Whether added to soups, stews, or legume dishes or enjoyed with a side of veggies and some cornbread, ham hocks are an amazingly tasty cut of pork that can add so much flavor to a dish. This thick cut of pork is inexpensive and easy to cook, and there are plenty of ways to prepare your ham hocks. Use braised, smoked, or raw ham hocks to make a delicious comforting dish with wonderfully tender meat and fantastic flavor. The key to phenomenal ham hocks is to crisp them up then let them braise in broth in the oven for a few hours. The result will be perfectly cooked ham hocks every time.
Ham hocks come from the bottom part of a pig's leg, where the calf connects to the ankle. This particular cut is popular in the American South, as ham hocks impart loads of smoky, salty flavor to dishes. They're packed with protein, iron, and other nutrients, however, ham hocks are also high in salt.
Cooking ham hocks couldn't be easier. To make perfect homemade ham hocks, saute the hocks in a skillet over medium heat, making sure to get them crispy and brown. Pour in some vegetable broth (plus any desired seasonings), then cover the skillet and pop it in the oven for 2 to 3 hours. After a few hours of baking, the meat on the ham hocks will fall off the bone and be infused with amazing flavor.
For simple variations, you can add fresh herbs, spices, and seasonings to your ham hocks. Creole seasoning, taco seasoning, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, fresh rosemary, and paprika are just a few ideas to try.
To make an even crispier skin, broil the ham hocks for a few minutes once they've finished baking in the oven.
Low sodium broth is best for this recipe – the ham hocks are quite salty so if you use regular broth, the salt might overwhelm the dish.
If you're worried about the salt content of the ham hocks, soak them in water for at least half an hour before cooking. This will help remove some of the salt.
Ham hocks don't have loads of meat on them, so they are usually used to flavor other dishes like soups, stews, stocks, and so on. That said, ham hocks are delicious when paired with a variety of sides. Collard greens, beans, a lentil soup, vegetables, and crispy roasted potatoes are all popular ways to eat ham hocks.
Raw ham hocks need to be refrigerated and cooked within a week. Once cooked, ham hocks will also last up to a week in the fridge. Frozen cooked ham hocks will taste best when used within 2 to 3 months.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Heat olive oil in an oven-safe skillet. Saute the ham hocks until they become brown and crispy.
Pour in the vegetable broth, then turn off the heat and cover with a lid.
Bake in the oven for 2 to 3 hours, or until the meat becomes fork-tender.
Remove from the oven and serve warm.
You can use either raw or smoked ham hocks for this recipe.