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Brined & Smoked Pork Leg Recipe

This barbecue pork leg recipe shows you how you can grill a whole pork leg to perfection without turning the outside into a charred mummy. As explained here below, you can do this even in your small and simple kettle barbecue. The result is 14 pounds of barbecue smoked whole porkleg, which tastes fantastic, and looks quite spectacular!

The whole leg of pork in this barbecue recipe was first submerged in a spicy brine for 16 hours. After that we have hot smoked this beautiful collection of whole bone-in ham, shank and other juicy pork meat for almost 10 hours in a closed barbecue, whereby we added chunks of oak to the glowing charcoal briquettes to generate a nice and fragrant smoke.

Picture of a whole pork leg on a Weber barbecue.


Ingredients

For this whole smoked pork leg recipe you will need the following ingredients:

12-15 pounds
2 gallons
Pork Leg, bone-in, skin on;
Spicy Brine



Spicy Brine Spicy Brine
Brining and hot smoking is a perfect combination. I recently developed this spicy brine and tried it on a couple of cuts of porkside, and everybody really liked the results.



Hot Smoke BBQ Charcoal Briquettes


Preparations

Preparation of the Pork Leg

-

Make 2 gallons of spicy brine as per the Hot Smoke Spicey Brine Recipe; Let cool down;

-

Clean the pork leg under cold running water, removing any loose pieces of meat, fat and bone;

-

Remove any excess skin or fat;

-

Put the pork leg in a sealable non-reactive container or stainless steel pan and add the spicy brine; Close, and store in the fridge; (if it is cold enough in winter you could put it outside, but be aware of cats and dogs...   ;-)

-

This particular pork leg weighed 14 pounds and I kept it in the brine for 16 hours; After those 16 hours I poured out the brine liquid and put the meat and brine spices back in the refrigerator;

-

Before you put the meat on the bbq, blot dry using paper towels; The remaining spices from the brine go into the drip pan in the barbecue below the meat.


Juancho's BBQ Tip
To get this slowfood pork leg properly done without charring the outside too much it is quite important to keep the temperature inside the barbecue within limits.
That's why I use a thermometer to continuously monitor the temperature.

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Preparation of the BBQ

Juancho's Split Grill

Juancho's Split Grill To obtain sustained lower heat and improved temperature control inside the barbecue, and to increase the grate area and thus to be able to accommodate more meat or larger cuts of meat, I set up my relatively small Weber Grill for indirect grilling on one side as per the method that I call Juancho's Split Grill.



Photo of whole pork leg on a kettle barbecue.


A Smoker's Diary...

Here follows a report - from day to day - of this winter barbecue.


Hot Smoke BBQ - A Smoker's Diary...
You will find a full report - minute to minute - of the smoking of this slowfood whole pork leg on the Hot Smoke BBQ page named "Smoker's Diary - Whole Pork Leg".

Thursday (D-3)

On Thursday afternoon I picked up the pork leg at the butcher shop. (I had ordered it on the Monday before)

This "whole pork leg" is in fact the part of the hind leg from the ankle joint up to the ham, including bones and knee joint, with a total weight of 14 pounds.

She fits !!! - Photo of fitting of pork leg on the barbecue. Back home I first checked if Miss Piggy did indeed fit underneath the lid of my barbecue (she did, but only just!), then put her in the fridge to rest a bit.


Friday (D-2)

On Friday afternoon I made 2 gallons of spicey brine as per the Hot Smoke recipe, and let it cool down;

Photo of whole prok leg, ready for brining. On Friday evening I unpacked the pork leg. She already looked very clean, but I still washed her under cold running tap water.

Photo of pork leg just submerged in spicy brine. At 12 pm I poured the spicy brine into a plastic container, submerged the pork leg, made sure that it was indeed fully submerged in the brine, closed the lid, and put everything back in the fridge.


Saturday (D-1)

At 4 pm I poured away the brine liquid, making sure the herbs and spices remained behind with the pork leg in the plastic container. Closed the lid, and put everything back in the fridge.


Sunday = D-day !

Today it's gonna happen!

Believe it or not: on this Sunday morning I rose at 7:15 am! (Not so long ago, I used to come home at this kind of hour... ;o)

Outside it is still dark, foggy, and cold.
In other words:
                                      réally níce bárbecue weather!

07:30h

I first took the pork leg out of the fridge, took the lid off the container, just to let her temperature rise a little bit;

07:50h

Picture of chimney filled with charcoal briquettes, just lighted. While I light a chimney full of charcoal briquettes, the birds in the neighbourhood treat me to an amazing concert.

08:00h

Photo of chunks of oak smokewood in the coal pocket of the barbecue. I prepare my "fat Weber" for a combination of indirect grilling and hot smoking following my own barbecue set up;
In the coal pocket of the barbecue I put 2 fair chunks of oak smokewood from a piece of woodland in the neighbourhood;

08:15h

Photo of glowing charcoal briquettes in the coal pocket of the barbecue. I dumped the glowing briquettes from the chimney on top of the smoke-wood in the coal pocket of the barbecue;

Furthermore:
- Half a bottle of red wine and a pint of water go in the drip pan of the barbecue;
- To avoid burning of the meat adjacent to the fire, I placed a baffle (made of folded aluminium foil) along the length of the fire;
Photo of Juancho's Split Grill - Ready to Go! - I placed a stainless steel bowl filled with water above the fire, which will act as a vaporizer to keep the hot gasses inside the barbecue moist, thereby decreasing the drying of the skin of the meat;
- I closed the Barbecue lid shut, opened all vent holes, saw a nice whisp of Hot Smoke (!), and let the barbecue heat thoroughly for like ten minutes or so.

08:20h

The ambient temperature is 45F, no wind;
I placed a sturdy umbrella above the barbecue; Not against the rain but against the cold;
Photo of pork leg on the barbecue grate. Put the brined whole pork leg on the barbecue grill;
The herbs and spices from the brine go into the drip pan underneath the meat;

08:35h

Closed the lid of the bbq;
Placed the probe of the thermometer in the barbecue at the top, just underneath the lid;
Bottom vent holes 1/2 open;


Hot Smoke BBQ - A Smoker's Diary...
You will find a full report - minute to minute - of the smoking of this slowfood whole pork leg on the Hot Smoke BBQ page named "Smoker's Diary - Whole Pork Leg".

10:41h

Temperature in barbecue 296F; Opened the lid of the grill, pork leg has a nice brown colour, seems to have shrunk a little and looks a bit rounder;
- Added 10 cold charcoal briquettes on top of the glowing briquettes;
- Vaporizer bowl stood dry, replenished the water;
- Covered the (thinner) lower part of the pork leg (the shank) loosely with aluminium foil to avoid overcooking;

Photo of whole pork leg smoking on a Weber barbecue. 10:44h - Indirect grilling of a whole pork leg in a kettle grill.


10:46h

Closed barbecue lid;
The ambient temperature has risen to 50F;

13:17h

Temperature in barbecue is 264F;
Opened the lid of the barbecue;
The pork leg looks really nice golden brown now; The skin starts to retract;
- Added 10 cold charcoal briquettes and 1 chunk of oak smoke wood on top of the glowing briquettes;
- Added half a liter lukewarm water to the drip pan;
- Vaporizer bowl stood dry again, replenished the water;
- Cleaned the fire by shaking and removing the ashes underneath (a clean fire is easier to control);
Photo of pork leg on the barbecue grate, just turned around. - Turned the pork leg (skin side up now) and covered loosely with aluminium foil;

13:33h

Barbecue lid closed;
Bottom vent holes fully open;
Ambient temperature 48F now, fairly sunny, but a bit more wind;

18:07h

Barbecue 271F;
Temperature inside the thickest part of the pork leg has now reached 172F;
Took the pork leg off the grill, transferred to cutting board, covered with aluminium foil;
We let the pork leg rest inside the house, covered with aluminium foil, for like one hour to allow the internal juices to re-distribute;

Hot Smoke BBQ - A Smoker's Diary...
You will find a full report - minute to minute - of the smoking of this slowfood whole pork leg on the Hot Smoke BBQ page named "Smoker's Diary - Whole Pork Leg".

Photo of whole pork leg after almost 10 hours of indirect grilling in a Weber kettle grill. 18:11h - It's getting dark - After almost 10 hours of indirect grilling in my Weber kettle grill, this whole pork leg is well done without burning the skin.


19:07h

Cut the meat, it is still very hot inside;
With hindsight, I could have cooked the ham to a lower temperature, but the meat can still be sliced easily without falling apart;
The pork leg has a beautiful smoky flavour, it is very juicy, and the salt content is just right;
And the most important: the taste is delicious!



Hot Smoke BBQ Charcoal Briquettes


The PitBoss Suggests


Photo of Hot smoked whole ham, served with sharp Dijon Mustard, smooth Honey Mustard, freshly baked Ciabatta rolls, Juanita's American Coleslaw, and South Beach Coleslaw. Hot smoked whole ham, served with sharp Dijon Mustard, smooth Honey Mustard, freshly baked Ciabatta rolls, Juanita's American Coleslaw and South Beach Coleslaw.



At Hot Smoke BBQ we love Chile Peppers!




Keep Smokin' !