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Smoked Hocks and Shanks

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
It's the season for split pea soup - YUMMO! :lol:

Yesterday I bought some smoked ham shanks for the soup and noticed that, compared to some supermarket hocks and shanks purchased in the past, these had a more delicate smokey aroma and flavor, and were lighter in color (less caramel-looking) than what I'd purchased in the past.

I was wondering if commercially smoked hocks, shanks, and other meats, may not really be smoked at all, but just infused with smoke flavor. The new butcher assured me - and I've no reason to doubt him - that the shanks he has are "truly" smoked.

Comments?

BTW, what part of the pig is the hock? In the past I bought hocks and this time I got a shank. Could that account for the differnce in color and smokey intensity?

shel
post #2 of 9
Most commercial wet cured shanks and hams are never smoked at all, but get their smokiness from the brining process where a liquid smoke type flavor is added. True for bacon too. If they were truly smoked it should say on the packaging about "Hardwood Smoked" or something similar. But even a true smoked commercial product is often done at an accelerated pace, under pressure for example to work the smoke flavor in quickly.

It sounds like you're more interested in an artisan type ham.

A dry smoked ham should have a dry and sort of tough exterior, not wet and soft.

Wet cure isn't automatically bad in my opinion. One of the best hams I've ever eaten was a wet cure that was never smoked at all. It was done by a small local butchering house that works mostly with local farmers for their own use. Some great bacon too, but not in a smoke house. On the other hand, we used another small butcher in the same area for the next pig and this one was only average in flavor and texture, like most grocery stores carry. So who and how they do the wet cure makes a difference.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 9
The Hock is more toward the foot/shin area. The Ham is the big fat thigh and the Shank is what is trimmed off of most hams as they narrow down to the lower leg. The Hock is below that. The Shank is a bit meatier but I would consider them a good substitute for each other.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Phil .... kinda what I thought about the smoking.

shel
post #5 of 9
Honeybaked Ham sells hambones, at least they do down here. Fantastic for bean dishes.

Thanks for reminding me. Think I'll go pick one up.
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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post #6 of 9
FWIW: Anybody who, because of preference or dietary restriction, cannot eat pork products can substitute a smoked turkey leg in virtually any such recipe.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
This is certainly true, and good advice. I may do just that with the next batch of soup if I can find a smoked turkey leg or drum stick.

shel
post #8 of 9

Hello There and Happy New Year to all!

I have pork shanks.  I want to use them as one would use a ham hock.

I do have a smoker.

Do I just smoke it or do I have to brine it than smoke it?

If so, it would be very helpful if one could share there recipe on  a bine if need be

I want to use it in bean /  pea ect. soup.

Thank you so very much for reading this.

post #9 of 9

I prefer smoked neck bones for some things like greens.  I find hocks have more collagen and I prefer them for soup.  Yes to smoked turkey wings they have a lot of surface area and lots of flavor.

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