Ham Hock vs Pork Hock – What’s The Difference Anyway?

Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock

Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock? You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered what the difference between pig hock and ham hock is. It’s a complicated word for such a simple distinction – so don’t worry! In this essay, I’ll discuss not just the distinctions between them, but also how to substitute them for one another. If you’re lucky, there might even be some more recipes at the end!

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Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock
Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock

What’s the distinction between ham hock and pork hock?

A ham hock and a pork hock differ mostly in where they are sourced and how they are prepared.

To be clear, both hocks come from the same portion of the pig – the hock, of course. It’s that liminal region on a pig that is both an elbow and an ankle. Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock? The distinction is that ham hocks relate to the back hock, whereas pig hocks refer to – you guessed it! – the front hocks.

Another contrast is that they are normally prepared differently — ham hocks, like other hams, are always smoked or cured. However, pork hocks are always served raw. Both are sold whole, however pork hocks can also be purchased in cube form. Both hocks are typically sold ‘bone-in’ to add flavor during cooking.

In what dishes are hocks commonly used?

What Is the Purpose of Pork Hocks?

Pork hocks are more adaptable than ham hocks since they are uncooked. Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock They may be roasted, braised, and boiled without dominating other foods with their smokiness.

Roasted German pig hocks, beer-braised pork hocks, pork hock soups and stews, Taiwanese braised pork hocks, and Polish beer-and-honey glazed pork hocks are some pork hock recipes.

What Is the Purpose of Ham Hocks?

Ham hocks serve two functions in a dish: Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock they add taste and they serve as the meat. Because they are cured or smoked, ham hocks have the potential to dominate other ingredients, thus they are either the main star of the dish or used sparingly on the sidelines for seasoning.

This is why ham hocks work so well in soups and stews — they not only flavor the broth while cooking, but the meat also provides some protein.

Potato and ham hock soup, ham hock and white bean stew, split pea and ham soup, honey-whiskey glazed ham hocks, ham hock terrine, and honey-mustard ham hock pie are some pig hock dishes.

What Is the Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock?

What Can I Substitute for a Ham Hock?

Any smoked or cured ham will do, as will hog shank, smoked bacon, and smoked sausage. Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock If you don’t have any, consider smoking your own ham, as shown below:

Alternatively, add things like as liquid smoke or handmade chipotle chiles. If you’re trying to avoid pork, smoked turkey bacon is a terrific substitute.

Can I substitute pork hock for ham hock?

You can absolutely substitute a pig hock for the ham hock! Simply add some liquid smoke to it before cooking to give it a lovely char.

However, due of the strong flavor of ham hocks, substituting a pork hock for ham is more challenging. Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock Pork hock can be substituted with pork shoulder or unsmoked shank.

Recipes for Pork Hock and Ham Hock

I’ve included some recipes to get you started cooking with pork hock and ham hock, respectively. Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock I’ve also included my own ham hock bean stew recipe at the end!

This classic dish from My German Recipes demonstrates how to roast a whole hock whole in the traditional manner. Once cooked, this pork hock would be fantastic with rice, veggies, and Yorkshire pudding.

Hock With Pinto Beans And Smoked Ham

Mattie’s Kitchen’s ham hock stew recipe offers an easy, beginner-friendly way for producing tasty food. Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock The cooking time is long, but the preparation time is short!

Bonus Recipe: Fakejoada de Ham Hock

This recipe is a natural progression from Mattie’s. If you don’t mind spending a little more time prepping, you’ll be rewarded with a tasty stew that will last for days.

Although ham hock is not typically used in feijoada, it is a good cut to use if you are lacking in the customary ingredients. Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock The hock substitutes the smokiness of the sausage and enriches the flavor of the black beans, while also adding more protein to your meal.

To make this dish, combine Nando Cuca’s Brazilian black bean stew recipe with the steps outlined here. Make the hock first, then the remainder of the meal — you could even make it the day before if you choose!


  • 2 ham hocks, smoked
  • 1 500g black bean bag
  • a single onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Season with salt to taste
  • To taste, finely chopped cilantro
  • two bay leaves


  • To begin, place your smoked hocks in a cast iron dutch oven with some oil on the bottom. (Enameled cast iron, such as Le Creuset, works even better, but there are other fantastic cast iron sets available if Le Creuset is too expensive.)
  • Brown the hocks for 15 to 20 minutes over medium-low heat, ensuring sure to brown every side.
  • Then, add a little water and carefully scrape the bottom of your pan to deglaze it — integrating the fond will greatly enhance the flavor of your cuisine! Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock Then, add just enough water to cover the meat. Place the lid on and leave it to cook for 2 to 4 hours on low heat.
  • Once the meat has been cooked and cooled, shred it and refrigerate it, but DO NOT THROW OUT THE WATER. This is due to the fact that you will be adding the bone and any remaining meat or skin to the same water that you cooked the hock in.
  • If you want, you can also add some chopped veggies and bay leaves.
  • Allow this to cook in the same saucepan for about an hour, with the cover on.
  • After the broth has finished cooking, filter out the solids and conserve the water for the next day. Once chilled, remove any extra fat from the top, but leave a little in there for flavor! Refrigerate with the shredded pork until ready to make the beans.
  • When you’re ready to boil your beans, use bone broth instead of water. Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock To use the meat, simply add it after sautéing the garlic and onion, then season with kosher salt.

Which Is Better: Pork or Ham Hocks?

Finally, it comes down to what you want for your food! Raw pork hocks make excellent stand-alone ingredients. Difference Between Ham Hock and Pork Hock They’re usually the headliner of the show, glazed and served with sides. Ham hocks are team players because the smokiness of their meat enhances the flavor of other components in stews and soups.

Why not try one of the recipes I’ve listed now that you know the difference – and how to cook them? Even better, try one of the recipes at the conclusion! Whatever you decide, you can now go in with confidence, knowing which cut you require.

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Hello there! Cuisine Cravings Team is a group of people who are passionate about Kitchen Ideas that developed this website to educate people on the finest kitchen techniques. We publish articles that focus on basic and fundamental cooking ideas for all levels of chefs, from beginners to specialists! Our objective is to remove the guesswork out of meal preparation so you may worry less and enjoy more! Food is an important aspect of our life, and we are excited to share our knowledge with you!

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