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34% would make again

Smoked Watermelon Ham

This smoked watermelon serves as a really cool take on a smoked ham. Impress your friends with this mind-bending vegan substitute. The key to success with this recipe is properly smoking the melon and including a great dry rub to remove excess moisture. We promise it will be a meal they won’t soon forget.

Tasty Team

30 minutes

Inspired by

30 minutes


for 10 servings

Smoked Watermelon

  • 1 large seedless watermelon
  • ½ cup kosher salt (120 g)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups hickory chips (300 g), soaked in cold water for 1 hour
  • orange, or fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs, for garnish

Chipotle and Honey Glaze

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced (about 1/4 inch (6mm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar (100 g)
  • ½ cup raw agave (165 g)
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice (120 mL)
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon pureed chipotle in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Nutrition Info

    Calories 191
    Fat 1g
    Carbs 45g
    Fiber 1g
    Sugar 39g
    Protein 1g

Estimated values based on one serving size.


  1. Tip: When buying your watermelon make sure to lift it up. It should feel heavy and dense. If the watermelon feels light and hollow, it has lost too much of its natural moisture.
  2. Brine and smoke the watermelon: 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. The watermelon should look like a football with flat ends and be red all over, with no remaining white patches.
  3. Lay the watermelon on the cutting board lengthwise. Find the side of the watermelon that has the largest surface area and set that face-up. If the watermelon will not lay steadily with that side up, slice a small amount off the back to make a flat surface, which will allow the watermelon to sit evenly.
  4. On the top of the watermelon, cut 1-inch deep diagonal slits in opposite directions to form a cross-hatch pattern.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, coconut sugar, chili powder, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cloves.
  6. Rub the spice mixture all over the watermelon, making sure to get some between the cross-hatch cuts, but being careful not to tear the watermelon.
  7. Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Place the watermelon on the rack, cross-hatch side up, and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 12 hours. This will pull out excess moisture and allow the flavors from the spice rub to permeate the entire watermelon.
  8. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
  9. 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.
  10. Place the watermelon, cross-hatch side up on the roasting rack. Cover the pan tightly with heavy-duty foil.
  11. Bake the watermelon for 30 minutes. You will begin to see a bit of smoke coming from the roasting pan. If it is smoking too much, you may need to carefully tighten the foil around your pan to keep the smoke inside.
  12. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F (120°C). Continue baking the watermelon for 3 hours, then remove the foil and roast another 3 hours.
  13. While the watermelon roasts, make the chipotle and honey glaze: Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes, or until light golden brown in color and very fragrant.
  14. Add the coconut sugar, honey, orange juice, mustard, chipotle, salt, and Worcestershire sauce and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is evenly combined. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, for 10-12 minutes more, or until reduced by half. The glaze should coat the back of a spoon and leave a trail behind it when stirred in the pan. Transfer the glaze to a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl to cool; you should have about 1 cup.
  15. After 6 hours, remove the watermelon from the oven and turn the broiler on high.
  16. Remove the watermelon; it should look slightly charred and reduced in size. Carefully remove the rack from the roasting pan and place on a baking sheet. Discard the excess liquid and hickory chips from the pan. Return the rack with the watermelon to the roasting pan.
  17. Brush ¼ cup of the glaze over the top of the watermelon. Broil for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan as needed, until the glaze has evenly caramelized. If one spot is getting darker more quickly than others, use foil to cover that specific area. Remove the watermelon from the oven and let cool slightly.
  18. Using long metal spatulas to support the watermelon, transfer it to a large serving platter with sliced oranges or fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs. Glaze the warm watermelon with another ¼ cup of the glaze. Slice the watermelon and serve with the remaining glaze alongside.
  19. Enjoy!

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