Virginia-style smoked and spiced barbecue ham hocks
- July 2013
- Serves 10-12
- Takes 20 minutes to make, 3-4 hours to cook, and up to 1-2 days marinating
These smoky BBQ ham hocks are slow-cooked for succulent meat.
- 8.7g (2.3g saturated)
- 36.2g (35.7g sugars)
For 12 servings
For the ham hocks
- 4 tsp each ground cumin, ground fennel seeds and ground black pepper
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 tsp salt
- 4 British free-range uncooked, unsmoked ham hocks, skin on (see tip)
For the Virginia barbecue sauce
- 1 litre cider vinegar
- 750ml medium-dry cider
- 400g dark brown sugar
- 4 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 150g tomato purée
- ½ tsp each salt and black pepper
- 100g piece smoked British free-range bacon, chopped into chunks
- To prepare the hocks, mix the spices and salt in a bowl. With a sharp, thin knife, make deep slits in the meat, then rub all over with the spice mix, working it into the slits. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.
- Prepare the barbecue smoker with a water tray. When the temperature reaches 150°C-180°C, put the hocks on the grill and close the lid. Keep checking the temperature (you can control this by opening or closing the barbecue’s vents). If the temperature drops you may need to add more charcoal. If this happens, remove the meat and keep under foil until the flames have died down and the coals are white.
- After 2 hours, check the hocks. At this stage, the meat should be shrinking back from the bone and becoming beautifully blackened. Cook for another 1-1½ hours.
- While the meat is cooking, make the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan. Put over a medium heat and bubble for 50-60 minutes or until the sauce has thickened to your liking, skimming off any foam from the top. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then remove the bacon (keep this to spice up a salad). Leave to cool to room temperature.
- When the pork is ready, it should be 75°C-85°C at the centre. Remove and rest the hocks on a platter, loosely covered in foil, for 20 minutes, then serve with the sauce.
Go to a good butcher for uncooked, unsmoked (green) ham hocks.
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