You know you’re in for a treat when you’ve got fall-off-the-bone tender pork neck bones smothered in gravy. That’s how we cook pork neck bones down here in the South. Whether you bake ’em or boil ’em, Southern pork neck bones deliver a knockout punch of taste.
Now, in this article, I’m going to start by showing you how to cook pork neck Southern style. But I ain’t stopping there. I’ll also let you in on a couple of other ways I prepare these delightful cuts.
Southern-Style Pork Neck Bones Recipe
- 3 pounds of pork neck bones
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup of celery, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- Salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or bacon fat for searing the neck bones)
- 2 cups of chicken broth (for simmering the bones)
- 1 can (14 ounces) of diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Cooked rice (for serving, optional though)
Tools for Making Southern-Style Pork Neck Bones
- Large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven
- Paper towels (for patting dry the neck bones)
- Cutting board and knife (for chopping the vegetables)
- Wooden spoon or spatula (for sautéing)
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Fork (for checking pork tenderness)
- Lid or cover for the skillet or Dutch oven (to simmer the pork neck bones)
- Serving plates or bowls
- Fork and knife (for serving)
- Optional: Ladle (for serving the gravy)
- Optional: Rice cooker or pot (for cooking rice if serving it)
1. Prepare and Season Neck Bones
Start by rinsing the neck bones under running water. Now pat them with paper towels and season with salt and black pepper. Let them sit for about 15 minutes to allow the seasoning to penetrate.
2. Sear the Pork Neck Bones
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pork neck bones and sear them on all sides until they turn golden brown. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Remove the neck bones and set them aside.
3. Sauté the Vegetables
In the same skillet, add the chopped onion, garlic, green bell pepper, and celery. Sauté them until they become tender, which should take about five minutes. Be sure to scrape up any flavorful brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.
4. Add Seasonings
Return the seared meat to the skillet. Add bay leaves, dried thyme, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir everything together and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes to release those aromatic flavors.
5. Combine with Broth and Tomatoes
Pour the chicken broth and diced tomatoes (with their juices) into the skillet. Give it a good stir to combine all the ingredients. Then bring to a boil.
6. Simmer the Pork Neck Bones
Once boiling, lower the heat, cover the skillet, and let the magic happen. Simmer for about 2.5 to 3 hours, or when they’re fork-tender. You’ll want to check occasionally and add more broth or water if it starts to look too dry.
7. Taste and Adjust Seasoning
When the neck bones are fall-off-the-bone tender, it’s time to serve ’em up. Remove the bay leaves, and taste the gravy. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
8. Serve Southern-Style
To serve these southern neck bones, spoon the gravy and pork, over a bed of hot, fluffy rice if you like. Garnish with fresh parsley to add a pop of color and freshness to your plate.
There you have it, a soul-satisfying Southern-style pork neck bones recipe that’ll transport your taste buds straight to the heart of Dixieland!
- If you can’t find neck bones at your local market, no worries! Swap them out with beef, chicken, or turkey. Just remember, cooking times may need a little adjustment depending on your chosen meat type and size.
- Craving some heat? Throw in some fresh habaneros, jalapeños, or even Scotch bonnet peppers to your roasted neck bones for that fiery kick. Go ahead, spice things up!
- You can also get creative with your spices. Mix and match from a variety of options like onion powder, oregano, thyme, parsley, cayenne, chili flakes, smoked paprika, Creole seasoning, Italian seasoning, or throw in some bay leaves for extra flavor.
How to Cook Neck Bones in a Pot?
- Pork neck bones (two to three pounds)
- Salt (to taste)
- Black pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
- Vegetables (optional, such as green beans, carrots, chopped onions, and potatoes)
- Minced garlic cloves or garlic powder (optional)
- Large pot or casserole dish (to cook the pork neck bones and vegetables)
- Bowl (for washing the pork bones)
- Spoon (for spice mixing)
- Stove: To provide the heat for boiling and simmering the meat.
- Knife and cutting board (if using fresh vegetables)
- Start by washing the meat in a bowl under your kitchen sink. Place each cut under water and remove all the cartilage and fat.
- Now place the cuts in a large pot. I like to cook pork meat in a casserole dish but you may want to use what works for you or anything similar.
- Add the salt and half a teaspoon of black pepper and mix.
- Cover up the whole meat in water as high as 3 inches. Be careful not to overfill it. Stop filling when you can see the meat is completely covered.
- Now, the idea is to first boil the water with all the meat for about fifteen minutes under medium or high heat. Don’t worry; you’re still going to continue cooking.
- A little foam will form on the surface when the water begins to boil. As soon as I see this happen, grab a spoon to scoop it out as much as possible when you see this.
- Now, keep simmering the meat for an hour to an hour and a half.
- Next, add some vegetables to the pot. This is optional but something I like to do. If you’d like to try this, you may add them after the meat is cooked. I like to add green beans, carrots, chopped onions, and potatoes. But you may try any of your favorite vegetables. You may also use two minced garlic cloves or a tablespoon of garlic powder.
- Let the vegetables simmer for maybe 20 minutes until you feel they are quite tender. When it’s all done, and everything is still steaming, serve with hot rice.
Oven-baked Pork Neck Bones
- 4 pounds pork neck bones
- 5 roughly chopped garlic cloves
- 2 roughly chopped onions
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar
- 1 and a half teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- Roasting pan (with a lid or aluminum foil for covering)
- Aluminum foil for covering
- Cutting board
- Knife for chopping onions and garlic
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Basting brush or spoon for basting the neck bones
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
First things first, preheat your oven to a toasty 375 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 190 degrees Celsius for our metric friends).
Step 2: Prepare the Flavor Base
Now, take those onions and garlic, and give them a rough chop. Sprinkle about three-fourths of them into the bottom of your roasting pan. Then, in goes the water and that splash of white vinegar. It’s time to set the stage for the pork neck bones’ flavor.
Step 3: Season the Pork Neck Bones
Next up, the stars of our recipe: the pork neck bones. Sprinkle them well with a teaspoon and a half of salt and a teaspoon of red pepper.
Step 4: Lay the Neck Bones on the Onion and Garlic
Lay those seasoned neck bones right on top of your onion and garlic bed. Oh, but don’t forget to sprinkle the rest of the onions and garlic over the top. It’s like giving your dish a cozy onion and garlic blanket.
Step 5: Seal the Flavor with Foil
Grab a piece of aluminum foil and cover that roasting pan tightly to seal in all that goodness. Pop it in the preheated oven, and let it bake away for 2 hours. But here’s the secret sauce: every 30 minutes, give those neck bones a good baste. And yes, cover ’em back up with foil each time you do.
Step 6: Uncover and Let Them Shine
After that patient wait, it’s time for the big reveal. Remove the foil and let those neck bones continue their journey in the oven until they fall off the bone tender and golden brown, which takes about another 45 minutes. That’s when you know they’re ready to shine. Now your southern neck bones are ready to be dished.
1. Are Pork Neck Bones Good to Eat?
You bet! They are good to eat and bursting with flavor. Forget about the name, they’re packed with meat and those stretchy connective tissues, perfect for a slow-cooked meal. When you let them simmer, that meat turns tender and soaks up all those flavors.
2. Are Neck Bones Healthy to Eat?
Pork neck bones generally pack a protein punch (52% of DV/100g). They come with a side of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and some other good-for-you minerals. They are best taken in a balanced diet with other sides or main dishes like rice, and veggies.
3. What Part of the Pig is a Neckbone?
Pork neck bones are pretty much what they sound like – they’re the meat and bones you get from a pig or hog’s neck. Now, don’t expect a huge chunk of meat here though; it’s just a modest amount. But when you simmer them, that little bit of meat turns into something tender. If you want well-softened neck bones, cook them on low in a crock pot for at least eight hours.
4. Do You Have to Clean Pork Neck Bones Before Cooking?
Yup, I like to clean them up with a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. Why, you ask? Well, these bones come with membranes and some big veins that you need to remove.
Cooking neck bones is actually quite easy. You can usually buy neck bones right from the meat aisle in your local supermarket or swing by your friendly neighborhood pork butcher’s spot.
But let’s say you’re on a wild goose chase in your local grocery store and butcher shops and can’t get this pork cut. No worries. Head over to a Korean or Chinese meat market, and you’re likely to find it there.
Pork neck bones done using the southern-style cooking method are delicious and healthy. Remember, you’ve got options – you can simmer it or pop it in the oven, and either way, you’re in for a flavor explosion if done right.