Call your butcher days ahead to order fresh hocks. This recipe also works great with fresh turkey wings.
Hands-on 45 min.; Total 18 hours, 45 min.
3 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 (10- to 12-oz.) fresh ham hocks
4 cups pecan or hickory wood chips
2 (9-inch) square disposable aluminum foil pans
2 cups beer or apple cider
1/4 cup maple syrup or molasses
How to Make It
Bring first 4 ingredients and 2 qt. water to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat, and cool 1 hour. Divide hocks between 2 (1-gal.) heavy-duty zip-top plastic bags. Pour half of brine mixture into each bag; seal and chill 8 to 24 hours. Remove hocks, and rinse. Discard brine. Chill hocks uncovered on a wire rack over a baking sheet 2 hours, or cover with foil, and chill up to 12 hours.
Place 2 cups wood chips in each disposable pan; pour 1 cup beer into each pan. Soak chips 30 minutes.
Heat 1 side of grill to 200° (low) heat, leaving other side unlit. Place 1 pan of wood chips on lit side of grill. (Reserve second pan of soaked chips for Step ) Cover grill for 20 minutes or until wood chips begin to smoke. Place ham hocks on unlit side of grill; brush with syrup. Grill, covered and maintaining temperature at 200°, 2 hours, brushing with syrup every hour.
Remove pan of chips from grill, and discard. Place reserved pan of chips on lit side. Grill, covered and maintaining temperature at 200°, 4 to 6 more hours or until meat is tender. (The longer you cook, the smokier they get.)
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