By Athena Hessong

Ham hocks come from the bottom of the leg of a pig. These tough cuts do not have a lot of meat on them. Ham hocks are not used in cooking for their meat; they are used to add flavor to dishes requiring a long, slow simmering such as stews, soups and beans. Most ham hocks are smoked and cured and taste very salty. To reduce the salt level and to remove any impurities, a long washing or soaking is needed before using the ham hock in cooking.

Ham hocks should be cleaned thoroughly before cooking.

Step 1

Vigorously wash the exterior of the ham hocks with a scrub brush to remove any visible dirt. Rinse the ham hock completely after washing.

Step 2

Place the ham hocks into the pot and add water until they are completely submerged.

Step 3

Bring the pot of water and ham hocks to a boil over medium high heat and boil for one minute.

Step 4

Drain the ham hocks in a colander.

Step 5

Rinse the ham hocks in the colander under cold running water for a full minute. Use the ham hocks immediately in any recipe desired.

Step 6

Soak the ham hocks in cold water for 24 hours instead of boiling them, if you prefer. Change the water four to five times during the 24-hour period. This will also ensure the ham hocks are clean. Rinse thoroughly after soaking them and drain the ham hocks using a colander.