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How to Cook Ham Hocks

Best way of how to cook ham hocks is here! Use your Crockpot with beans for a soup and it becomes a hearty one pot meal. Don’t waste these, they have tons of smoked flavor!

how to cook ham hocks

This is how to cook ham hocks the best to get them tender and the meat to fall off the bone. Adds a ton of smoked flavor to any dish. Fork tender in a soup with beans is great, we will show you how to do that. Just one of our easy Crockpot recipes that are cheap and you’ll love. (affiliate links present)

How to Cook with a Ham Hock

We made slow cooker ham and beans last year using dry beans, but that takes a long time. If you are in a hurry try this version. To make this done even quicker, you could even use leftover ham.

Let’s talk about this part of the pig: These come from the bottom of the pig’s leg (rear ankles). They need to simmer for a LONG time in order for the small bits of meat to fall off the bone. Even though there isn’t a lot of protein on each one, what does come off has TONS of flavor. You literally need no seasonings added into this dish to be great.

How to Cook Ham Shanks

I have used both of these and the cook time is the same. Only difference between the two is shanks will have more meat on them because they come from higher up on the leg. You will get the same smoky flavors with each.

ham hocks recipe

What are Ham Hocks Used for?

You can use them to enhance the flavor of your dish, usually soup and add a bit of meat to it too. Mostly it works the best to add a smoky flavor to your meal. Here are a few we’ve made, or you could consider making with these. The only methods worth using would be a slow cooker, Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi.

  1. Instant Pot lentil soup with ham
  2. Our Instant Pot black eyed peas and ham
  3. Crockpot ham and potato soup
  4. Pressure cooker barley soup
  5. You could throw 1-2 into our homemade Instant Pot split pea soup

Crockpot Pinto Beans with Ham Hock

And then we made this one the other night. I found this package of smoked ham hocks that were under ten bucks, thought some Northern beans would work well with fresh produce. Carrots and celery are great choices in Crockpot or any of our Ninja Foodi soup recipes.

ham and beans slow cooker

How to Make Instant Pot Ham Hocks and Beans

Since my husband was home that night I deleted the carrots here because he is a hard NO carrot lover. You could go beyond that though, the selections need to be of the firmer variety though. Fresh green beans would work, sliced onions of any kind of course are always fine, even quartered petite potatoes would work.

This is what we added this time that worked great:

  • Put ham hocks with flat sides facing down into your slow cooker. Pour cans of beans (of your choice) on top with all other ingredients. (don’t even bother draining them)
  • Close lid and seal shut. Cook on low for 6 hours. Before serving take ham hocks out of pot and put on a cutting board.
  • Remove and discard bones, use a sharp knife to dice meat into bite size pieces and put back into the pot.

Note: Do NOT add any salt into this at all. There is a ton already in the meat that will remain in there and seeps out into the broth when it cooks. Best is to use low sodium broth too.

diced ham hocks

Are ham hocks fully cooked?

Yes, in the store they are typically already smoked so you don’t need to worry about them coming to a safe internal temperature per say. The smoky flavor is why they are so great to add to dishes. With broth cooked low and slow those flavors will leach out into your dish and give it a ton of flavor and sodium you want.

At the end or 30 minutes before serving lift your cuts of pork out of your soup or stew and on to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice meat off and discard bones, connective tissue, collagen and fat. These are typically sold in pairs or 4 like this one was.

Using 2 vs. 4 is up to you, just depends on how much meat you want in your dish. If making something like Instant Pot baked beans I might just use one or two since I’d want the sweeter sauce to really shine. In a larger pots of beans or collard greens I would add 3-4 since those are rather bland and need all the help they can get.

If you were just wanting to make them tender, but brown and crispy on the outside I would skip the other ingredients. Add enough broth to submerge the thickest half to 3/4 of the way up. Use the same timing below and then you’d want to set your oven to broil for a few minutes. Add cuts of meat to baking sheet until browned.

Slow Cooker Ham Hocks and Beans

How many hours do you boil ham hocks?

In a slow cooker I like to do it slowly on low heat for 6 hours. If you wanted to boil them in a pot it could take less time because the heat would likely be higher. If you ask me it is better the longer you allow these to sit since you want all of the flavor out of the meat and bone so the proteins peel right off.

How to cook ham hocks on the stove

In a pot on the stovetop you would want to cover them with water or broth. If you are making a soup with beans out of it I would use the latter to give the dish more flavor overall. Set over medium heat so it is slowly boiling and cover. You still want a decent timing of 2 hours or so in order for the pork to pull away from the bones easily.

Crock pot Ham Hocks

Yes bacon or pancetta can add a ton of flavor to just about any meal but this pork product brings more of an intensity to your favorite comfort food. It is a really CHEAP way to add a bunch of flavor with little to no work on your part. Give our recipe below a whirl and then try a few more linked above too. Below we show you how to make one of our favorite Crockpot soup recipes with the smoked pork pieces.

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ham hocks
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How to Cook Ham Hocks

Best way of how to cook ham hocks is here! Use your Crockpot with beans for a soup and it becomes a hearty one pot meal. Don't waste these, they have tons of smoked flavor!
Course Entree, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword beans, crockpot, ham hock, leftover ham, northern bean, slow cooker, soup, white bean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings 6
Calories 507kcal
Author The Typical Mom

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2-4 ham hocks
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 2 cans white beans about 30 oz. total
  • 32 oz chicken broth low sodium because ham hocks if smoked will add a lot of sodium themselves, can add 1/2 broth and 1/2 water alternatively
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced into dials, optional
  • 2 stalks celery sliced

Instructions

  • Place ham hocks with flat sides facing down into your slow cooker. Pour cans of white beans on top with all other ingredients.
  • Close lid and seal shut. Cook on low for 6 hours. Before serving take ham hocks out of pot and put on a cutting board.
  • Remove and discard bones, use a sharp knife to dice meat into bite size pieces and put back into the pot.
  • Stir and serve.

Video

Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Ham Hocks
Amount Per Serving (1 oz)
Calories 507 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 124mg41%
Sodium 856mg37%
Potassium 1083mg31%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 41g82%
Vitamin A 3400IU68%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 116mg12%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
How to cook Ham Hocks
slow cooker ham hock recipe

Recipe Rating




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Elaine

Thursday 1st of June 2023

My beans are cooked already I want to cook the hocks and put them in the beans.

The Typical Mom

Thursday 1st of June 2023

If you just wanted to cook the hocks to just tenderize the meat and shred it off I would just use vegetable or chicken/beef broth in the pot to submerge the bottom/thick half and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until as tender as you'd like.

Fran

Wednesday 10th of May 2023

Should you boil your smoked ham hocks before adding to the crock pot recipe with beans?

Kovacs

Wednesday 6th of December 2023

@Fran, Do you even know how to cook bud?

The Typical Mom

Thursday 11th of May 2023

No, you add with the soaked dry beans and let them cook together all day to perfection.

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