There is nothing to compare with ham and bean soup made a ham hock. This flavor can be imitated without a ham hock using ham bouillon and a 5-oz. can of chunk ham with amazing results. You can also Real bacon pieces to bean soups made with ham bouillon.
Ham bouillon is less commonly found. Order Custom Culinary Chef's Granular Ham Base in a jar online at www.gygi.com. Goya Ham Flavored Concentrate (granules), sold in a small box of packets, can be found in the Hispanic food section at Walmart or at some Mexican or Asian grocery stores.
Granules are preferable to store because they require no refrigeration after opening. They have a shelf life of around 5- 8 years when stored in a cool, dark place and will last up to 3 years on the shelf after opening.