Hocks are not a typical part of a cut list people think about in the northern United States, but are an important addition to ask for on your list. The hock is the middle portion of the leg, above the feet but not up into the ham or picnic roast.
When buying a whole of half pig, it is important to recognize that you are investing in a farm raised, healthy animal, but also to know that there are ways to get the most value for your dollar. Part of that is to learn how to use every part of the pig and the hock is no exception.
As the hocks are not generally a robust meat cut, but they are full of flavor, they are often used in bean and rice dishes or soups and stews for flavor building. I am including a few links here to get you started on using the hock, and I encourage you to try it out and include it on your cut list.
From over at AmazingRibs.com there is Hoppin’ John Beans & Rice. This is one that is relatively simple but rich and flavorful. I recommend it as a winter evening meal.
If you want to avoid the beans route, I recommend looking for stew or soup recipes that you like, and substituting for example a ham hock for a chicken carcass.
You can also try cooking the hocks with greens or even sauerkraut for a different flavor and delicious combination. For these approaches, all you need to add is salt and pepper to taste, but I feel it is best to start with a smoked hock for best flavor.