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Old 03-03-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
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Pork hocks versus ham hocks

I've bought ham hocks for years but after we moved to Arizona, I can't find them. The butchers tell me that pork hocks are the same thing so I bought them to make split pea soup and we didn't like it at all. I can't believe it's my imagination What do you do for split pea soup with the real ham flavor?

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Old 03-03-2011, 04:06 PM   #2
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I don't see ham hocks around here. We see smoked pork hocks. I've used those for the smoke and flavor in pea, navy bean and black bean soups.
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:38 PM   #3
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I would just assume that the pork hocks you bought were not smoked. If they were and you still had a problem with not enough flavor (and I have some places), sometimes it helps to stew the hocks for a day in water/onions/garlic/salt, then cook the peas in the subsequent broth. But try looking around to see if you can find a local company that brags on their smoked products.

Another option is buying a whole ham and using the bone after serving the ham for Sunday dinner, or slice most of the meat and use for sandwiches and other meals, leaving plenty of meat on the bone. Again, if not enough flavor is a problem, make a stock with it before adding the peas. The peas just don't take enough time to cook sometimes, so get as much flavor from those bones into the water before adding them as you possibly can.

Another hint is to take a sharp paring knife and score the fat on the hocks (through the fat, but even right down to the bone) before stewing them to release as much flavor as possible.

My local butcher sells superb hocks, and they are huge. So he always asks if I want them sawed in half. YES. The more bone exposed to the water, the more flavor (and any marrow will be released as well.

For those .... and I know there are a few ... living near my neck of the woods, a drive to Weber's in Cuba City, WI. Best ham hocks I've every bought, and I've bought them a lot of places.

Pea-soup and Johnny-cake, makes a French-man's belly-ache!
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire View Post
I would just assume that the pork hocks you bought were not smoked. ...!
I was thinking the same thing. Technicaly it is the same part of the animal. But they are not the same.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:12 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the hints. I do use the ham bone from a roast and like that but didn't think to cut the bone in a few places to release more flavor--I'll do that next time. And the pork hocks I was talking about were indeed smoked but the flavor just wasn't there at all so now I know what to try.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I don't see ham hocks around here. We see smoked pork hocks. I've used those for the smoke and flavor in pea, navy bean and black bean soups.
Thats life M we only get smoked ham hocks here.
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire View Post
I would just assume that the pork hocks you bought were not smoked. If they were and you still had a problem with not enough flavor (and I have some places), sometimes it helps to stew the hocks for a day in water/onions/garlic/salt, then cook the peas in the subsequent broth. But try looking around to see if you can find a local company that brags on their smoked products.

Another option is buying a whole ham and using the bone after serving the ham for Sunday dinner, or slice most of the meat and use for sandwiches and other meals, leaving plenty of meat on the bone. Again, if not enough flavor is a problem, make a stock with it before adding the peas. The peas just don't take enough time to cook sometimes, so get as much flavor from those bones into the water before adding them as you possibly can.

Another hint is to take a sharp paring knife and score the fat on the hocks (through the fat, but even right down to the bone) before stewing them to release as much flavor as possible.

My local butcher sells superb hocks, and they are huge. So he always asks if I want them sawed in half. YES. The more bone exposed to the water, the more flavor (and any marrow will be released as well.

For those .... and I know there are a few ... living near my neck of the woods, a drive to Weber's in Cuba City, WI. Best ham hocks I've every bought, and I've bought them a lot of places.

Pea-soup and Johnny-cake, makes a French-man's belly-ache!
I really like your idea of making stock from the bones first.

I've had ham bones hanging around the freezer, waiting for me to make beans again.

I could have made the stock and had it available if I wanted to make some rice.

Great idea. Thanks!
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:58 AM   #8
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I make split pea soup about once a month, and have for years... it's my favorite soup!

Ham/pork hocks, for pea soup, aren't worth messing with, in my opinion.

I use the end piece of a smoked ham and add 3/4 - 1 cup of it diced directly to the soup. It has great flavor and is no hassle compared to using a ham/pork hock. I don't have to pull anything out of my soup, getting all messy while trying to scrape bits of meat off of the bone, nor dripping across to the floor to the trash.

Because it's a heavily smoked portion of the ham, it adds extra flavor and overrides any supposed benefit from using a bony hock.

I get the end piece, pre-sliced, in at the supermarket near the ham steaks is generally only about two pounds, and not very expensive.

I prefer to get directly to the point rather than use obsolete pieces of pig
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Old 03-04-2011, 10:58 AM   #9
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you can order pork ends and ham bits and hocks from Harrington's (on line). excellent flavor!
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:05 AM   #10
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We use both, but ours are almost always smoked, which gives them really good flavor. However, I have to add that we live in an area where, in Emeril's words, "Pork fat rules." We have some of the best barbecue and smoked pork products around. When I make black bean soup, split pea soup or white beans and ham hocks, Glenn nearly melts.

There's nothing more satisfying on a cold rainy day than a huge bowl of smoked ham hocks and white beans and a big chunk of hot, butter-slathered cornbread. Oh, now, I've made myself hungry!
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