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April 12, 2004



I think the answer is, technically yes.

Webster's defines the hock as (a): the tarsal joint or region in the hind limb of a digitigrade quadruped (as the horse) corresponding to the human ankle but elevated and bending backward, (b): a joint of a fowl's leg that corresponds to the hock of a quadruped.

So, if you've ever had chicken feet for dim sum (or in any other dish,) you've technically had hock without the ham. Of course, no one ever refers to chicken hock or poultry hock. Common usage (at least in culinary circles) certainly suggests that "ham hock" could be truncated to just hock.

As an aside, a quick google search brings up numerous references to the hock in competitive pig shows. The contours and muscle tone between the ham, hock, and pastern(?) are apparently important characteristics for a prize pig.

Love your site by the way.

Dr. Biggles

Hey !! Hmm, a dictionary eh? I'm not sure I would trust someone in a library to my meat fu. But MumonA is correct, yeah but no. Lambs, Deer, Cows (young & old) have 'shanks'. Pigs are the only ones to have 'hocks'.
Even when you go in to your Asian or Mexican related food stores you'll ask for Chicken's Feet, not chicken hocks.
An interesting meat related trivia question.


An interesting question indeed. I have a related question...is the hock and the shank exactly the same cut? I'm not sure that it is...but I could be wrong. Perhaps I should defer to the meet expert?

the vamp

Dr. Biggles! Paging Dr. Biggles!

Dr. Biggles

HA !!! The Dr. is in ...

Dr. Biggles

The hock is above the foot and the shank is thinner, meatier & near the shoulder. YUM.

Dr. Biggles

The front leg portion of the hog is the HOCK. The rear legs are the shanks.
For a cow, both front & rear are called shanks.

Hooboy, that was close, eh?

the vamp

So glad you cleared that one up. I thought you were off your game! (Get it: game!?! Game as in meat. Get it? Ack, never mind...)

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