Mexican Style Pickled Pork Hocks

by Jefferson Munroe

I normally view pickled meat with a healthy skepticism: meat is meant to be cooked and eaten, and occasionally stored in fat or marinated and dried or smoked or fermented. So perhaps it would be better to think of pickled meat as an age-old tradition like salt cod or salami. This recipe will appear in Adam Danforth’s nearly completed Basic Butchering of Lifestock and Game by Storey Publishing, an updated and expanded version of the venerable classic.

Ingredients

  • 1 pork foot with hock attached, leg scored into 1” pieces, hoof split
  • 1 medium red onion cut in half through the root end
  • 1 small head of garlic cut in half on its equator
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste (be generous, around 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1½ cups white vinegar
  • 4 jalapeños, flesh cut into thick strips with seeds removed
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and split lengthwise and cut into half moons
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp. sugar
Mexican Style Pickled Pork Hocks

Elizabeth Cecil

Place the cut foreshank and hoof in a pot or Dutch oven, add the garlic, half of the onion, bay leaf, and salt. Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and skim all of the froth and fat that rises to the top. Simmer the hocks for an hour and a half to two and a half hours until just tender but not falling off the bone.

While the hocks are cooking, slice the other half of red onion into ¼-inch strips and combine with jalapeño, carrot, oregano and sugar. Marinate in the vinegar until the hocks are ready.

Place the cooked hocks into the vinegar mixture and add enough of the cooking liquid to cover: at least a cup and a half but not more than two and a half cups.

Adjust salinity as necessary. Let the hocks cool in the marinade in the refrigerator overnight. The next day the cold hocks can be eaten “as-is” with the pickled onion, carrot and jalapeño or gently warmed in the liquid, removed from the bones and served over corn tortillas with radish, sour cream, and shredded romaine lettuce.

For a more traditional serving, use tostadas with a smear of bean purée, shredded romaine, salsa verde, and queso fresco.