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. The ingredients and seasonings change from time to time, but the main star of course is the smoked pork hock.
SLOW COOKER SMOKED PORK HOCK SOUP WITH PEAS
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. Ham bone, ham hock, or pork hock, doesn’t matter what you call it, they’ll know what to give you. Your butcher usually is 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 and smoke ham hocks and usually have a nicer smoke taste than ones you can buy at your grocers. That’s not saying you shouldn’t buy the ones there, but if you can purchase them from a deli or a butcher, that’s the way to go.
Slow cooking a smoked pork hock into a soup with your crock pot 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.. lol 😉
Easy peasy: minimal effort = maximum results!
Best thing is, is that you get maximum flavor with a minimal amount of effort. To begin, place your smoked pork hock (I usually use 1 large one or 2 small ones) into the slow cooker. Add 6- 8 cups of chicken stock, or water. Be sure the liquid covers the meat by about an inch or so.
Add the aromatics like fresh thyme, onion, celery and bay leaves. Put it on low, and forget about it. Like, for a loong time. LOL. I usually leave mine for at least 10 hours. I’ve been know to leave it *gasp* overnight! It’s a tough piece of meat, so you need the long cooking time to really break down the fibers and make it fall off the one tender.
When the cooking time is up, strain the meat from the ham bone (along with the bone, of course) and aromatics out of the liquid. Let the meat cool a bit to where you can separate the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the stock and discard the bone, gristle and any skin that came off. Add a new round of fresh aromatics again to bring a bightness to the soup.
Add the split peas to the broth and let them cook on low about 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high. You could add other vegetables if you wanted like carrots, stewed tomatoes, and some even some potatoes, but I prefer to have just the peas and the meat. Because you were slow 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.
Freezing this Soup
Pair this soup with a piece of crusty fresh bread and you’ve got it made! Oh, and also, this pork hock soup freezes amazingly well! Portion out the soup into freezer friendly bowls and freeze 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 from using containers. Then, when you thaw the soup, the ingredients might separate a bit, but it’s as simple as giving it a mix up while you reheat it, and it will be come back together.
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I love finding ways to stretch your grocery dollar while still maintaining delicious flavor in what you eat. Cheap food doesn’t have to be pasta and eggs all the time, lol. While you’re here, I have a few other recipes that stretch your dollar like my Slow Cooker Pineapple BBQ Meatballs, and my simple to make, Chicken Potato Bake. My slow cooker smoked pork hock soup just fits the bill. (particularly on chilly nights!!). When you make this soup, let me know what other vegetables you cooked with it. 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!
Slow Cooker Smoked Pork Hock Soup with Peas
This incredible slow cooker smoked pork hock soup with peas is a recipe with minimal effort yielding maximum results. Smoky tender meat in a super flavorful broth, made hearty with thick hearty split peas. Add crusty fresh bread and you've got dinner!
- 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)
- 1/2 onion, chopped (separated in half)
- 2 bay leaf, separated in half
- 2 - 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tsp 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.
Kelli McLellan says
Your recipes sounds delicious. I’m from Canada 🇨🇦 haven’t seen smoked ham hocks. I just have plain …will this recipe still work? Or is there something I can add to compensate?
Hi Kelli – I’m in Canada too!! Yes, plain ham hocks will work. I always buy mine from a local German deli/meat market in Edmonton. The smoke adds a wonderful flavor (if you like that flavor, lol). So yes, plain ones will work, but if you can, make a few phone calls to some of the deli’s in your area and see if they carry them, it’s definitely worth a try! I hope this helps!
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Audrey Miller says
The recipe lists garlic salt as an ingredient but doesn’t indicate where to add it in the directions. I’m trying this today (make broth today, add peas/ lentils for supper tomorrow).
Hi Audrey. The garlic can be added at the beginning when you’re adding the first half of the fresh ingredients to the slow cooker bowl. Hope this helps!
I usually make this ( we call it ham hough) on the stove top but trying it in the slow cooker for first time. All day and second part overnight. I love it with red lentils but am trying it with yellow split peas overnight.
Should I alter the weight of the split peas ?
Secondly, like the idea of the freezer bag stacking but don’t want to add to the plastic mountain. I’ve heard of silicone bags, longer lasting. Are they any good and worth the extra upfront costs/longevity ?
Greetings from Bonny Scotland 🏴
Hello Gordon!! How wonderful to hear from someone in beautiful Scotland!! (I’ll make it there sometime in my life, for sure!).
Ok, so I don’t think it should make a difference using yellow split peas. I’ve never had them myself, but the research that I’ve done, the cooking time is the same.
So regarding the silicone bags, I’ve seen them around and I’ve heard great things about them. I haven’t used them, but I think they would be ideal to use for freezing flat. I’m pretty sure they have a good seal on them so if you put them on the side to freeze and stack, they would work ok.
They are expensive I think and an alternative would be to have a set of freezer bags that you use specifically for the soup. When you’re done, you wash them out really well and let air dry inside out. Fold them back down and save them for another day. My aunt taught me that trick, so it’s something to give a try if you wanted.
I’d love to hear how it works out if you use the silicone bags. I’ve been thinking of switching to them myself because you’re right, the amount of plastic floating around is disastrous.
Glenda Genot says
I made a crockpot ham hock with a variety mix of soup beans I’d been given & used the recipe on the package. It was cooked on high for 10 hours and was delicious but the ham was still very chewey.
Hi Glenda! It’s so hard to troubleshoot the issue with a chewy ham. I don’t know what type of ham you used, so it’s really difficult to say what the issue was. But 10 hours, you’d think the ham would be completely tender! If you want to email me directly, we could try and figure it out? Joanne@thesaltypot.com
Margaret Skalecki says
Tried this soup a few months ago. I only had a 2qt. slow cooker so I did 2 hocks at a time, then cooked the peas in the resulting broth. Put it all together in a big dutch oven for serving. The family loved it and declared it 10 times better than just the Easter Ham Bone. In fact, tonight my son bought 8 smoked hocks and 2 bags of peas for a family dinner tomorrow night. He has a BIG slow cooker so it will be all in one. Love this and will try some others.. THanks!!!!!
Hi Margaret!! I am SO thrilled that you and your family loved this soup recipe!! And the fact that your son bought 8 smoked hocks to make more – I’m completely honored!! Yaaaay!!
Thank you so much for the kind words, you have no idea how nice it is to read your comment 🙂
Would a double smoked ham bone do the trick? Would you adjust cooking time in the slow cook at all? We had a smoked spiral cut ham that I double smoked on our wood pellet smoker for 3 hrs. I want to use that for the soup 🙂
I think it would work perfectly Vicky! As for adjusting the cooking time, I can’t say because I’ve never done it with a spiral ham bone. I suggest just tasting the broth as you go, but I really think it will work out quite fine! Please let me know, I’m interested in the outcome!!
It was delicious! Had to cook it a bit longer – the peas were still a bit crunch though. But the end result was amazing! My son decorated it was his most favourite soup ever 😊
Wooohooo! That’s awesome Vicky, – you made my day! Thank you so much for taking your valuable time and letting me know what you thought about the recipe! It means a lot to me 🙂
If my plan is to use the bones for bone broth later, I might as well just leave the meat on the bones until I serve it, right? (since I always slow cook my bones 20+ hours) Then I can kill 2 birds with one stone by getting the benefits of all the collagen while eating what sounds like will be a delicious soup!
Is there any reason that would be problematic?
Hey Carrie! I don’t see a problem (that I can think of?), but I’d love to hear your results when you make it and how it turned out for you!!
Loved this recipe – doubled it. Cooked the overloaded ham bone all day while at work. Did the second half of the recipe thru the night for loads of soup the next day. So easy and yummy!
Wooohooo!!! I’m thrilled that you loved it!! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and let me know your thoughts!
Should the hock be thawed or can it be frozen? Thanks!
Hi Sarah! The hock can be thawed or frozen. Just know that if you’re using frozen, it will take a while longer to get to the point of shredding because it has to thaw the hock first.
Lee lynch says
I’d like to make the ham hock soup but I don’t see where it says how much split peas to use?
In the recipe box you’ll see all the amounts for the recipe. You’ll want to use 1 lb of split peas.