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Quality Has It's Own Problems: Beans Cook Too Fast for the Ham Hocks


I love being the clearing house for all things bean-oriented!
I received this message from a fellow member of one of the big food boards:

Anyway, after finishing the GMStallards, today I soaked and began a soup with my Yelloweyes. I glanced at a recipe, but basically winged it. Two stalks celery, one large carrot, one onion, two cloves garlic and a jalapeno, finely chopped, plus some crushed red pepper flakes -- all sauteed in olive oil.

Added two ham hocks and the beans, plus a good bit more water (I like brothy soups). I boiled then simmered maybe two hours in a covered La Creuset, then turned it off when I left for work around 5:30 p.m. I'm going to have my wife turn it back on low about an hour before I get off.


When I left, the beans were pretty tender (I salted then), but the only thing I'm disappointed by is that the hocks were still tough. If they haven't broken down tonight I'm going to pull them and re-use them for more gelatin in a batch of your black beans later in the week.

I also wish I had a source for hocks of less unknown origin. Cleaner hocks, as it were.

Is it possible the beans are so much fresher than the hocks? To the point that they'd take so much longer to cook? Being from California, the ham hock thing wasn't really done much. We always had Rosirita refrieds that my father would "doctor up", as he called it. The times I've cooked with a smoked ham hock, I got it from my friends at The Fatted Calf. Any advice on the ham hocks that might be older than last season's beans?

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