Smokey, grilled fresh ham on a bun with caramelized onions & apples... the best ever sandwich

Ontario Pork Blog

9 June 2017

Smokey, grilled fresh ham on a bun with caramelized onions & apples... the best ever sandwich

Gloria Duggan, Homemade & Yummy

Smokey, grilled fresh ham on a bun with caramelized onions & apples... the best ever sandwich

Gloria Duggan, Homemade & Yummy

Gloria Duggan is a passionate home chef, and the food blogger/recipe developer for Homemade & Yummy. As a wife, mom and very proud gramma, food is an important part of creating wonderful memories. Gathering around the table for dinner, celebrating holiday traditions, or experimenting in the kitchen with new techniques and flavours…food brings it all together. My philosophy is: Food doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to taste good!

Yes, grilling season is FINALLY here. I get to move from my indoor kitchen to the outdoor kitchen. A change of scenery for the eyes along with mouthwatering food to excite those taste buds.

Another thing that is great about this time of year is that I get a little help from hubby. He is the grill master in our house. There is nothing he loves more than turning on the heat and cooking up some delicious food. Pork on the BBQ is a favourite around here. Drop by on a weekend morning and you can be sure he is out there cooking up some bacon and sausages for breakfast.

Recently, we visited our local butcher and purchased a fresh leg of pork. It is an economical way to have lots of great choices for the grill all summer long.

I asked the butcher to make a small fresh ham. You can of course get a large one, but since it was only going to be the two of us, the mini ham was the way to go here. Even this ham will still easily feed 8-10 people. I loved having leftovers, since this sandwich rocks!! You can also freeze for later use too.

This was our first outdoor cook of the season. Hands down, the BEST sandwiches we have ever made. What a great kick-off to summer grilling.

We decided on using the charcoal grill. Do you happen to have one? They are awesome, and the results are fantastic. Whenever we use it, the neighbours are well aware we are cooking. For this recipe we teased them with the smokey aroma of applewood chips.

There is a bit of prep work to making this ham, but once you bite into that smokey, juicy sandwich you will agree it is well worth the effort. Pile the meat on a fresh crusty bun and top with the sweet caramelized onions and apples. Your guests will be drooling and begging to be invited back soon. Happy grilling with delicious Ontario pork!!


Yield: Serves 8-10
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 1/2 - 4 hours



For the ham:

  • 3 pound fresh ham (rind on)
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar
  • 1 Tbsp smoked sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (store bought or homemade)

For the caramelized onions and apples

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp maple sugar
  • Fresh buns and garnishes of your choice.


  • arugula, 
  • aged cheddar 
  • additional BBQ sauce.

Cooking Instructions:

To cook the ham:

  1. The night before, score the rind on the ham with a sharp knife. Combine the sugar, sea salt and pepper and rub it all over the meat. Reserve the rest of the seasoning/rub for the next morning. Place the meat rind side up (uncovered) on a plate in the fridge overnight.
  2. Soak your wood chips in warm water for about 30 minutes. Drain the wood chips, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the ham from the fridge and rub the remaining seasoning on the meat. Let ham come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before putting in on the grill.
  3. Heat grill to around 250 ºF. Cook for 2.5 hours then turn up to 350 ºF and continue cooking for another hour. Baste the meat with the BBQ sauce twice during the cooking. Once after the first hour, and again after the second hour. Meat is done when internal temperature reaches 155 ºF. Place on a plate and cover with foil to rest for at least 10 minutes.
  4. While the meat is cooking, make the onions and apples.

To cook the onions and apples:

  1. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Add to frying pan with olive oil over medium heat. Once onion slices start to soften, give them a stir and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, then add the salt, paprika and maple sugar. Mix, cover and cook for 10 additional minutes.
  2. Add the peeled and grated apple. Mix and cook for about 20-30 minutes until the onions are soft and nicely caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve. You can reheat these just before serving if you wish.
  3. Get your fresh buns and garnishes ready. Remove the rind and thinly slice the ham onto a serving platter. Build your sandwiches and enjoy!

1 comments on article "Smokey, grilled fresh ham on a bun with caramelized onions & apples... the best ever sandwich"

Avatar image

Gloria Duggan

I LOVED creating this recipe....and the sandwich ROCKS!!!

Please login or register to post comments.

Ontario Pork

About Us

Ontario Pork represents the 1,192 farmers who market 5.41 million hogs in the province. The organization is engaged in many areas, including research, government representation, environmental issues, consumer education and food quality assurance.

Connect With Us

Learn more about our industry and stay in touch via our news articles and other resources found on one of our audience specific websites, and follow us on our social channels.

Terms Of Use | Privacy Statement | Copyright © 2021 Ontario Pork. All rights reserved.
Login | | Website by WebmontonMedia