Do you have a hankering for a delicious and hearty one-pot meal? Look no further because we’ve got the best way to cook ham hocks right here! With the help of your trusty Crockpot and some beans, you can create a soup that is bursting with flavor. These ham hocks are not to be wasted—they have an abundance of rich, smoky taste that will leave you wanting more!
Cook Like a Pro with Ham Hocks
Last year, we made a slow cooker ham and beans recipe using dry beans, but that took quite a while. If you’re in a hurry, give this version a try. You can even use leftover ham to speed up the process.
Now, let’s talk about the star ingredient—the ham hock. These come from the bottom of the pig’s leg (rear ankles) and require a long simmering time for the tender bits of meat to effortlessly fall off the bone. While each ham hock may not offer a substantial amount of protein, the flavor it imparts is simply unmatched. You won’t even need to add any additional seasonings to make this dish a standout.
Ham Hocks or Ham Shanks: What’s the Difference?
Don’t fret about choosing between ham hocks or ham shanks—they both have the same cooking time. The only disparity lies in the fact that shanks offer more meat.
Versatile Uses for Ham Hocks
Ham hocks are incredibly versatile and can enhance the flavor of various dishes, particularly soups. They add a smoky depth to your meals and provide a touch of meatiness. We’ve compiled a few delectable recipes that you can try with this beautiful ingredient. To make the most of ham hocks, opt for a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or Ninja Foodi for these recipes:
- Instant Pot lentil soup with ham
- Our Instant Pot black-eyed peas and ham
- Crockpot ham and potato soup
- Pressure cooker barley soup
- Add 1-2 ham hocks to our homemade Instant Pot split pea soup
Crockpot Pinto Beans with Ham Hock
The other night, we decided to make a scrumptious dish using smoked ham hocks. We found a package of these flavor bombs for less than ten bucks and thought it would pair perfectly with some Northern beans and fresh produce. Carrots and celery are excellent choices to include in your Crockpot or any of our Ninja Foodi soup recipes.
Instant Pot Ham Hocks and Beans
If you prefer using dry beans from the start, give Instant Pot ham and beans a go. Alternatively, you could use canned beans for a quicker cooking time, or dice up leftover ham using the recipe link above.
On a night when my husband was home, I omitted the carrots since he’s not a fan. However, feel free to experiment with your selections. Opt for firmer vegetables like fresh green beans, sliced onions, or quartered petite potatoes.
Here’s how to create this mouthwatering dish:
- Place ham hocks with the flat sides facing down in your slow cooker.
- Pour cans of beans (of your choice) on top, along with all the other ingredients. Don’t bother draining them.
- Close the lid and seal it shut. Cook on low for 6 hours.
- Before serving, remove the ham hocks from the pot and place them on a cutting board.
- Discard the bones, and use a sharp knife to dice the meat into bite-sized pieces. Put the meat back into the pot.
Note: Avoid adding salt to this dish. The ham hocks contain enough salt that will infuse into the broth during cooking. It’s also best to use low-sodium broth.
Tips for Perfectly Cooked Ham Hocks
When your soup or stew is nearly done or about 30 minutes away from serving, take out the cuts of pork and place them on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice off the meat, discarding the bones, connective tissue, collagen, and fat. Typically, ham hocks come in pairs or sets of four, like the one we used.
The number of ham hocks you include is entirely up to you, depending on how much meat you desire in your dish. For instance, if you’re making Instant Pot baked beans and want the sweet sauce to shine, one or two ham hocks will suffice. However, for larger pots of beans or collard greens that require more flavor, we recommend using three to four ham hocks.
If you prefer your ham hocks to be tender, browned, and crispy on the outside, skip the additional ingredients. Add enough broth to submerge the thickest half to 3/4 of the way up. Follow the same cooking time as mentioned before, and then set your oven to broil for a few minutes. Place the cuts of meat on a baking sheet until they turn golden brown.
Elevate Your Meals with Ham Hocks
While bacon or pancetta can undoubtedly add a burst of flavor to any dish, ham hocks bring a remarkable intensity to your favorite comfort foods. They are an incredibly affordable way to elevate the taste of your meals with minimal effort. Give our recipe a try, and explore the other linked recipes above.
If you have any other beloved soup recipes that need a bit of a flavor boost, consider adding a ham hock on your next attempt. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!
Ready to get cooking? Head over to Ekilove for more delicious recipes and culinary inspiration.