We all know about making chicken stock, beef stock, vegetable, stock and even fish stock, but I have never made smoked pork stock until yesterday. I will not be without it again.
The pork you want is essentially traditional "country ham"; dry cured in salt, smoked, and aged (but not cooked). Cured smoked pork shoulder is less available but more affordable alternative. It can sometime be found in Chinese or Hispanic markets, or you can order it from www.smithfieldham.com., in the south you can find packages of country-ham trimmings - bits of meat, fat, and skin that are perfect for making stock. This is what I used. DO NOT use supermarket ham hocks, which are usually processed with chemical "smoke". They are fake and taste fake.
This rich stock is one of the best ways to bring that rich, salt, smoke, and aged meat to everyday cooking. You can use it for cooking greens, peas, beans, and root vegetables, or as a base for soups and stews.
Because pork stock can be defatted before you use it, foods never have the excessive greasiness that sometimes thought of as characteristic of Southern cooking.
Smoked Pork Stock
about 3 quarts
Adapted from The Gift of Southern Cooking
2 pounds cured and smoked pork shoulder, sliced or whole, OR 2 pounds country ham trimming. Not supermarket ham hocks
1 gallon spring water, unless you have a well in your back yard
Rinse the pork, and put it and the water into a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Cook, covered, at a full simmer for 2 hours, or until stock develops a strong smoked-pork flavor. Strain and discard the pork, because it will have rendered all of its flavor. Cool the stock completely, then refrigerate until needed. Pork stock may be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for 6 months.
NOTE: Once stock is well chilled, any fat that is congealed on the surface may be removed and reserved for other uses.