What is a ham hock?
The ham hock is a joint between the leg and foot of the pig. It is neither part of the ham nor part of the ankle or foot, but more like a very long shank.
This piece is covered with skin and contains ligaments and tendons, so it does require longer cooking times. This cut of meat can be smoked or unsmoked depending on how you would like to cook it. Most recipes you find will call for a smoked ham hock because the smokey flavor has infiltrated the meat and bones and gives whatever you are cooking that smokey flavor as well.
Why choose a ham hock?
Choosing a smoked ham hock might be the perfect ingredient for your corn chowder, split pea soup, bean stew or even collard greens.
Any time you want to boost the flavor of a dish, turn to the smoked ham hock. Because the hocks contain a lot of connective tissues, they release collagen as they are cooking giving a wonderful rich silky feeling when eating a dish prepared with them.
This recipe from A Spicy Perspective features a 5 star rating for Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Ham Bone Soup. This recipe includes beautiful photography with step-by-step instructions. Put your ham scraps to use with this recipe or use a smoked ham hock for an economical option.
Tasty provides us with some fun recipes on social media but this one is a definite winner! Slow-Cooker Collard Greens and Ham Hocks, is a southern tradition and this recipe is so easy. Just add the recommended ingredients, cook in your slow cooker for 8 hours, chop, toss and serve warm!
Amanda Biddle with Striped Spatula created this hearty and comforting Split Pea Soup with Ham for our enjoyment. Split peas are packed with fiber and protein as well as vitamins and minerals. So, if you are looking for a new recipe try Amanda’s with a John Henry’s smoked ham hock.