To make comforting winter soups even more delicious, crisp the hock!

Crispy strips of fried ham hock on white bean soup
Crispy strips of fried ham hock on white bean soup | Photo by Carl Hanson

Crisping your ham hocks is ridiculously easy. All it takes is one extra step. Once you're done cooking the hock, shred it up and crisp the strips in a skillet. Let the strips sizzle in the frying pan over medium-high heat; you'll hear the crackling and smell the deliciousness. You'll end up with strips of crispy, flavorful, textural perfection.

Crisp strips of ham hock are the perfect garnish for cold-weather soups like split pea, white bean, and potato soups. Garnish collard greens with them, too!

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Try the technique on these top-rated soup recipes:

This tasty soup puts a spin on traditional Southern New Year's foods.

This hearty split-pea soup brings together split peas, ham hocks, potatoes, and a pinch of dried marjoram. Perfect comfort on a blustery fall or winter's day.

Split Pea Soup
Split Pea Soup | Photo by Meredith

Green chile peppers give ham and bean soup an extra kick.

This meaty, tomato-based bean soup includes Italian sausage, ham, and kidney beans -- "with a zesty Louisiana spice to it," says Jackie.

The ham hock cooks in a rich vegetable soup.

This simple ham and white bean soup is a hearty one-dish meal, loaded with bites of chopped ham, vegetables, and great Northern beans. See how it's done:

Check out our complete collection of Ham Soup Recipes.