Pork dishes are widely popular in most countries, especially in the West. While there are plenty of delicacies made from pig meat, there are a few which are very underrated and do not get the attention that they deserve. It has always been a fight of Ham Shanks vs Ham Hocks, where two of the most underrated and delicious food fight for their survival in the food industry.
What is Ham Shanks?
The portion of flesh that is cut from the shoulder of a pig to its hip is known as Ham Shanks. This part is full of meat, and in some cases, it can be even meatier depending on the variety and consists of collagen and fat. It is important to understand the meaning of ham shanks and ham hocks to make comparison between Ham Shanks vs Ham Hocks.
For making the broths and stocks, ham shanks are considered to be the most crucial ingredient. In Ham Shanks vs Ham Hocks comparison, Ham Shanks gets an additional advantage as it can be used in many ways. In most Chinese preparations, Ham Shanks is used for preparing a wide variety of pork dishes. The seasonings and sauce that are used to marinate this part of flesh provide a soft, tender, and juicy taste.
As mentioned earlier ham shanks are also used in making broths for soups as they are mostly pre-smoked. Unfortunately, people do not prefer to consume it as they do not provide the texture of normal pork.
Since Ham Shanks mostly contain collagen and fat, one can see the deposition of a thick white layer on the meat upon cooking. It provides a gelatinous texture and can be chewy if it is not properly cooked. However, if the meat is prepared properly, it can be easily removed from the bone and will be very soft and tender.
What is Ham Hocks?
Ham Hocks also known as pork knuckles, contain a lesser amount of meat than Ham Shanks and are mostly bony. This part of the flesh is taken from the foot of pigs and is used only for making stocks and broths. Ham Hocks is not used much in preparing other types of dishes.
One of the significant factors that add to the advantage of Ham Hocks is that it is relatively cheaper than Ham Shanks. Even though the hocks mostly contain bones and less amount of meat, it still gives a fatty flavour upon eating. One can easily find them in butcher shops.
When it comes to the texture of the meat, ham hocks have an uneven and rough exterior portion and are not soft. It is due to the amount of collagen that is present in this portion of the meat. However, ham hocks can become soft, if it is boiled for three hours approximately and then properly prepared.
1. Why Ham Hocks and Ham Shanks Broths are shiny and what happens when they are frozen?
Ans- Both the parts of the flesh- Ham Shanks and Ham Hocks contain a lot of fat and collagen. When these two portions of meat are boiled in water, the heat helps to break down the collagen and fat, which gets distributed and deposited with water. Thus, it provides a shiny texture whenever we make a broth or soup of shanks and hocks.
if they are frozen, all the molecules of the constituents will get add up and form a gelatinous texture. This texture can again be removed if we add the frozen meat portion to a hot pan and put boiled water over it. Hope you got all the required information.