An often unappreciated cut of meat, a pork neck bone may be inexpensive, but it provides a wealth of distinctive flavor. The bone, which contains the neck and part of the ribs and backbone, contains bits of tasty, tender meat that fall from the bone when the neck is gently simmered in water. Serve boiled neck bone over rice, toast or pasta or incorporate the meat and stock into soups or stews.
Things You'll Need
- Large saucepan or soup pot with lid
- Chicken or beef broth (optional)
- Apple cider or tomato juice
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped onions (optional)
Measure water into a large saucepan or soup pot. As a general rule, use about 1 quart of water for every pound of neck bones. If you prefer, use chicken or beef broth instead of water. You can also add a small amount of apple cider, beer or tomato juice for extra flavor.
Rinse the pork necks thoroughly, then place them in the pot.
Season the neck bones with salt and pepper. If desired, add a bay leaf and fresh or dried parsley, thyme or rosemary. Cilantro also adds an interesting flavor to neck bones. If you like a spicy dish, stir in crushed red pepper flakes or a few drops of hot pepper sauce. You can also add chunks of coarsely chopped onion.
Bring the water to a full boil, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low or medium-low. The water should be just barely simmering.
Simmer the neck bones gently for about two hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
Remove the pan from the heat. Drain the water from the pot and save it for soups or stews, then serve the boiled neck bones hot or incorporate them into recipes. If you aren't ready to eat the neck bones, place them in the refrigerator immediately.
Tips & Warnings
- Stir vegetables into the simmering water during the last 20 minutes of cooking time, if desired. For example, add peeled, chopped potatoes, or sliced carrots or celery.
- You can also cook pork neck bones with greens such as turnip greens or collards. Simmer the pork neck bones slowly for about an hour, then add the greens and simmer for an additional 1 to 2 hours. Add your choice of seasonings during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
- Incorporate dried or canned beans to the pork necks and broth to make a tasty and economical soup. Add veggies such as carrots, potatoes and onions to provide flavor and nutrition, then season the soup with garlic and herbs such as bay leaves, thyme, rosemary or cilantro.