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Smoked Ham Hocks

Yield Makes 4 ham hocks
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.

Ingredients

  • 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

  1. 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.

  2. Place 2 cups wood chips in each disposable pan; pour 1 cup beer into each pan. Soak chips 30 minutes.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.)