What Is Neck Bones Beef Or Pork? The Full Guide

If you’re a fan of Southern-style cooking, you’ve probably heard of neck bones. But what exactly are they? Are they beef or pork? And why are they so popular in soul food dishes?

In this article, we’ll explore the world of neck bones and answer all your burning questions. From their tender and juicy meat to their affordable price point, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about this humble cut of meat.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about neck bones – the ultimate comfort food.

What Is Neck Bones Beef Or Pork?

Neck bones can come from a variety of animals, including beef, pork, and turkey. However, pork is the most common choice for Southern-style cooking. Beef neck bones are also popular and have a small amount of meat on them. When simmered, the meat becomes tender and juicy, making them a flavorful addition to any dish.

Despite their name, neck bones don’t actually contain a lot of meat. This is why they are often served for soul food meals along with Collard Greens and Southern Cornbread. They are an inexpensive cut of meat that delivers big on taste and can be just as flavorful as short ribs or oxtails but come at a fraction of the cost.

What Are Neck Bones?

Neck bones are exactly what their name implies – they are the bones that come from the neck of an animal, typically a pig or hog. They are a bony cut of meat that has a small amount of meat on them, but when simmered, the meat becomes tender and juicy. Neck bones are often used to make stocks, broths, soups, and gravies due to their rich flavor and ability to add depth to any dish.

When purchasing neck bones, it’s important to clean them thoroughly by rinsing them with water. This removes any impurities like dirt or blood that may be on them. Neck bones can be found in most grocery stores, but if you can’t find any there, check butcher shops or specialty stores like Asian markets.

In Southern-style cooking, neck bones are a staple and are often served with greens or cabbage. They can be baked or boiled depending on the recipe and level of attention you want to give the dish. Pork neck bones are especially popular in soul food recipes like collards and gumbos, but they can also be used in spaghetti sauce for added flavor.

Beef Or Pork: Which One Is It?

When it comes to neck bones, both beef and pork are viable options. However, pork is the more popular choice for Southern-style cooking due to its tender and juicy meat. In terms of nutritional value, both meats have similar amounts of calories and protein per 100g, but beef has a higher fat content than pork. Beef also contains more iron and vitamin B12 than pork, while pork has more thiamin and vitamin D.

When it comes to choosing between beef and pork neck bones, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the dish you plan to make. Beef neck bones may have less meat on them, but they can still be a flavorful addition when simmered in a stew or soup. Pork neck bones, on the other hand, are often used in traditional Southern dishes like collard greens or as a base for flavorful broths and gravies.

It’s important to note that the healthiness of either option depends on the cut of meat used. Lean cuts of both beef and pork can be a healthy addition to your diet, while fattier cuts should be consumed in moderation. Ultimately, the choice between beef or pork neck bones comes down to personal taste and the dish you plan to make.

The Popularity Of Neck Bones In Soul Food

Neck bones have a long-standing history in soul food cuisine. They are a staple ingredient in many Southern-style dishes and have been a go-to for generations. The popularity of neck bones in soul food can be traced back to the days of slavery when African American slaves were given the scraps of meat that no one else wanted. They had to find creative ways to make these scraps into nourishing meals, and neck bones were one of the cuts of meat that they utilized.

Today, neck bones remain a popular ingredient in soul food cuisine. They are often used to make stews, soups, and gravies, and are typically slow-cooked to bring out their full flavor. Neck bones are also great for making bone broth, which is a nutritious and flavorful base for many dishes.

One of the reasons why neck bones have remained so popular in soul food is their affordability. They are an inexpensive cut of meat that can feed a large family or group of people. Neck bones may not have a lot of meat on them, but they make up for it with their rich and savory flavor.

In addition to their flavor and affordability, neck bones are also a reminder of the resourcefulness and ingenuity of African American slaves. They took what little they had and turned it into something delicious and nourishing, and neck bones continue to be a symbol of this legacy.

Nutritional Value Of Neck Bones

When it comes to the nutritional value of pork neck bones, a 3-ounce serving contains 182 calories, 8.6g of fat, 24.5g of protein, and 0g of total carbs and net carbs. This serving size also contains 1.40 mcg of vitamin A, 0.0 mg of vitamin C, and 1.40 mcg of vitamin D, as well as 1.43 mg of iron, 19.60 mg of calcium, and 472 mg of potassium.

In terms of macronutrients, a 140 g serving of cooked pork neck bones contains 255 calories, with 11 g of fat and 36 g of protein. This serving size has no carbohydrates, including sugar and dietary fiber. However, it does contain complex carbohydrates. Additionally, this serving size contains 3.6 g of saturated fat and 95 mg of cholesterol.

It is important to note that the nutritional value may vary depending on factors such as age, gender, level of physical activity, medical history, and other factors. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a doctor before making any changes to your diet.

How To Cook Neck Bones

Cooking neck bones is a simple and straightforward process that requires a few basic ingredients and some patience. Here are some steps on how to cook neck bones:

1. Preparing the Neck Bones: Start by cleaning your neck bones thoroughly. Use your fingers to remove any cartilage from the meat and give them a final rinse. Pat them dry with a paper towel.

2. Seasoning the Neck Bones: Season both sides of each neck bone with salt, pepper, and any other spices of your choice. You can use paprika, garlic powder, or sage to add more flavor.

3. Searing the Neck Bones: Heat a large pot on medium-high heat and add some oil or bacon fat. When hot, add the seasoned neck bones and sear each side for 5 to 6 minutes until browned.

4. Adding the Liquid: Once the neck bones are seared, remove them from the pot and add onions to sauté until soft and fragrant. Then, add in your liquid of choice (water, broth, or wine) to deglaze the pot and scrape up any brown bits for added flavor.

5. Simmering the Neck Bones: Return the neck bones to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 2-4 hours until the meat falls off the bone.

6. Serving: Once cooked, remove the neck bones from the pot and serve them over rice or alongside your favorite side dishes.

Delicious Recipes Featuring Neck Bones

If you’re looking for some delicious recipes featuring neck bones, here are a few to try:

1. Pork Neck Bones and Collard Greens: This classic Southern dish is a favorite for a reason. The tender meat from the neck bones pairs perfectly with the hearty greens. Serve with cornbread for a filling and satisfying meal.

2. Beef Neck Bone Stew: Simmer beef neck bones with vegetables like carrots, onions, and celery in a rich broth for a comforting stew that’s perfect for cold weather.

3. Neck Bone and Bean Soup: This hearty soup is packed with protein and flavor. Simmer pork neck bones with beans, tomatoes, and spices for a delicious and filling meal.

4. Neck Bone Gravy: Use pork or beef neck bones to create a flavorful gravy that’s perfect for serving over biscuits or mashed potatoes.

No matter how you choose to prepare them, neck bones are a versatile ingredient that can add flavor and depth to any dish. Experiment with different recipes and cooking methods to find your new favorite way to enjoy this delicious cut of meat.