Pork shanks are cut from the lower portion of the rear and front legs of the pig. The pork hock is the lower portion of the shank. They are an inexpensive cut of meat, and smoked ham or pork hocks are often used for flavouring with soups, beans and stocks. Non-smoked pork hocks have a rich pork flavour, much like pork chops. When roasted slowly they can be enjoyed with roast vegetables, beans or sauerkraut for a complete meal in one roaster.
Rub the ham hock lightly with seasonings if desired. Seasonings that go particularly well with ham hock are caraway, fennel, garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, and marjoram.
Put just enough oil in a frying pan to coat the bottom and brown the ham hocks. This will help seal in the juices before roasting.
Pour water in the bottom of a roasting pan. Make sure the water level is below the rack. Place the ham on the rack and cover loosely with tin foil.
Roast slowly at 162 degrees C for 20 to 25 minutes per pound of hocks. Cooking the hocks slowly allows them to retain more moisture and makes them more flavourful. Remove foil periodically to baste with the juices during the roasting time.
Ensure the ham hocks are cooked through. You will know the hocks are done when they show little resistance when poked with a fork and the meat begins to separate from the bone.
If you want fresh ham hocks, as opposed to smoked, you may have to order them from the butcher. Most hocks are smoked for use as flavouring. Vegetables roasted with the ham hock are flavourful and make a tasty side dish for the meal.