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« Hello Cheeky! | Main | HCB: Marble Velvet Cake »

Slow Braised Pork Hocks in Beer

On Saturday I received an email from my mom, telling me she had just bought 6 beautiful pork hocks and that she wanted to make them.  Could she come over and we cooked them together?

Even thought my mom lives a mere 10 minutes away, we don’t spend that much time cooking together – not like we use to.  So, I grabbed the phone and we made plans for a Sunday day cooking marathon.  We had a busy day ahead of us, since we had quite a bit to cook up - pound cakes, as well as Polenta (to go with the pork hocks) and I was making my grandmothers “Insalata Russa” (Russian salad).

Now pork hocks are right up there with those cuts of meats that at one time or another the butcher use to give them away for FREE!  Remember beef/pork shanks? Before they got rich and famous with chef and now this normally inexpensive cut of meat can cost you a pretty penny?  Well pork hocks, still can be bought without having to break the bank, and my mother was right, as soon as I say them, they looked especially pretty.

Pork hocks are from the shoulder part of the pig. It is parallel to pork shanks with crosses cuts. It is well known for its tenderness and rich flavor. It is also flavorful and is loaded with irresistible aroma. Since this piece generally consists of much skin, tendons and ligaments, it requires long cooking through stewing or braising to be made palatable.

That is why in this recipe we used the pressure cooker to give it a head start.  If you are not a fan of the pressure cooker or don’t owe one, you can still make this, but be prepare to cook it for at least 3- 4 hours.  Maybe getting that pressure cooker sounds good about now eh?  The beauty is that the first step in cooking is putting the hocks in the pressure cooker and the throwing the vegetables in there, no need to peel them, simply cut the up and dump. 


We decided to serve it with Polenta, because a) my mother was craving it and b) it was all about having the right side dish to soak up all that yummy sauce.

serves 4 

  • 6 Pork hocks

For the cooking in the pressure cooker:

  • Water (enough to cover the hocks in the pan)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves – unpeeled and mashed
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 onion – roughly chopped up
  • 2 leeks (washed)
  • 1 large carrot – chopped
  • salt and pepper – to taste 

For braising and final cooking:

  • 2- 3 tablespoon of vegetable/canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 leek, washed and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of mince garlic
  • 1 teaspoon each of chopped fresh oregano, rosemary and thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 cup of beer (ale, dark beer is best)
  • 2 cups of reserved cooking broth
  • 1 bouillon cube (may not need)
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise mixed in with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the hock/shanks, onion, garlic, celery, cloves, pepper, leeks, carrot and water in a pressure cooker. Simply lock on the lid and bring to pressure over high heat, about 7 minutes.  Decrease the heat to medium-high and cook for 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Gently release any remaining pressure and slowly and CAREFULLY open up the pot.

Test the hocks - they should be fork tender.  Remove and place in a dish and put aside.  Strain the cooking broth from the vegetables and set aside – you should have about 2 cups – approximately.

In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pan, pour the vegetable/canola oil and heat up over high heat.  Add the onions, leeks, carrots, celery and garlic.  The fresh herbs and mix together until onions are translucent.  A this point, season with salt and pepper.

Add the pork hock and coat them with the vegetables.  Add the beer, the reserved broth and bring to a boil.  At this point taste the liquid and make sure to adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and if needed you can add the bouillon cube. 

Once you bring it to a boil, lower it to medium heat, cover and cook for approximately 2 hours, making sure that you stir it from time to time, and watching the liquid reduce to a nice thick consistency.

At end of 2 hours, check and by this time the hocks meat should be falling of the bone.

If you have an immersion blender, now it’s the time to use it.  Add the mayo-mustard mix and blend the sauce until medium smooth (you want to make sure it still has a bit of consistency).  You can also do this in a regular blender.

Cook a bit more, about 5 more minutes and then prepare to have everyone at your table get dirty when they start to use their finger to get every-last-bit of goodness on this plate.


Reader Comments (11)

You're making me hungry!!!

July 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLois B

Hi. A few days ago i defrosted what i thought were pork chops. Turned out they were pork hocks! I did a google search for pork hocks and came up with this. It was very good. I served it with a mashed potato made from half yukon gold and half sweet potato. Thanks for saving my dinner! :)

October 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Ihave a question- I do not own a pressure cooker, so do I just start at the Braising/final cooking part? I bought the hocks today, and am planning on making them tomorrow. Thanks for the help!!!!


March 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkellie

​Hi Kellie,
Thank you for your comment.. if you do not own a pressure cooker you can cook them in a dutch oven ​or heavy bottom pan, but it will be about 4-5 hours of slow cooking... testing them until you hit that pork tender point. I hope you like them.. and let me know how they came out!

March 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterMonica

I have another question- as I am making these as we speak (braising- no pressure cooker, although I might invest to see the difference!). Towards the end of the instructions it says something about a mayo-mustard mix? But I re-read all the directions and don't see what you are referring to. Help!!!


March 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkellie

Its noted Under the ingredients it's a mixture of 1 tablespoon of mayo with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

March 25, 2013 | Registered CommenterMonica
i do a pork hock receipe as follows, yummy.. place pork hocks in water to cover, tbsp olive oil, tbsp black pepper, tbsp cinnomin, tbsp nutmeg, 5 galic cloves mashed, quater cup grated carrot, 1 onion chopped, quarter cup brown flour, bring to boil simmer until fall off the bone, 3=4hrs, when ready take out put in baking dish add some of the sauce and bake at b350 f for 1 hr, seve hot over mashed potatos..
June 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohn
This recipe does sound really good but I don't think you answered either of the above noted questions directly. For those of us who are simple-minded and can't read between the lines, here are the questions again:

First question: No pressure cooker - do you start at the Braising/Final cooking part and just throw everything in combining the ingredients from the "For the cooking in the pressure cooker" and "For braising and final cooking" in a dutch over and cook for 3, 4 hours? Or do you start at the "Fr the cooking in the pressure cooker" part and cook the ingredient that were supposed to be in the pressure cooker in a dutch over. If so, how long do you cook the first step for?

Second question - Is the Mayo-Dijon mustard sauce served an accompaniment on your plate or do you incorporate it in the dish prior to final 5-minute cooking?

Thanks for the clarification.
September 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLouis
Louis.. actually your questions are answer on the post.. but here are the clarification you wanted:

First question - follow the steps in a regular dutch oven pan as you would in the pressure cooker, except that you will be pre-cooking the hocks for about 2 hours to make them a bit tender. Then you start all over again, the the pre-cooked hocks. You basically cooking the hocks twice.

Second questions - its is noted that the dijon sauce you "add" it to the sauce when you use the blender to make the sauce smooth.

I hope this answer your questions. Thanks for stopping by
September 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterMonica
I made a pork hock recipe (not yours) that was real tough, I'm trying to figure out why? I cooked it in liquid in the oven at a low temperature 325 F for 5 hours. You pressure cook yours, and finished it in the Dutch oven for 2 hours, on the stove top ? , I'm assuming, not the oven? I find most recipes say cook till fork tender, but most do not mention an oven temperature, What is the correct temperature and time ratio?
December 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie
Hi Debbie..
Yes.. I pressure cooked mine and finished on the stove (you could do it in the oven too)...the pressure cooker helps break it down and the last 2 hours its to really soak up the flavor by finishing it doing the braising.

Fork tender, meaning your fork can slice easily into the meat, without resistance. Usually in the oven slow cooking will mean very low temperature, less than 300 usually does the trick - 250, 275... thats is my "go-to" temp.

Hope this helps out.
December 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterMonica

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