I have a question about brining Pork Hocks.

Discussion in 'Pork' started by shortend, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. shortend

    shortend Meat Mopper

    I was perusing through the Double Smoked Ham posts in preparation for my Easter ham smoke and came across a thread for Smoked Ham Hock and Split Pea soup. I thought, that sure sounded good, but I haven't had any that was really good since my mom's, and that's been many long years ago.  I will be doing some cold smoked belly bacon this weekend using my AMNS, and I thought maybe I'd get a few pork hocks and throw them in with the bacon. Since I will be cold smoking, I will need to brine the pork hocks.

    My question is, what brine would any of you suggest I use, and for how long should I brine them to be safe? I will be leaving the skin on, and they are mostly bone and very little meat. But when they are done right, they are "oh, so good" in soup. Take Split Pea and Ham soup, for example.

    Thanks,

    ShortEnd
     
  2. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You would have to use a pickling brine with cure, probably for 1 or 2 days should be sufficient (of course, under refrigeration).
     
  3. shortend

    shortend Meat Mopper

    Thanks Pops, I figured you'd have the answer. I did some looking and found Smoked Ham Hocks in the Charcuterie Book by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn that confirms your answer. 

    The Brine:

    1 gal / 4 liters water

    2 1/2 c / 350 grams kosher salt

    1 c / 225 grams sugar

    1 1/2 oz / 42 grams pink salt (8 tsp)

    8 fresh ham hocks (about 8 lbs / 3-5 kilograms total)

    Combine all ingredients, bring to a simmer to dissolve, cool, and chill in frig. Add hocks and weigh down to fully submerge and refrigerate for 3 days. Remove hocks, rince well, pat dry and refrigerate on a rack set over a tray for 8-24 hrs.

    Hot smoke @ 200 degrees to an internal of 150 degrees.

    I picked up 9 (a little over 5 lbs) fresh pork hocks and have them in the brine. I think instead of cold smoking them, I will hot smoke them. That will cut down on the time it'll take to cook them to tender in the soup stock.

    Speaking of Michael Ruhlman did anybody happen to catch him on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation show about the Midwest on the Travel Channel the other night?  Very cool. He's really into what he does.
     

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