Ham hocks, the lower leg section of the ham, are often a discarded portion of the hog. Smoked ham hocks, while offering little meat, will give beans, soups and stews wonderful flavour. Ham hocks, like most pork, benefits from slow smoking after the hocks are cured. The smoking process can last from four to 24 hours, depending on the amount of smoke flavour desired. The curing, smoking, ageing and cooking of ham hocks are all distinct processes that are performed separately.
Set up your smoker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Soak hickory chips covered with water in a disposable aluminium pan for 30 minutes to an hour.
Start the fire in your smoker or plug it in if it is an electric model.
Place the soaked wood chips in the smoking tray.
Set the ham hocks on the wire racks of the smoker. Leave at least an inch between each hock on the rack.
Close the smoker and smoke the hocks for several hours or overnight. Check the smoker every 2 to 3 hours; add charcoal and soaked wood chips if you're using a charcoal smoker. Add soaked chips as needed to keep the smoke level high if you're using an electric model.
Remove the ham hocks from the smoker at the end of the smoking process. The hocks are ready to be cooked, or they can be frozen for later.
If properly cured and smoked, the ham hocks can be hung for ageing without refrigeration or freezing. Ham hocks, like all pork products, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 73.9 degrees Celsius.
Tips and warnings
- If properly cured and smoked, the ham hocks can be hung for ageing without refrigeration or freezing.
- Ham hocks, like all pork products, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 73.9 degrees Celsius.