Smoked Ham Hocks with Pop's Brine, and Baked Beans

Discussion in 'Pork' started by snorkelinggirl, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm a big fan of homemade baked beans and usually make them with pig trotters and any ham or bacon trimmings I have lying around. A couple of weeks back I decided to try curing and smoking my own ham hocks to use in baked beans and red beans & rice. Pops very kindly fielded some questions from me on cure times and smoking temperatures. This thread represents his advice to me. Thank you, Pops!

    I started out with 2 fresh shoulder hocks, about 1 1/2 lbs each. Pops said that 7-10 days would be more than ample for hocks as they are mostly bone, and that injecting would not be necessary. I used his standard full-strength brine recipe (1 gallon water, 1 cup pickling salt, 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1 oz Cure #1). I soaked my hocks in this brine for the 7 days, let them sit in the refrigerator overnight on a rack, then hot smoked them.

    Pops said they could be hot smoked to a partially cooked IT of 135 deg F, or a fully cooked IT of 146 deg F. I went to the fully cooked IT of ~ 146 deg, which took about 4 hours at around 200 deg F. I used Pitmaster Blend in the AMNPS.

    Here are the hocks right out of the brine.

    In the smoker.

    After smoking for 4 hours at 200 deg F.

    I like the color!

    Here is the hock immersed in my baked beans. I simmered it for 3 1/2 hours in the baked beans in a 275 deg F oven. This is my standard go-to baked bean recipe which I make from scratch. If you want to see details on the recipe (just substitute the ham hock for the trotter), here is a post I did on it previously:

    After 3 1/2 hours of simmering the hock, I removed the meat from the hock, chopped it up, and put the meat back in the baked beans.

    I returned the baked beans to the oven and let them continue simmering uncovered for an additional hour until thickened.

    The baked beans came out really delicious. I'm definitely a woman who loves her pig trotters, but using home cured and smoked ham hocks in baked beans is even better. I might cold smoke the hocks for a couple of hours before applying heat next time to give them a more pronounced smoky flavor. However, the saltiness level was just right for our taste.

    Thanks again for your help and advice, Pops!

    Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays!
  2. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That sounds delicious! I'd like to try Pop's brine and ox tails.
  3. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wow. I can't imagine a better meal on a cold winter day. Did I say wow?

  4. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Todd,

    Thank you!! Ooooh, interesting idea on the cured oxtails! Are you thinking cure, smoke, then braise to finish? Wow, I'm interested in how this turns out for sure to post on it!

    Have a great night and Happy Holidays!

    Hi Disco,

    Thank you so much! I totally agree....there is something about a bean dish (with meat, of course) that is very satisfying on a winter day. Funny story: a coworker of mine was recently put on a "healthy" diet by his wife. He was describing a kale and white bean soup she made for dinner. I was like, "what about the sausage?". He was like, "I'd have killed to have sausage in it". Shouldn't there be a law against this kind of thing? Beans require at least a little bit of meat, preferably cured meat. End of story.

    But anyway, thanks so much for reading my post! Hope you have a great night, and Happy Holidays!
  5. bdskelly

    bdskelly Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Awesome Clar… Best looking beans I've seen in quite awhile. B
  6. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you! And thanks very much for checking out my post! I haven't gotten around to making gumbo yet, but I bet that other ham hock would be delicious in some gumbo.

    Have a great night! Happy Holidays!
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks Fantastic Clarissa! Them hocks would make a gret addition to navy bean soup, or split pea soup, potato soup, corn chowder, smoked salmon chowder, oyster chowder, clam chowder, or how about straight up bacon stew!!!
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
  8. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks great ,not the weather for it here but it's a winter classic. I could eat that all day.
    Hocks are really underrated as a cut, I like those big hind leg units anyway I can get them.
  9. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Oh my! The Lady slides right from classical french right into beans with smoked hocks. I just got some fresh greens tonight, maybe a pan a cornbread tomorrow. We need to pool our resources!

    That looks outstanding. I wish I could find some fresh hocks like that for new years!
  10. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yum! The possibilities are endless! I've still got another couple of fresh shoulder hocks in the freezer that I didn't cure because I was waiting to see how the first two came out. I'm pulling those out of the freezer today to get them started curing too!

    Thanks for stopping by, Case! Have a great week and Merry Christmas!

    I agree! Fresh hocks and shanks are both underrated. They make an awesome braise when uncured, lots of meat on them.

    Thanks for the compliments, Mick! Have a great week and Merry Christmas!

    Hi Foam,

    Ham hocks and greens...yum!! And hang on to that potlikker!

    I was planning to use my 2nd hock for making Red Beans & Rice for the New Year, but you've got me craving a big plate of greens now. I've definitely got to cure and smoke more ham hocks right away!

    Thank you for checking out my post and for the compliments! Have a great week, and Merry Christmas!
  11. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks awesome hocks and beans and those look just soooo much better than anything in a market. Isn't Hoppin' John traditional on New Years for good luck in the coming year??.....another tasty bean dish.....Have a great Christmas, neighbor...........Willie
  12. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Did I get my "good luck in the coming year" bean dishes mixed up? Crap, I'm screwed for 2014! :biggrin:

    But hey! It's good to see you stopping by! I've been wondering how you were doing. Hope everything is going well for you.

    Take care and hope you have a great Christmas and New Year too!!
  13. pops6927

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

    Fantastic beans and hocks, Clarissa!  So very glad I could help and never hesitate to ask me anything!  Just a wonderful feeling being able to bring such food happiness to all others who like such stuff!  And to hear how much they enjoyed it!  Dad sent his products all over the world to people.  I've sent his producing methods all over the world too and I am positive he is up in The Big Smokehouse glad that I have so others could enjoy over and over again!  
  14. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    LOL.....all is well here, survived the snow quite nicely. I've never actually made the Hoppin John for NYD but do remember the tale. I'll assume some culture claims hocks & beans as lucky also so me thinks you're safe. Regards and again, have a great Christmas....

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