait: Layer juicy mixed berries with creamy Greek yogurt and crunchy granola for a refreshing and satisfying berry parfait. This colorful and healthy dessert is great for breakfast or as a light and fruity treat after a meal.

Why trust this Smoked Watermelon Ham Recipe:

This recipe offers a unique twist on a classic dish, using a combination of unexpected ingredients to create a flavorful and innovative experience. The smoked watermelon brings a surprising depth of flavor, while the chipotle and honey glaze adds a perfect balance of sweet and smoky notes. The careful attention to detail in the instructions ensures that the dish is prepared to perfection, and the use of fresh orange juice and ginger in the glaze adds a refreshing and zesty touch. Trust in the creativity and expertise behind this recipe for a truly memorable culinary adventure.

Got a unique twist on a classic dish? Share your thoughts on the Smoked Watermelon Ham Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
What is the purpose of brining the watermelon?
Brining the watermelon helps to infuse it with flavor and also helps to draw out excess moisture, which allows the flavors from the spice rub to penetrate the entire watermelon.
Can I use a different type of wood chips for smoking the watermelon?
Yes, you can use different types of wood chips such as apple, cherry, or mesquite for a different flavor profile.
How can I tell if the watermelon is done smoking?
The watermelon is done smoking when it looks slightly charred and reduced in size. It should also have a caramelized glaze on the surface.
Can I prepare the watermelon in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the watermelon in advance by brining and smoking it ahead of time. Simply reheat and glaze it before serving.
Can I adjust the spiciness of the chipotle and honey glaze?
Absolutely! You can adjust the spiciness of the glaze by adding more or less chipotle according to your preference.

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