This week I went in search of a butcher shop. I could’ve made it easy and gone to ones I’d already been to before at Saint Lawrence Market or Kensington Market, but I was feeling adventure. I searched online & found one that was among the top butcher shops in Toronto according to blogTO and not too far away. The Meat Dept at Broadview and the Danforth is a small but interesting place to visit. They have a good selection of beef, veal, poultry, pig and a few other types of game. Most of the cuts they had I knew how to cook and had them before, but I was eventually able to find one that I wasn’t too familiar with.
Smoked pork hocks caught my eye, they cost about $5/LB. The butcher suggested braising them as the best cooking method, since they are a tougher cut of meat and need a long, slow stew to tenderize the meat. The hocks are generally cut from the lower end of a ham & above the foot/ankle, at either the front or rear legs.
To cook the hocks, you would cover them with either water or vegetable stock and braise them with some root vegetables, like cabbage or collard greens for approximately 2-3 hrs, depending on their size.
The recipe book – Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, also suggested braising them in liquid.
Braised pork hocks could be effective in a fast-paced restaurant as long as the chef knew approximately how much to make before hand, since it takes a few hours to cook. Although on the plus side, the leftover braising liquid would make a lovely broth for a split pea soup or basting liquid for other pork dishes.