Although pork neck bones may be viewed as unappetizing to some, they are common fare in many cultures. In American soul food, neck bones might be simmered in rich gravy and served as a main course, or added to side dishes like beans. In Italian cuisine, neck bones are often stewed in tomatoes and garlic. In Latin kitchens, the meat is cooked in soup with spicy peppers. Pork neck bones can be tough if they aren't cooked properly. The low and even heat offered from a slow cooker will break down the meat until it falls from the bone, creating a tender and juicy treat.
Sprinkle the neck bones with salt and pepper on all sides. Add a thin layer of vegetable or canola oil to a large frying pan and heat on medium-high.
Place the neck bones on a single layer in the pan. Work in batches if they do not all fit on a single layer. Cook the neck bones, flipping with tongs as needed, until they are a rich brown color on each side. Set the meat aside and brown the next batch, if needed.
Plug in your slow cooker and turn it on low. Use a slow cooker large enough to fit your neck bones and other ingredients.
Add your ingredients to the slow cooker. If you want to bolster the dish, set the neck bones atop a layer of root vegetables, such as onions, potatoes and celery. Pour the cooking liquid gently over the neck bones. Add any desired dried herbs and seasonings.
Cover and cook for about seven hours, or until the meat is falling off of the bones. Serve hot.
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- If you are cooking the neck bones as part of side dish or soup, remove the neck bones after about six hours of cooking, pick the meat from the bones and add it back to the slow cooker, discarding the bones.
- Keep in mind that the amount of liquid in the slow cooker will increase as the food cooks. Juices cook out of the food and the condensation is trapped in the cooker. Use the minimum amount of liquid required in the recipe.
- Prepare about one pound of neck bones per person.
Sarah Bourque has been a freelance writer since 2006 and is based in the Pacific Northwest. She writes and edits for the local publisher, Pacific Crest Imprint and has written for several online content sites. Her work recently appeared in "The Goldendale Tourism and Economic Development Magazine" and "Sail the Gorge!" magazine. She attended Portland Community College where she studied psychology.