How to Cook Smoked Ham Hocks in an Instant Pot for Perfectly Tender Meat

Smoked ham hocks are a delicious and flavorful cut of meat that benefit greatly from the tenderizing power of an Instant Pot The combination of pressure cooking and smoking produces ham hocks with meat so tender it falls right off the bone!

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through everything you need to know to cook smoked ham hocks to perfection in your Instant Pot.

What Are Smoked Ham Hocks?

Ham hocks are cut from the lower portion of a pig’s legs. They contain a significant amount of bone, skin, fat, and connective tissue. This makes them tough cuts of meat requiring long, moist cooking methods to become tender.

Smoked ham hocks take the flavor up another notch. They go through a smoking process before being sold. This infuses the meat with a lovely smoky flavor and aroma.

When braised in flavorful liquid, smoked ham hocks transform into succulent, pull-apart meat infused with smoky depth. The Instant Pot is the ideal appliance for getting smoked ham hocks tender in record time.

Benefits of Cooking Smoked Ham Hocks in an Instant Pot

Here are some of the biggest benefits of using your Instant Pot to cook smoked ham hocks:

  • Accelerated cooking time – Smoked ham hocks can take hours to become tender through traditional braising The Instant Pot cuts the cooking time significantly through rapid pressure cooking

  • Intensified flavor – Pressure cooking traps steam inside the pot forcing moisture and flavors deep into the meat. This amps up the flavor and tenderness.

  • Hands-free convenience – Set the Instant Pot, press a button, and walk away. No need for constant monitoring or liquid replenishing.

  • Easy shredding – The high heat and pressure tenderizes the meat and collagen remarkably well. Ham hocks shred easily after Instant Pot cooking.

  • Mess containment – The sealed pot contains splatters and smells from the smoking liquid. Less cleanup needed!

Now let’s get into the step-by-step process of cooking smoked ham hocks to fall-off-the-bone perfection in your Instant Pot.

Ingredients Needed

To make about 6 servings, you will need:

  • 2 smoked ham hocks (1 lb each)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken or ham broth
  • 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Instant Pot Instructions

Follow these simple steps for finger-licking smoked ham hocks every time:

  1. Turn the Instant Pot on to the sauté setting. Add a bit of olive oil or butter to coat the bottom.

  2. Place the smoked ham hocks in the pot. Sear for 3-4 minutes per side until well browned.

  3. Remove ham hocks from pot and set aside. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.

  4. Add chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, smoked paprika and mustard powder. Stir to dissolve the brown sugar.

  5. Return the seared ham hocks to the liquid along with any accumulated juices.

  6. Secure the lid and set the pressure release valve to ‘sealing’. Pressure cook on high pressure for 1 hour (for 2 lb ham hocks).

  7. Allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes after cooking completes.

  8. Carefully open the lid once all the pressure is released. The ham hocks should be fall-apart tender.

  9. Transfer ham hocks to a plate or cutting board. Strain and defat the cooking liquid if desired.

  10. Pull the meat from the bones. Shred or chop according to preference.

  11. Serve the flavorful smoked ham hock meat in your choice of dishes!

The succulent shredded meat is fantastic in soups, stews, eggs, sandwiches, casseroles, and more.

Helpful Tips for Best Results

  • For more tender meat, cook ham hocks up to 90 minutes in the Instant Pot.

  • Add potatoes, beans or veggies to cook with the ham hocks for a one-pot meal.

  • Stir in some flour at the end to thicken the cooking liquid for gravy.

  • Refrigerate leftover ham hock meat in the cooking liquid for added moisture and flavor.

  • Freeze cooked meat in portions to use later in recipes. Defrost overnight in the fridge before using.

  • Add bay leaf, thyme, sage and other herbs/spices to the cooking liquid for more flavor complexity.

Satisfying Ways to Use Cooked Smoked Ham Hocks

There are so many delicious ways to put Instant Pot smoked ham hocks to use:

  • Ham hock collard greens – Shredded ham hocks and collards cooked in ham broth

  • Ham and bean soup – Great Northern beans and ham hocks make a hearty soup

  • Split pea and ham soup – Classic combo with incredible smoky depth

  • Ham hock fried rice – Diced ham hocks add richness to fried rice

  • Ham salad sandwiches – Chopped ham hock meat with mayo, celery, onions

  • Ham hock omelets – Dice and add to fluffy omelets for breakfast

  • Ham hock pasta – Toss with roasted garlic sauce and parmesan

  • Ham and hash – Combine with hash browns or home fries

With the Instant Pot, enjoying smoky, tender ham hocks is quick and easy on any day. Experiment with your own flavorful seasonings, cooking liquids and serving dishes. Soon smoked ham hocks will be your favorite Instant Pot recipe! Let us know your favorite ham hock creations.

Back In The Day Smoked Ham Hocks Instantpot Style.


Are smoked ham hocks already cooked?

meat in a ham hock that is very tasty, but there is also a lot of high quality fat, collagen and cartilage that melt away and add lip-smacking savoriness to your dish. Ham hocks are usually sold pre-cooked, and often smoked.

Do I need to soak smoked ham hock before cooking?

Soak out the salt: Soaking the ham hocks in cold water for at least half an hour or more before cooking them will help draw out excess sodium so they don’t overwhelm your palate with salt. Go low sodium: If you plan on braising your smoked ham hocks, use a low sodium broth or the salty taste may be too much.

How long does it take for smoked ham hocks to get tender?

In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine ham hocks, onions, garlic, and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook at a bare simmer until hocks are very tender, 2 to 3 hours. Remove ham hocks from liquid, transfer to a cutting board, and pull bones from meaty and fatty parts.

How long to boil a smoked ham hock?

Cover the pot with it’s lid and place on high heat. Boil the ham hocks for a minimum of 2 hours adding more water when necessary. Do not add any salt! *You also have the option of using a pressure cooker to speed up the process.

Leave a Comment