Traditionally, in North America the hock is a section of the front arm bone of the pig. On one end the elbow joint is severed. On the other, where the arm of the pig meats the body, a cut is made and the arm bone is sawed through. So on one end of the hock there is a clean joint, and on the other the circular cross-section of a bone.
In traditional British butchery it is the analogous section from the hind leg that is called the hock; that from the front was known as the hand.
Nowadays, whether taken from the forearm or the hind leg, both cuts are considered hocks. They are almost always processed into ham, that … Continue reading.
If you consult a North American resource on smoking meat, you’re likely find something like the following:
The first rule of smoking meat: use hardwood. Apple, hickory, maple, oak, pear, cherry, whatever you please, but do not use soft wood, and especially not evergreens. They are extremely resinous, and not only do they produce harsh, turpentine flavours in the meat, they are also poisonous!
These comments are discouraging to someone who lives where the prairies meet the boreal forest. Of course there are hardwood trees in Edmonton, but they’re not nearly as common as, say, poplars and spruce. There’s a spruce tree in my front yard that, if left to its own devices, will someday eat my house. There’s a … Continue reading.