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Thread: Hock vs shank

  1. #1
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    I found a recipe in the paper last week for Guinness-Baked Ham Hock. My local supermarket had gammon shanks but not ham hocks. The "butcher" there suggested that they were virtually the same and the recipe would work with the gammon shank, so I bought a couple (very cheaply). They look a touch big to feed just one, but I understand they reduce during the boiling as the fat is rendered into the stock.

    Can anyone confirm or clarify whether they are interchangeable?

    Many thanks.
    Regards,

    Steve

    "A good friend will help you move; a really good friend will help you move a body"

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    Steve

    I always assumed hock was the lower part of the leg (ankle/heel) and the shank was higher up and the more meatier part usually the shin
    Jerry

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    [quote name='SteveTetch' post='766351' date='20-Mar-2009 05:22'][/quote]
    Take a look here for a written description of the cuts and here for a diagram of the cuts. It doesn't show the shank, but you should be able to determine where it comes from by the written description. The two cuts look pretty interchangeable to me.
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

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    Go to http://www.mealsforyou.com/cgi-bin/customi...atcutspork.html and scroll down a read about both.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    [quote name='DaveA' post='766422' date='20-Mar-2009 12:33']Go to http://www.mealsforyou.com/cgi-bin/customi...atcutspork.html and scroll down a read about both.[/quote]

    Ummmm..... Dave, did you check the first link in my post ??
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    [quote name='DocWatson' post='766520' date='20-Mar-2009 17:18']Ummmm..... Dave, did you check the first link in my post ?? [/quote]
    Oops, missed your link,

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    They are not the same. My early training was as a Butcher. The shank end of a ham is the half of the ham that has a hock (or little nubby piece) on the small end of it. The hock is the little nubby projection near the foot end of the ham. It has very little meat. Consists mostly of skin, fat, and a lot of connective tissue. It is the latter that makes it valuable in a soup or stew. When cooked long and slow in a liquid environment, the connective tissue breaks down to a gelatinous liquid (in fact it is gelatin, same as in Jello), called collagen that provides great flavor, texture, and helps thicken the pot. The shank has a lot more meat on it which can be cut off and diced to add to scrambled eggs, among other things. Ham Hocks are a must ingredient in a lot of Southern USA cooking, used to flavor beans, greens, and soups. Once the pot is cooked (over several hours) the Ham Hocks are removed and discarded, having left behind all their goodness.

    What's pictured in your Recipe Does not appear to be a Ham Hock. It is the lower part of the Ham Shank next up from the Hock. That would indeed be more suitable for this dish, having much more meat on it but still enough bone and connective tissue to make a really good braise.

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