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To Smoke or not to Smoke. Hock Leg (Shank)

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    To Smoke or not to Smoke. Hock Leg (Shank)

    I have a friend that recently had a hog butchered. He had some hams made and he as the lower part of the leg left over, frozen, in his freezer. He doesn't want to throw it away. My question is, would it be worth trying to smoke this thing or should I pass? Its a pretty big chunk of meat and bone. But I would think that it would be mostly bone. Any thoughts on what temps to take it too? I'd like to take this on but, not sure if it even worth it. And I don't want to set myself up for failure. He is going to take a picture of it tonight and I will add it to this thread to give y'all a better idea as to what I am dealing with here. Any ideas are helpful.

    My vote is smokem if ya got em!

    Or save em for some amazing fresh hock boiled dinner ; )
    Last edited by Jon Solberg; August 13, 2015, 02:37 PM.


      The beautiful thing about swine is whatever isn't good for eating, is always good for beans.......salt it, slice it, and smoke it


        Hmm, I would lean towards making homemade stock instead.

        For one, you have the skin on. Remove the skin, and there isn't much meat. To cook that meat (just like other less quality cuts), it would have to cook a long time. That works fine for a 2-3lb chunk of meat, but not these, as they are so thin, they will dry out. If you still want to go ahead, I would suggest smoking them for 1-1.5 hours, then wrapping them so they are braised. This way they won't dry out. If you do braise, make sure to remove the skin. It will not be good when braised (think of a pale rubbery skin, will not look good or taste well). If you want to avoid throwing away the skin, the only way to go is cracklings. That, on the other hand, is good.

        Personally? I would get rid of the skin, and make stock, so all the good bone marrow is put to good use.


        • Spinaker
          Spinaker commented
          Editing a comment
          awesome suggestion!! Thanks Henrik

        It makes a difference if it's the front leg shank or back leg shank, and how it's cut. Because you said it came from the leftovers from ham, it sounds like its a back leg, which are often much larger than the front. It's getting popular to smoke/fry a bunch of front shanks and eat them like chicken wings, that's what it looks like Jon did, and I've heard they're delicious. Some rear shanks are large enough to make a great meal for even two people, or a single apiece. Exhibit A: Click image for larger version

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        I smoked these a few months ago with a basic herb paste/rub and served with cheesy grits, they were reaalllyyy good, and my wife and I definitely had leftovers. They came skin off, so I didn't have to remove them, but if you do leave the skin on, serving them with "cracklin" skin, i.e. fried, is pretty popular too.
        It sounds like Henrik knows what he's talking about too, a braise osso-buco style would amazing I'm sure. And, like everybody else has said, if you don't think they're big enough for a meal and don't have enough small ones for "wings", they're awesome in beans or stock. Good luck!


        • Dewesq55
          Dewesq55 commented
          Editing a comment
          Maloney & Porcelli in Manhattan is famous for its crispy deep fried pork shank. It's a good meal.

        • Spinaker
          Spinaker commented
          Editing a comment
          Holy lord that looks awesome!!

        • Flavorsavor
          Flavorsavor commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks spinaker. I highly recommend it. To be honest, we stole the idea from a local restaurant named 18 seaboard, they serve it fried with the skin on, too. It's pretty magical.

        What, nobody's been to Bavaria or Austria?

        Pork hock delicacy dish is called Schweinshaxe in Bavaria, and Stelze in Austria. It was always a treat to go to a restaurant like Schweizerhaus (Vienna Prater district) or anywhere around Vienna to get this treat.

        Love to eat them, just don't have a smoker recipe for them. Maybe we can get Meathead to come up with one. All the pigs in town will be missing their hind legs

        Favorite restaurant in Vienna for this was Melker Stiftskeller.

        Oh, the beer was pretty good too.

        Best regards,


        • Henrik
          Henrik commented
          Editing a comment
          I've been countless times, and I really enjoy the Schweinshaxe. I don't mind eating them at all, the difference is how to cook them. The Schweinshaxe is grilled directly. The other version, common in Northern Germany, called Eisbein, is boiled.

        Pickle it.


        It would probably be best to have it cut into sections as in Jon Solberg's photo, above.
        Last edited by gcdmd; August 14, 2015, 12:07 PM.


          I need to get some picture up for people to look at. These things are large. But he shot me a video the other night and it almost looks like a boston butt or a half of a ham from the video. but he's gonna take a picture of it tonight. Then you guys could tell me what you guys think it is. Thanks for e everything so far. you guys are awesome.


          • gcdmd
            gcdmd commented
            Editing a comment
            It may well be, as you say, the lower part of the thigh (commonly called the shank portion of the ham) and possibly the true shank (the part below the knee). If so, you could disarticulate the knee and have two cuts of pork.

          Click image for larger version

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          The typical Stelze in Vienna was between 2 and 3 lbs. It was dinner for 2 or 3 with leftovers.

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          Last edited by jgg85234; August 16, 2015, 09:28 PM.



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