The Art of Smoking Pork Hocks

How To Smoke Neck Bones & Ham Hocks

Smoked neck bones and ham hocks hold an unparalleled place in Southern home cooking. They are cherished as essential ingredients in various dishes like beans, potatoes, rice, cabbage, soups, and stews. Slow-cooked until the meat becomes tender and effortlessly falls off the bone, their smoky flavor is nothing short of extraordinary. You may have likely purchased smoked neck bones or ham hocks from the store to add a burst of flavor to your own culinary creations, accentuating the taste of soups and stews. However, have you ever experienced the remarkable flavors of homemade smoked neck bones or ham hocks?

Believe it or not, the homemade version amplifies the flavor factor by leaps and bounds, taking the taste to a whole new level. Just picture your favorite chili with the added smokiness of a homemade smoked neck bone – it’s a game-changer!

Easy Steps to Smoking Neck Bones and Ham Hocks

Smoking neck bones and ham hocks follows a simple process. Although the demonstration focuses on neck bones, the same steps apply to ham hocks as well. The journey begins with marinating the bones in a brine, allowing them to soak up the flavors. Patience is required as they marinate, but the result is well worth the wait. Once they’ve absorbed the brine, it’s time to smoke them, a relatively short process that produces incredible results.

How To Smoke Neck Bones & Ham Hocks

To start, you can obtain raw neck bones and ham hocks from your local butcher. Alternatively, some stores, such as Cash and Carry, offer them frozen at a reasonable price.

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Let’s Begin!

In a large bowl, combine all the brine ingredients, ensuring that the salt and sugar fully dissolve. Divide the neck bones or ham hocks into two gallon ziplock bags and pour the brine into each bag. Another option is to use a stainless steel or food-grade plastic bucket with a lid for brining. Make sure the meat is fully submerged in the brine.

Place the ziplock bags, or the bucket, in a dish that can catch any potential leakage. Refrigerate for 7 days, periodically turning the bags to ensure the brine evenly coats the meat.

After the brining process, rinse the neck bones or ham hocks and set them on a wire rack. Place the rack on a cookie sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for an additional 24 hours. This step enhances the adhesion of the smoke to the meat.

How To Smoke Neck Bones & Ham Hocks

The Smoking Process

Not owning a smoker shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the flavors of smoked neck bones and ham hocks. You can find oven smoking instructions in the recipe box below. However, if you have a smoker, like the Masterbuilt 30″ Digital Electric Smoker, you’re in for a treat. This reliable and user-friendly device guarantees exceptional results, making your smoking adventure a breeze. Feel free to check out my full review of the Masterbuilt smoker.

When you’re ready to smoke, set your smoker to 200 degrees F. Arrange the neck bones or ham hocks on the smoking grates, ensuring they don’t touch each other. Throughout the smoking process, add a couple of handfuls of wood chips to enhance the smokiness. Hickory or apple wood chips work wonders with pork.

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Smoke the meat until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F, which you can verify with an instant-read thermometer. Once the smoking is complete, wrap the smoked neck bones or ham hocks and freeze them for long-term storage. Alternatively, refrigerate them if you plan to use them within a week.

How To Smoke Neck Bones & Ham Hocks

Expand Your Culinary Horizons

For those seeking more homemade charcuterie adventures, there are numerous delightful options to explore. Try your hand at smoking a ham, crafting German bratwurst, savoring British bangers, preparing smoked cheddar sausages, creating breakfast sausage links, making Italian capicola, or even crafting your own bacon. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your culinary curiosity.

So, why not embark on an exciting journey of flavor exploration? Enhance your dishes with the smoky goodness of homemade smoked neck bones and ham hocks. Discover the art of smoking and elevate your Southern home cooking to new heights.

For more inspiration and to learn more about Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.