Description: Smoked hock and shank are flavorful, inexpensive cuts that originate in the front leg of the hog, known as the arm picnic shoulder. The term shank refers to the front leg of the hog. The hock is the lower, meaty portion of the front leg. Hock and shank are often available both fresh and cured/smoked upon request at the meat counter. Hock contains two round shank bones that are exposed on both ends and is often sold with the skin still attached. Note that the ham hock is different – it originates in the lower rear leg (or ham). Ham hocks are most often available cured.
Thanks to its abundance of connective tissue, hock and shank provide a rich, smoky flavor that is ideal for flavoring soups, stews and rustic vegetables. Long, slow cooking methods will yield tender results. Hocks are best enjoyed when the meat becomes so tender that it nearly falls away from the bone. Simply chop the meat and add to the dish near the end of cooking time to enhance flavor.