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"skin I'm in" braised pork neck bones

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Are you a fan of pork neck bones? I have to admit, I wasn't always. In fact, I used to think this Southern favorite was kind of gross. But then I tried them cooked the right way and now I'm hooked!

If you're looking for an easy and affordable recipe that the whole family will love, check out this boiled pork neck bones recipe below. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. This recipe is a typical of popular soul food meat dishes.

Tough, humble, this inexpensive cut of pork neck bones is braised into tender chunks of the most flavorful of meats. The meat is so tender no knife is needed.

boiled neck bones and potatoes

braised neck bones on a white plate

There are several bones to maneuver around, but it’s well worth it. Not only is the meat everything, but the resulting gravy is also an added bonus and makes everything it touches golden!

Neck bones, beef or pork, are the ultimate comfort food. It's also that classic soul food. It's on the menu in just about any hole in the wall soul food joint or served monthly in Southern households. It's one of my mom's favorite dishes and I made this with her in mind.

This recipe isn't the typically boiled neck bones and potatoes version. I skipped the potatoes and opted for more briny vegetables to pair with the pork.

Braised Neck Bones Ingredients

How to Cook Neck Bones (step by step)

Braising neck bones is an easy cook. It just requires time and patience. Neck bones have lots of collagen and slow cooking over long period allows that collagen to break down and produce those tender delicious results.

Step 1: Season neck Bones

Rinse neck bones under cold water then season them with salt and pepper

seasoned neck bones
Season generously with salt and pepper

Step 2: Brown Neck Bones

Heat a large pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Add olive oil then brown the neck bones on all sides. Remove and set the browned neck bones aside.

browning neck bones in a pot
Brown the neck bones to seal in that flavor

Step 3: Saute Vegetables

Add onions and carrots to the pot. Saute for 2 minutes then add the cloves of garlic cooking for another 30 seconds or so. Add half the spices (salt, pepper, and smoked paprika) to the pot.

vegetables sauteing in pot
Saute the vegetables in the neck bone rendered fat

Step 4: Braise the Neck Bones

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the chicken stock, water, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, pickled vegetables (plus a ¼ cup of the brine), the chipotle peppers with the sauce. Mix well. Nestle the neck bones in.

Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cover. Place in the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours or until neck bones are bone tender.

braising ingredients in a pot
I used pickled okra, cactus and jalapenos as part of the braising liquid for flavor. Use all or one depending on what's available to you. Make sure you have enogh liquid to completely cover the neck bones.
Cook at 350 degrees for at least 1 ½ hours. The meat should be fork tender and falling away from the bones.

Serving Suggestions

braised neck bones on a white plate

Tips for Cooking Neck Bones

  • Wash the neck bones thoroughly and then dry them before cooking
  • Brown the neck bones well before braising. This locks in the flavor and ensure caramelization. Plus it renders pork neck bone fat to saute the vegetables in, creating even more flavor.
  • Make sure you use a heavy lid when braising. For insurance if you don't have one, lay parchment paper over the top of the pot and then top with your lid.
  • Reduce the braising liquid down to a gravy and serve over rice. You can add a corn starch slurry (water and corn starch mixed in a bowl) for a thicker gravy
  • Wash the neck bones thoroughly and then dry them before cooking
  • I season them simply with salt and pepper, but garlic powder and onion powder are great adds as well
  • Brown the neck bones well before braising. This locks in the flavor and ensure caramelization. Plus it renders pork neck bone fat to saute the vegetables in, creating even more flavor.
  • Make sure you use a heavy lid when braising. For insurance if you don't have one, lay parchment paper over the top of the pot and then top with your lid.
  • Reduce the braising liquid down to a gravy and serve over rice. You can add a corn starch slurry (water and corn starch mixed in a bowl) for a thicker gravy
  • Skim away any excess fat that accumulates during cooking
  • Pork neck bones can be found at most butcher shops and some large format grocery stores. Specialty stores that serve largely Hispanic and Caribean communities will also have them on hand.
  • When braising pork neck bones, be sure to use a heavy pot or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. This will help to prevent the liquid from evaporating during cooking.
  • Pork neck bones go great over a side dish like a nice bowl of grits or white rice. Neck bones, gravy, and rice is actually a complete meal. I also typically have hot water cornbread and sides like a greens and/or black-eyed pea dish such as any of these:

Black-eyed Pea Salad

Pan-fried Black-eyed Peas

Instant Pot Black-eyed Peas

Southern Collard Greens

Curried Collard Greens

Black-eyed Pea Soup

Neck Bones Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where can I buy neck bones?

You won't find neck bones readily available unless you live in or near the hood or more ethnic areas. They are hood underground specialties and fly under the radar of most mainstream channels.

Here in Texas we have a large Hispanic chain Fiesta that sales them and on occasion, some HEB Stores (super grocery chain in Texas) will have both pork and beef neck bones on hand. You can also ask your local butcher to reserve some for you.

Is there a substitute for neck bones?

Pork shanks would likely be the best alternative among readily available options.

What is the flavor profile of this recipe?

I intentionally wanted a briny dish relying heavily on vinegar and the brine from pickled vegetables like peppers, okra, and cactus. The briny broth cuts through the rich tender sauce rendered by braised neck bones and brings balance to the dish. The smoky chipotle peppers and their sauce add depth and complexity.

How long do neck bones cook on stove?

If you decide to cook these on your stovetop you'll want to cook at a nice low slow simmer. Plan to allow these to cook between 2-3 hours. You can start giving them the fork test for tenderness after two hours of cooking.

Can I Cook Neck Bones In Air Fryer?

I suppose you could, given it seems like everything is air fryer cookable! However, as grandma used to tell me - "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!" I'd avoid the air fryer and stick to braising in the oven, stovetop, or pressure cooker.

Same goes for slow cooker neck bones in my opinion. Slow cookers are more of a food warmer. However if you do decide to cook the neck bones in a slow cooker be sure to brown them in a separate skillet first.

What goes with neck bones?

I prefer my neck bones served over grits or rice. A side of creamy navy beans, purple hull peas, collard greens with smoked turkey pressure cooked greens, as well as fried cabbage are also favorite ways to enjoy them.

Should I Use smoked pork neck bones?

Smoked neck bones have already been cooked, which isn't the end of the world but fresh is better primarily from a texture standpoint.

For other recipes featuring humble meats made off da charts delicious try these:

Beef Oxtail Soup

beef oxtail soup with collard greens and blackeyed peas in a white bowl

Braised Beef Neck Bones

Neck Bones Sandwich

Smoked Jerk Beef Oxtails

Jerk oxtails on a plate

Braised Ham Hocks

braised ham hocks

Instant Pot Oxtails

oxtails with grits in a bowl

Braised Southern Turkey Necks

smothered turkey necks on top of a bowl of rice

If you make these braised pork neck bones or any other from the site, 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.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlist.

braised neck bones on a white plate

Braised Pork Neck Bones

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Modern Soul Food
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 290kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs Pork Neck bones
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup Cider vinegar
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Yellow Onion chopped
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves diced
  • ½ cup pickled vegetables jalapeño peppers, okra or cactus plus brine
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 7 oz chipotle peppers plus sauce

Instructions

  • Clean the neck bones by rinsing them with water
  • Season the neck bones with salt and pepper.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Heat a dutch oven pot on medium heat. Add oil once pan is hot then brown the neck bones on all sides. Remove neck bones and set aside.
  • Add onions, garlic, and carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add half the spices (salt, pepper, paprika)
  • Add stock, water, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, pickled vegetables (plus a ¼ cup of the brine), the chipotle peppers with sauce. Mix well. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cover. Place in the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • I like my neck bones briny, so I added brine from the pickled vegetables
  • For the pickled vegetables, I used a combination of pickled okra, pickled jalapeños, and pickled cactus since I had them all on hand. Pickling is easy, but all these are available in most mainstream grocery stores. I found all three in the pickle aisle at my local store. Choose just one or all three it’s up to you.
  • Use your judgment on the chipotles. I only used half the can, but included all of the sauce. Don’t worry this dish is not spicy despite the chipotle peppers. The dish is balanced in flavor and the chipotle adds more smokiness than fire.
  • Make sure you have a heavy lid. If not place a sheet of parchment paper over the pot before adding the lid.
  • The rendered sauce makes a nice gravy. Make a slurry of starch (water + corn starch mixed in a bowl). Remove the neck bones then add the slurry to the pot and cook down into a thick gravy to serve with rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 2962mg | Potassium: 762mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 8776IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating




Sheila Bennett

Thursday 16th of September 2021

I haven't cooked or served pork neckbones in over 30-40 years.I left it up to my sisters that carried the pork traditions like chitterlings, etc. I could always get a taste out of the big pots they cooked. I stopped eating a lot of it like the tails,maws,feet,nose, etc. after realizing where it came from. After my adult children started to remind me if some family favs I decided to make them some neckbones. I looked at various recipes. I didn't feel like the crackpot so I got my big black Dutch oven & used a compulation of recipes. I didn't make mine totally like yours. However the washing & cleaning instructions was worth gold! I hate that pig taste & the cleaning solved that. Its like taking the poop out the chitterlings! I didn't realize all the cartilage, fat & blood. I soaked them in vinegar water while I thoroughly cleaned them. Put a mean slice marinade over night, seared them, cooked onions & Bellpepper to transparency added beef stock & Braised them in the oven added gravy mix to make there own gravy, added diced potatoes last 40min. They take almost like beef!! So dang good!!!

Marwin Brown

Thursday 16th of September 2021

Agreed on the cleaning! It's a game-changer. I love your approach, especially the gravy add!

Kareivis

Sunday 27th of June 2021

Just 1 lb neck bones for 4 servings? That doesn't seem like enough, given that this is mainly bone. Eager to try. pork neckbones readily available in my neighborhood.

Marwin Brown

Sunday 27th of June 2021

Hi fair call-out on the serving size. They were more like "appetizers" for us as there were other main entrees included. I would definitely plus up the recipe if you're not cooking as much other stuff or feeding more than a couple of people. Just make sure you have enough core liquid ingredients to cover all the neckbones.