While cutting up about 15 lbs of fresh, fat-on pig skin in order to make cracklins, I saved and smoked the meaty chunks you see piled between the two bowls. They looked like they'd make better smoked meat than cracklins. |
You can buy smoked hog jowls, ham hocks, and neck bones in most any supermarket, but store-bought smoked meat is just barely smoked. It's not even brown, kinda tannish brown. If you throw a chunk of that stuff in a pot of beans, you can hardly taste the smoke. I like a distinct smoke flavor to my beans, so I smoke my bean meat myself. If I don't have fresh meat, I use store-bought smoked meat and really smoke it.
We seasoned the pig meat chunks not at all. We put a sliced white onion on top of the roast, then sprinkled on garlic powder, salt, added a couple of shots of assorted all-purpose seasonings, then daubed on a tablespoon or 2 of Worcestershire sauce. We didn't measure anything.
We turned the venison roast and the pig meat chunks about every half hour. They cooked for 5 hours at an estimated 350°. After 4 hours, you should check your roast with a meat thermometer. This is why using a meat thermometer is important. Remember that you have to be precise in everything—from ingredients to meat temperature if you want your meat to taste really good. Every pit cooks differently. We've cooked many venison and bovine roasts on this pit, and we know that in exactly 5 hours, they're done.
30 minutes before we removed the smoked meat and the roast, we cut open the foil and exposed the roast to smoke. That gave the roast a delicious smoke flavor.
Here's my sister, Kathryn, with the results–venison roast on your right, smoked meat on your left. The smoked meat looks burned, but it isn't. It's heavily smoked. It is also not fatty at all. Most of the oil cooked out of it.
I wrap each piece in foil and throw it in the freezer until I make a pot of beans. Then I scrub the frozen chunk under the faucet, removing soot and ash, etc., and then I throw it in with the uncooked beans.
I realize that the smoked chunks looked burned beyond use. They're not. If you don't trust me, try it with just 1 or 2 ham hocks. When you cook your first pot of beans and take a bite, you will wish you'd smoked the whole damn hog.