Hambone Soup

We interrupt the continuation of the campfire cooking series for this little tidbit of love.  While visiting my mother recently I was greeted with a fresh country ham.  Woo-wee.  It’s one of my favorite ways to get my nitrates in.  And while the ham was great and still keeps on giving (down to the last couple pounds of it as of this post), the inedible parts are what yielded perhaps the tastiest eats. 

Since many of you will by slaying hams for Thanksgiving, and many will have  a large hambone that you won’t have any idea what to do with, I had to notify you of this before it was too late.

I don’t have a video for you regrettably, but this is how I made this truly outstanding and incredibly flavorful soup.


  • 1 hambone, preferably with at least a little meat left on it
  • 4 cans of white Northern beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 4 cups mirepoix – that’s carrots, celery, and onions
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Salt and Tabasco to season (unless using country ham, in which case it will already be as salty as seawater)
  • Bundle of thyme sprigs tied together with a little kitchen twine
  • Lots of water


  1. In a pot big enough to handle your hambone (ideally you would hack it into reasonable-sized pieces with a cleaver, but not every0ne has such a complete kitchen arsenal) sweat the mirepoix for a half hour in the butter until nice and soft and maybe a little brown color on it.
  2. Add hambone and thyme sprigs
  3. Cover with water until everything is totally submerged
  4. Add white beans
  5. Bring to a boil, skim some of the scum and fat off of the surface, and simmer for at least 2 hours uncovered
  6. Season if necessary with salt and Tabasco sauce
  7. A little splash of vinegar at the end may be needed to brighten up the flavors a bit, particularly if you are using very salty country ham

*This soup would also take kindly to some fresh, chopped, bitter greens being added a half hour before the soup is done – like turnip greens, kale, or collards. 

All things considered though, not much can compare to the rich, flavorful, gelatinous goodness of hambone soup.  Yee-haw!

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yummy! Thanks Matt. I tried to do a similar dish in my crockpot 2 years ago, but I used raw lentils. Doh! The salt in the ham/bone prevented them from cooking properly. I had to throw it all out. Canned beans next time!

    • Canned beans are so much friggin’ easier (SMFE) to digest – and deal with.

  2. I make it with split peas, but I’m gonna try the canned northern beans…sounds great. I already have a hambone in the freezer. I’ve got use it up before Xmas.

    • Knew I could count on ya Nipper!!

      • So I went against your advice and decided to use up some dried beans in my pantry as It was delish. I soaked the beans overnight, and then put them with the hambone in my Le Crueset with the mirepoix and cooked at 300 all day while I slow-cooked a rack of ribs. It was excellent. The boy ate them up like they were Bush’s Baked sugar beans or something. Had em with some ribs and RS3 potato salad for a kind of 180 f-ed up December BBQ.

      • Nice. Sounds yummy.

  3. Also, the Le Crueset with foil before putting the lid on really helped the beans cook completely. It’s almost like campfire cooking then since you get to drag out the Reynold’s Wrap and you have to just take a leap of faith and leave the beans alone in there and let them do their stuff.

  4. […] then sat down and googled, “hambone soup turnip greens”. After reading through this recipe for inspiration, I came up with my own hambone soup recipe. Hambone […]

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