Smoked Beef Hammer Recipe on the Meadow Creek BX25 Smoker

In this recipe we’re cooking smoked beef hammer. Never heard of them? It's the meat you'll want to smoke the next time you need to make an awesome—and I mean really awesome—presentation to impress your guests!

Why do we fork over big bucks for tomahawk steaks that are nothing but a thick ribeye steak with a big "bone handle" you can’t eat? Well, the fact is, there's hardly anything more carnivore-like than big beefy bones protruding from a hunk of meat on the serving platter! 

This is what's to love about beef hammers.

They have an awesome presence on the table, much like a tomahawk steak or a beef rib, but are far less common on the smoker. You'll be sure to impress your beef-loving guests when you serve one or more of these at a party or even for a full meal.

What Is Beef Hammer?

Beef hammer, or Thor's Hammer, is a beef shank cut to roughly a foot in length with a portion of the meat trimmed off of the bone to reveal a "handle". 

Beef shank is one of the toughest cuts of beef because the leg muscles are lean and sinewy and they get used all of the time, but if you cook it properly, this cut will be tender and full of that delicious beefy flavor we love so much.

Where Can You Buy Beef Hammer?

Until these get popular enough for grocery stores and meat markets to display them, you'll need to custom order the beef hammer or perhaps trim it up yourself. If you are friends with a butcher, I recommend you start there. If you don't have any connections, you could ask the meat department at your local grocery store, but you'll probably have the most luck at a meat market that does their own butchering. 

I got mine from Holland Bros, a family-owned meat market. I explained what I wanted ahead of time, and they prepared the beef hammers within a few days. They were great to work with and I would recommend you check them out if you are lucky enough to be in the area. (They have a line of snack sticks that are fantastic too!)

You may have noticed that my beef hammers are on the short side. There's no hard and fast rule about the size or proportion of the hammer, but I would have preferred a slightly longer bone and more of the meat saved on the bone because the meat shrinks so much when it's cooking. I believe a bigger hunk of meat would have less tendency to dry out as it cooks. You'll also end up with more meat which is an advantage when you're paying the butcher for custom trimming.

Ordering Suggestions: If you want to specify a size, I would ask for the bone to be at least 12" long, the bottom end of the bone to be cut square, and only 1/3 of the bone to be exposed.

How to Serve a Smoked Beef Hammer

There are a variety of ways to serve beef hammer. You could pull the meat and discard the bone to serve the pulled beef in sandwiches. Another option would be to shred the meat and arrange it around the bone for serving it to maintain it's presentation. If you use this method, you can pour any retained juices over the meat.

Since the presentation is a priority to me, I prefer serving the beef hammer with the bone intact. For this recipe, I chose to serve it as Pitmaster X does in the center of a dish with Doritos, guacamole, and salsa arranged around it. It makes an awesome party or game day centerpiece. Everyone can serve themselves with a fork or shred the meat on their own plate.

Smoked Beef Hammer

How to Cook Beef Hammer

Here are the steps we will follow to cook the beef hammer. The key is to cook it slowly in smoke, wrap it in foil to keep it from drying out before it finishes, and then patiently let nature do its thing.

  • Trim the silver skin from the perimeter of the beef shank.
  • Tie the meat with a loop of butcher string to hold the muscles together so it cooks more evenly.
  • Spray the meat with cooking oil, then season the meat with Meadow Creek TX Brisket Rub or your favorite beef rub.
  • Smoke the beef hammer at 250 degrees until it reaches 160 degrees internally. This should take around 4 hours. I'm using my Meadow Creek BX25 Smoker.
  • Wrap the hammer in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil to help keep the meat juicy and to speed up the cook. Dust the hammer with more rub and add some butter to the top before wrapping it.
  • Continue cooking the meat until it is fork tender (around 205–210 degrees). This should take another 3 hours roughly, but will depend on the size of the hammer you're cooking and the temperature in your smoker. When it's getting close, check it with a thermometer probe in multiple places; it should feel like it's going through hot butter. When you think it's done, open the foil wrap to make sure you can shred it with a fork.
  • It wouldn't be a bad idea to hold the meat in an ice chest for one hour to help break down the collagen even more so that it shreds easier. Set the foil-wrapped hammer in an empty cooler surrounded by a couple of bath towels to hold in the heat.

This is what we're going for... loosey, juicy beef:

Smoked Beef Hammer

Firing the Meadow Creek BX25 Box Smoker

I fired the BX25 cabinet smoker with my favorite Chef's Select 100% hardwood charcoal briquettes and a split of hardwood from my stash of firewood.

Here's a basic outline for firing this smoker:

Step 1: Open the stack and bottom two vents all the way.

Step 2: Fill the basket with 100% hardwood charcoal briquettes and 1 log split or 2 chunks of smoking wood and light it with two wax fire starter squares or a propane torch. Light the fire starters and slide the basket into the smoker while it lights or torch the charcoal through the bottom of the basket for five minutes.

Step 3: Keep the firebox door open a crack until the smoker reaches 225 degrees (roughly 20–30 minutes). Close the firebox door.

Step 4: Adjust the bottom vents to 1–2 revolutions from fully closed. Watch the temperature closely and make further adjustments to stabilize the temperature at 250 degrees.

  • If the heat rises above your desired temperature, turn the vents 1/4 revolution clockwise and give it 5–10 minutes to respond. If it keeps rising, turn it another 1/4 revolution. (Avoid closing the vents all the way or you will starve the fire.)
  • If the temperature is lagging and won't rise even when you open the vents 1/2 revolution, you can give the fire a boost by opening the firebox door a crack.
  • Be very careful not to overheat it though because it can take hours to lower the temperature if you lose control.
  • You may need to add more charcoal after about 5 hours.

Firebox loaded with Chef's Select charcoal briquettes and a stick of hardwood

Lighting the charcoal with my Greenwood propane torch

Charcoal lit

Stack with smoker fired

The BX25 box smoker is a solid choice for any barbecue enthusiast who appreciates handmade quality and wants the option of cooking with water (steam). The BX smokers are insulated, which helps them hold a steady temperature with less fuel.


Prepping the Beef Hammer

Beef shank is surrounded by a silver skin that needs to be removed. Remove the skin and tie it with a loop of butcher string to hold the muscles together. After trimming and tying the meat, I simply sprayed it with Duck Fat to help the rub stick and seasoned it with Meadow Creek TX Brisket Rub.

Beef hammers packaged from the butcher

Ready for trimming

Removing the silverskin

Removing the silverskin

Ready to tie

Tying the meat

Spraying the meat

Ready for seasoning

Seasoning the meat

Ready for the smoker


Smoking the Beef Hammer

The Meadow Creek BX25 has adjustable cooking grates. For this cook, I'm using the middle rack and set the hammers directly onto the grate. A target temperature of 250 degrees works great for these.

We will smoke the meat until it reaches 160 degrees internal temperature, then wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil and put it back in the smoker until you can shred it with a fork.

Into the smoker

Smoked Beef Hammer

Looking great

The BX25 is a handsome little smoker for the backyard or patio.

Look at that color!


“Great purchase… Quality workmanship, worth every penny, smoked a brisket with top notch results, this BX25 smoker will last you for generations, plus it’s made in the U.S.A. The folks at Meadow Creek are so informative about there products and will answer questions and send you recipes."

—Mario, online review

We've got many more happy customers. Read some of their stories here:


Wrapping the Smoked Beef Hammer

Lay down two pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil and wrap the entire hammer tightly for the rest of the cook. I like to dust them with the BBQ rub and add some butter to the top before wrapping them.

Ready to wrap

Add some butter to the top for extra flavor.

Dust it with a little more BBQ rub.

Wrap it tightly with the foil.


Finishing the Cook

Now we're back in the smoker for the rest of the cook.

Back on the smoker wrapped

"I would recommend Meadow Creek BX25 to anyone. Built to last for many years. Works great even when temperatures dip well below freezing."

—Jerry, online review


Serving the Smoked Beef Hammer

After a rest, unwrap the hammer for serving. I'm serving mine on a plate with Doritos, salsa, and guacamole.

Smoked Beef Hammer

Look at that!

Smoked Beef Hammer

Time to dig in!

Smoked Beef Hammer

Enjoy!

Smoked Beef Hammer

Irresistible!


If you’re getting a little bored with ribs, brisket, and pulled pork, try a smoked beef hammer. As you can see, it's the perfect party food with an awesome presentation.

Where to Buy a BX25 Box Smoker

On the product page, click on "Customize" to see a list of available options or "Request a Quote" to send a quote request to your nearest dealer. You can also do a dealer search to find the nearest retail store that carries our equipment.

About the Author

Lavern is the online brand ambassador for Meadow Creek Welding and founder of StoryQue magazine.

Leave a Reply 1 comment

Dave L - October 14, 2022 Reply

Interesting! Would the same process work for beef shank? I get a fair bit of shank from processing beef cattle – without the extra bone of course – and was wondering if this approach would work well for it. Thanks!

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