Main Dishes

Smoked Ham Hocks: A Conundrum

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My frustration mounts. I search again, and again, and again. No matter how I phrase it, there are no fresh ham hock roasting recipes that spend a mere thirty minutes in the oven. This is a disaster. A catastrophe. WHAT WILL I EAT?I race downstairs and fling open the refrigerator to behold my nemesis. Am I truly destined to starve for another three hours while I wait for you to cook? But–wait–what does the label proclaim?

SMOKED HAM HOCKS/1.75 lbs

Ahhhh. Now I understand. The world is alright. The skies part to reveal a cloudless horizon. I am saved.

…………………………………

The crisis stemmed from a very innocent purchase on a sunny day 3 days prior. Browsing the first Farmer’s Market of the season, I decided to be adventurous and try a cut of pork I had not yet subjected to my so-called cookery skills. Ham hocks. Has a nice ring, I thought. Looks like beef shanks. I love beef shanks.

So into my tote they went, along with a recipe solicited from Ms. Cook (best name EVER, am I right?). Very simple, very straightforward. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes with a little water at the bottom of the pan. I’m suspicious.

“Only thirty-five minutes? That’s long enough?”

She assures me it is. I, not one to challenge the word of an organic farmer, smile and continue on my merry way, already dreaming of the pork-y deliciousness that will be mine.

……………………………………..

Turns out I was just confused. They had already been smoked, which makes my job a heck of a lot easier. The results were easy, delicious, and tasted a whole lot like bacon. It seems almost too simple to share, but knowledge is a good thing, yes?

Baked Smoked Ham Hocks

As relayed by Ms. Cook of C.L. Cook Farms

Smoked Ham Hocks

Water or Vegetable Stock

Optional: Pesto

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the smoked ham hocks in a pan or skillet that has a lid/cover. Pour water or stock into the pan until it comes up 1/2 inch around the hocks. Pop on your lid and slide into the oven for thirty to forty minutes. If you want your hocks to be crisp on the edges, remove your cover after twenty five to thirty minutes. Devour.

Note: I slathered on a little pesto because I had it laying around, but since the hocks have already been cured with spices and salt, it was overkill. Pesto works better in subtler dishes, where it can really shine. But it sure looked pretty.

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