Slow-roasted smoked ham hock that is rendered super tender and flavorful aided by a deep, intense braising liquid.
In typical ham hock recipes, hocks play a supporting role, but for this braised smoked ham hock recipe, they are the star main ingredient.
A whole plate of ham hocks just scream comfort soul food. If you grew up in the South, Germany, China or perhaps the Philippines, you've probably seen these bad boys served up whole.
What are ham hocks?
Ham hocks are basically cankles in other words the combined ankle and lower calf of pigs. Hocks are somewhat fatty but possess mega doses of collagen which make them perfect for slow cooking. They do possess a thick layer of skin which if you are so inclined make for great fried pork skins. Below that skin, however, you'll find the thick meaty parts that are rendered fork-tender when slow braised.
HAM HOCK INGREDIENTS
- Ham Hocks
- Canola Oil
- Yellow onion
- Garlic Clove
- Cider Vinegar
- Brown Sugar
- Black Peppercorns
- Bay leaves
Prepare the ham hock by scoring the skin with a sharp knife. Soak the hocks in a pot of cold water for at least 30 minutes, but preferably 2 hours. Remove and pat dry.
In a large dutch oven heat the oil on medium-high heat. Once hot add the ham hocks and brown on all sides. If using smoked hocks, this will be quick as you only need to render some of the fat and release flavor before the braising.
Remove hocks and set aside. Add onions and garlic to the pot, then saute 2-3 minutes.
Add the cola, vinegar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, and whiskey. Add enough water to cover the ham hock by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until hocks are completely tender, about 3 hours. Remove from heat and move the ham hocks from the pot to a baking pan.
The ham hock recipe is purely my grandma's but the Crown and coke play is strictly an ode to black uncles all across the country amongst whom Crown and Coke is the preferred cocktail.
Where to buy
Most mainstream grocery stores will only sell the pre-smoked ham hocks, but in very rare cases you might find only the unsmoked ones. Note if you have a nearby butcher, they'll likely have the uncooked ones.
Don't fret as I've made them with either and both are really damn good. Fresh hocks actually give you more control to create your own flavor profile. The trade-off obviously is you lose that prized smoky flavor. If I plan to make sides or stews the same week then I just buy and use the smoked ones.
Score the thick skin of the hocks and soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes before cooking
Don't let the liquid boil or it will toughen the meat.
Pork Shanks are up a little higher on the leg than hocks, making them a meatier substitute for ham hocks
For a crisp blistered skin with soft, tender meat either fry or broil the ham hocks after braising. If broiling make sure you brush the exposed parts with some of the liquid or a sauce so that the hocks don't dry out.
Enjoy a glass of Crown and Coke on the rocks while those hocks simmer.
Reserve the purple Crown Royal bag to use to hold anything and everything from dominoes, grooming tools, important documents, etc.
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MAKING THIS RECIPE
If you make this tender, succulent ham hock recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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- 4 ham hocks fresh or smoked
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup Crowne Royal Canadian Whiskey any whiskey can work
- 12 oz cola
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup Crowne Royal Canadian Whiskey any whiskey can work
- ½ cup apple cider
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon molasses
- Score the skin of the ham hocks with a sharp knife. Soak the hocks in a pot of cold water for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Remove and pat dry.
- In a dutch oven, heat the oil on medium high heat. Add the ham hocks and brown on all sides for about 5 minutes.
- Add onions and garlic to the pot, sautÃ©ing for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the coke, vinegar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, and whiskey. Add enough water to cover the ham hocks by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until hocks are completely tender, about 3 hours. Remove from heat and move the ham hocks from the pot to a baking pan.
- While the hocks are cooking make the glaze. You'll only need a few minutes so there is no rush to make the glaze. In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients , bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens to a syrup like consistency. Keep warm until ready to use.
- Pre-heat the broiler. Brush the glaze on the ham hocks then broil 3-5 minutes. The glaze should be bubbling. Monitor closely as depending on your broiler you may need to cook shorter or longer. Remove from heat. Serve the hocks in bowls with some of the braising liquid.
- Score the thick skin of the hocks and soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes before cooking
- Don't let the liquid boil or it will toughen the meat.
- Pork Shanks are up a little higher on the leg than hocks, making them a meatier substitute for ham hocks
- For a crisp blistered skin with soft, tender meat either fry or broil the ham hocks after braising. If broiling make sure you brush the exposed parts with some of the liquid or a sauce so that the hocks don't dry out.
Thursday 27th of April 2023
W-O-W! These were so amazing. I made them about 2 months ago, and we’re still talking about them. I will be making them up again this weekend for company. I’m sure they’ll be a hit and I have you to thank!! Any suggestions for a side dish?
Friday 28th of April 2023
So glad you like this recipe. I like them with black eyed pea salad (https://www.foodfidelity.com/black-eyed-pea-salad/) and cabbage or green beans.
Monday 31st of May 2021
Tasted great. I didn't serve in the braising liquid as the glaze was so good I just poured a little more on after broiling.