So you see a ham hock in the vending machines. What do you do with ham hocks? Smoked ham hocks are great for pea soup, we all know that. But what’s the best thing to make with fresh ham hocks?

There are plenty of tasty things to do with ham hocks. The first step is to swipe your card and get one out of the vending machine. Next up, you have a lot of choices.

Here are four ways to make a fresh ham hock. Got other ideas? Let us know.


This is Josh Applestone’s favorite method. He braises ham hocks until the skin is translucent. Then he chills them in the fridge. When they’re chilled, he breads them and fries them. So good.


If you have a lot of time on your hands and are looking for a weekend project, try this Thomas Keller recipe. You’re going to need a few hours for boiling and then simmering, plus overnight time in the fridge, and then a lot more steps. But it’s super worth it.

Go German

Try cooking schweinshaxe, a considerable Bavarian beer hall staple of a pork knuckle dish which involves boiling for a few hours (in water or beer), then baking.

Put On a Pot of Beans

If you put a fresh ham hock in your beans — or that pea soup or even your greens — you obviously won’t get the smoke flavor you’d get if it were smoked. But you will get something equally fantastic and specific: meaty, gelatinous goodness.