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Smoked Haxe

Haxe (roast pork hock) is one the most famous Bavarian dishes. Traditionally it is made on a charcoal rotisserie but it can also be made in an oven. But if you have the right barbecue gear, it is also possible to make it in a smoker.

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Haxe is all about the crispy skin, and you need a temperature of above 200 degrees to get it right. I own a Monolith kamado style ceramic smoker which is essentially the same as a Big Green Egg. This type of smoker allows temperatures anywwhere from 80 to 400 degrees simply using charcoal, so this is the perfect device for this.

There are plenty of things you can do wrong with a haxe. Overcooking and a rubbery skin are probably the most prevalent mistakes. To prevent this, a lot of tricks and “secrets” have been invented inlcuding brining, injecting or parboiling.  I am quite the purist when it comes to haxe, and my recent minimalist experiment has shown that nonoe of these tricks are strictly necessary. All you need is dry heat and good timing. A meat thermometer won’t hurt either, but with some experience you don’t even need this.

haxe_smoker1I bought a fairly small specimen of a hind hock of 1.1 kg that provides a large portion for a single person. A bigger one serves two, and a front hock is a slightly smaller single portion.

Method:

  • Rub generously with salt. Nothing else.
  • Smoke provided by chunks of fruit wood (I used some of my trusty mirabelle wood I sill have left)
  • 2 hours at 160 to 170 degrees (or to 78 degrees internal temperature), indirect heat with deflector stone
  • Then crank up the temperature to 220 degrees
  • Check often for the skin in this final phase so it won’t burn

This worked out very well for me. Even though I did not use a thermometer, the meat came out almost perfect. You should end up between 80 and 85 degrees. I used a generous amount of wood and the smoker was merrily puffing along most of the time, but still the smoke influence remained moderate, which is good.

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I just used a dry dripping pan for the rendered fat. I don’t like sauce with haxen. Good barbecue doesn’t need sauce anyway.

Serve this with bread and/or Bavarian coleslaw and drink beer with it.

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