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A Smoker's Diary - BBQ Pork Hocks

On this page you will find a detailed log of the hot smoking of pork hocks as further described on the recipe page named "Hot Smoked Pork Hocks".

First, I treated these barbecue pork hocks to a spicy-sweet mustard dry rub, then indirectly grilled / hot smoked them for three hours on a mix of charcoal briquettes and chunks of oak smoke wood.


Photo of pork shanks and small piece of boneless ham on the barbecue grate.

To Set the Smoky Scene:

Winter barbecue - end of January, outside temperature around freezing, cloudy, some icy rain; barbecue under sturdy umbrella, close to the house;

Full chimney of charcoal briquettes into Juancho's Split Grill; 2 chunks of oak smoke wood; 1/2 bottle left-over red wine, plus fair dash of water;

Photo of pork shanks and small boneless ham, ready for indirect grilling in the barbecue. Besides the 2 pork shanks of about 1.5 pounds each, we also have a 1.25 pounds piece of boneless ham on the barbecue grate;

Temperatures mentioned on this page are in Fahrenheit (F), measured right under the lid of the barbecue, unless indicated otherwise;

A Smoker's Diary

15:25h

The pork shanks are put on the grill above the drip pan; barbecue lid closed; nice plume of smoke; bottom vent holes half open;

15:27h

Thermometer shows over 400F; bottom vent holes fully closed; smoke reduced to a faint whisp;

15:35h

390F and decreasing; bottom vent holes opened to 1/4; smoke increases a bit;

15:45h

300F and decreasing; bottom vent holes opened a bit further;

16:03h

198F and decreasing; bottom vent holes opened fully; Put my oven mitts on top of the barbecue for extra insulation - all bits help!

16:20s

293F and rising; bottom vent holes reduced to 3/4 open;

16:25h

348F and rising; bottom vent holes reduced a bit more;

16:33h

358F and rising; bottom vent holes reduced to 1/2 open;

16:43h

366F and rising slowly; bottom vent holes reduced to 3/8 open;

16:50h

359F; the pork shanks start smelling delicious!

16:59h

363F;

17:06h

363F; time for a glass of wine! Juanita (my lovely assistant) opens a bottle of Graffigna Malbec 2005 (San Juan, Argentina); Ay mami, que rico!

17:15h

359F;

17:25h

Photo of pork shanks after two hours of hot smoking in the barbecue smoker. 356F; opened barbecue to check; the pieces of meat have a nice brown colour!

Meanwhile, the temperature inside the boneless ham is 156F, so it is almost (medium) done; From this point onwards, we will measure temperature inside the meat;

17:37h

Temperature inside the boneless ham is 158F;

17:50h

Temperature inside the boneless ham: 162F; Opened the lid of the barbecue; Boneless ham transferred to cutting board, covered with aluminium foil, let rest;

Meanwhile, temperature inside the largest of the pork shanks is 165F;

18:02h

Cut some slices off the boneless ham; beautiful pink meat; smoke ring is a bit disappointing, but the taste of this freshly smoked ham is absolutely delicious!

18:09h

Temperature inside the largest of the pork shanks is still 165F; bottom vent holes opened to 3/4;

18:16h

Photo of the pork shanks during hot smoking in the barbecue smoker. Temperature inside the largest of the pork shanks: 168F; bones start protruding, meaning that the meat is starting to get well done;

18:24h

Temperature inside the largest of the pork shanks has now risen to 172F; (if this continues, these shanks will reach the target 180F in about 15-20 minutes)

18:45h

Photo of hot smoked pork shanks, just out of the barbecue smoker. Temperature inside the thickest pork shank has now reached 182F; bones protruding well from the meat;

Transferred smoked pork hocks to cutting board, covered with aluminium foil, let rest;

18:55h

Dinner will have to wait, not all members of the family are home yet;

In the meantime, Juanita serves another glass of that beautiful Malbec... tastes great, but we take it easy - sensible and grown up as we are!     ;-)

19:20h

Everybody home now, let's eat!

The pork shanks have kept nice and warm under the aluminium foil; Under a thin bark, the meat is juicy and full of flavour, falls off the bone, and shows a nice smoke ring;

Everybody enjoys the Q! Mission accomplished.


Photo of hot smoked pork shanks (photo by Harry).




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