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Ham Hocks

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What is it?

Ham hocks come from the bottom part of the pig’s leg, between the meaty ham and the foot. They’re typically cured and smoked, which gives them a longer shelf life and a more complex flavor.

Ham hocks are traditionally used to flavor Southern classics like black-eyed peas and collard greens. Though they contain too little meat to be worth eating on their own, they’re great for boosting the flavor of other dishes, much as a bouillon cube does.

Don’t have it?

If you can’t find smoked ham hocks at the supermarket, a smoked turkey leg is a good substitute.

How to choose:

Look for ham hocks in the supermarket meat case, where they’re sometimes sold in two-packs. If your recipe only calls for only one, you can store the extra one, tightly wrapped, in the freezer for up to six months.


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