Meet the humble ham hock.
Kinda gruesome, isn’t it?
A ham hock is the end of a smoked ham where the foot was attached to the hog’s leg. It is the portion of the leg that is neither part of the ham proper nor the foot or ankle, but rather the extreme shank end of the leg bone and the associated skin, fat, tendons, and muscle. This piece generally consists of too much skin and gristle to be palatable on its own, so it is usually cooked with greens and other vegetables in order to give them additional flavor (generally that of pork fat and smoke), although the meat from particularly meaty hocks may be removed and served.
I’d like to say I bought ham hocks because I’m embracing the Fergus Henderson idea of nose-to-tail eating, but it was mostly out of a morbid curiosity. I got them from FreshDirect and after a couple of days of them freaking me out every time I looked into the fridge, I stuffed them in the freezer and forgot about them.
Then I wanted to make some beans.
Why I Moved To NYC: Reason #437.
One word: jerky.
My friend Eun-Duk and I were aimlessly wandering the streets of Chinatown, after seeing Raise The Red Lantern at Film Forum. When we passed by, we could see them grilling the jerky in the window facing the street, at which point, it was all over for us.
The one on the right is sliced beef jerky and despite eating so much of it I gave myself a stomachache, I still would still eat more if I had any. The texture’s pretty standard jerky (e.g. tough, chewy) but the flavor is phenomenal: smoky, sweet, salty.
On the left, the flat one, is spicy pork jerky. If the sliced beef jerky is like a dried apricot, the pork jerky is more like… a Meat Roll-Up. Different, and softer, but just as good.
I’m already thinking about when I can go back and get more.
Malaysia Beef Jerky Inc.
95A Elizabeth St. (betw. Grand and Hester)