“Your recipe for ham hock soup is very similar to my great grandmother’s which is a family favorite!” – Leslie
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love pretty much any sort of smoked meat. Smoked chicken, smoked fish, and of course, my favorite, double-smoked bacon. A special treat though is smoked pork hock soup, or as others call it, ham hock soup. When the season starts to cool down, it’s one of my favorite soups to make.
Slow Cooker Smoked Pork Hock Soup with Peas
Smoked Pork Hock – I buy mine from a local German butcher/deli who does a wonderful job brining and smoking pork hocks. If you can’t find any smoked hocks, you can substitute them with a combination of smoked pork shanks and bacon, or a meaty leftover ham bone.
Chicken Stock – Try and find sodium-reduced chicken stock as the brine from the hock is usually salty. If you can’t find that, go ahead and use regular chicken stock but don’t salt the soup until it’s finished if it needs it. Water will also work if no chicken broth is available to you.
Split Peas – Green peas are the ones I prefer, but yellow peas will be a decent stand-in. Yellow peas have a slightly earthier or nutty flavor whereas green peas tend to be sweeter and less earthy tasting. Instead of peas, try adding some lentils. They’re incredibly high in protein and fiber. I also like to use cannellini beans in the broth. I’ll usually add those near the end of cooking because I use canned beans and they just need to be heated through.
Aromatics – Celery, onion, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, pepper.
The Best Place To Buy A Smoked Pork Hock
For a really nice smoked pork hock, I usually go to my local butchers. Ask for a nice, meaty, smoked pork hock, and tell them you want to make a slow cooker ham bone soup. Hambone, ham hock, or pork hock, doesn’t matter what you call it, they’ll know what to give you.
Your butcher will be familiar with this type of recipe, and know what to give you if you’re not familiar with how they look. Butchers really know how to season (usually brined, like ham) and smoke ham hocks, and usually have a nicer smoky flavor than ones you can buy at your grocers.
Honestly, not all grocers will carry smoked hocks, but occasionally you can find them.
Slow-cooking a smoked pork hock into a soup with your crockpot or slow cooker is the best way to prepare them if you want to stretch your dollar. You can braise them in the oven as well, but that’s a different recipe.
Easy peasy: minimal effort = maximum results!
Besides being absolutely delicious, one of the main reasons I love this recipe is because it’s maximum flavor for minimal effort! The slow cooker does all the heavy lifting for this recipe and it’s a ‘set it and forget it’ supper.
How To Make Ham Hock Soup The Easy Way
- To begin, place your smoked pork hock (I usually use 1 large one or 2 small ones) into the slow cooker. Add the chicken stock.
- Add half the aromatics.
- Set the crockpot on low temperature and basically forget about it for a long while.
- When the cooking time is up, strain the meat, bones, and skin from the broth.
- Let the meat cool a bit to where you can separate the meat from the bones, fat, and skin.
- Return only the meat to the stock, and add a new round of fresh aromatics again to bring brightness to the soup.
- Add the split peas to the broth and let them cook on high till tender.
- Serve and enjoy!
*****For exact ingredient amounts and cooking times, with tips and tricks that make this recipe perfect, look below at the handy printable recipe card.
Ideas For Switching Up This Soup Recipe
You could add other vegetables to the soup if you wanted. Try carrots, stewed tomatoes, and even some potatoes, but I prefer to have just the peas and the meat. Because you were slowly cooking the smoked ham hock, the meat is super tender, and the peas add a thickness that makes it incredibly hearty, and the smoky salty flavor through the stock is just incredible.
Pairing this soup with a piece of buttered crusty bread is absolutely phenomenal. I love dipping the bread in the broth….. yummmmmy!
A unique twist on serving this dish is to make up some buttery mashed potatoes and line the bottom of the bowl with them. Then, ladle the hot ham and pea soup over top. It’s a nice way to serve it, spooning some of the meat and broth along with the mashed potatoes (and even carrots) on the spoon. It’s scrumptious!!
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Tips
This smoked hock soup freezes amazingly well! Portion out the soup into freezer-friendly bowls and freeze for up to 6 months.
Alternatively, I’ve put the soup into freezer bags, taken all the air out and after sealing the bag, place them on a baking sheet laying down in the freezer to freeze. After they’re frozen, you can stack them on their sides or on top of each other, saving space in the freezer from using containers.
Then, when you thaw the soup, (in the microwave or overnight in the fridge) the ingredients might separate a bit, but it’s as simple as giving it a mix-up while you reheat it, and it will come back together.
Questions You Might Have
Well, it’s up to you. I do because I enjoy that smoky flavor which I find the skin carries a lot of the smoke. If you didn’t want to include it, be sure the hock is thawed, and with a sharp knife, carefully remove it from the meat.
Well, ham bones typically are not as smoky-flavored as the hock. The hock comes from the bottom part of the leg, close to the ankle and a ham bone comes from the upper part of the leg. If it turns out you have a ham bone instead of a hock, you can try making my Split Pea Soup recipe instead. However, both soups are very similar in flavor (and ingredients), but ham hock soup is typically meatier and smokier in taste.
I love finding ways to stretch your grocery dollar while still maintaining delicious flavor in what you eat. This soup is a perfect example of that along with my Slow Cooker Pineapple BBQ Meatballs, and my simple-to-make, Chicken Potato Bake.
Did you make this Smoked Pork Hock with Peas recipe? Did you put peas? Lentils? Just potatoes maybe? Drop a quick comment below so we can chat about it, I’d love to hear from you! Have a great day!
- 1 smoked pork hock, large or use 2 small ones
- 6 - 8 cups of chicken stock, or water
- 3 stalks celery, diced (separated in half)
- ½ onion, chopped (separated in half)
- 2 bay leaf, separated in half
- 2 - 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic (minced or powder)
- 1 lb dried spit peas
- Combine the hock, half of the aromatics (celery, onions, thyme and bay leaf) and the garlic, in the slow cooker bowl
- Add the stock (or water)
- Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours, or high for 6 - 7. (the longer the better to ensure fall off the bone tenderness)
- Remove the meat and strain the broth. Add the broth back to the slow cooker.
- Remove the meat from the bones and add the meat back to the slow cooker. Discard the bones and skin.
- Add the remaining fresh aromatics, and the peas.
- Cook on low 8 hours or on high 5 -6, until the peas are tender and have fallen apart.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 1519mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 28g
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.