I saw a chef today on PBS named Daisy Martinez. She specialized in Puerto Rican cuisine. I was very impressed by several of her dishes but really caught notice of a ham hock she put in her black beans. I live in the D/FW area in Texas and if anybody knows where I can find ham hocks that big and meaty please let me know. The one's I find in grocery stores are small and mostly fat or the sliced bacon strip type. Neither type gives up much meat.
I LOVE Daisy! I really wanted to watch that episode about the beans today ... but I got too engrossed in the Ranger's game and forgot about it ... DRAT!
Technically - a ham hock is the lower portion of a pig's hind leg (generally it's from just above the knee on down) - it's not going to be very meaty - it's used for flavor and it's connective tissue (gelatin) - not for big chunks of meat.
I've watched Daisy before - and what she sometimes calls a ham hock appears to be the hock end of a ham.
I use smoked ham hocks (from Albertsons) to cook my beans - and if I want more meat - I toss in some smoked ham. You should be able to get these at your local grocery store since we live in the same general area.
Trick I learned to get the most flavor ... put the hocks into a pot of COLD water, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 1-2 hours. Wash and add the beans - bring to a boil and cut the heat off and let steep for an hour or so. Then add additional water as needed and cook.