Make Ahead

Lip Smackin' Neck Bone Gravy & Rice

December 15, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by inpatskitchen
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Makes 8
Author Notes

My brother's been living in Baton Rouge for the last four years or so, and when he comes up to visit, conversation always turns to food. When I first asked him about popular dishes other than the normal gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice that he sees there, he said that he's never seen so much gravy and rice in his life. Talk always centers around whose mama, aunt, cousin, or sister makes the best. Gravy and rice is filling and cheap, so here I put my spin on it with fresh and smoked pork neck bones and some toasted flour for thickening. —inpatskitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

This is one of those recipes you'll go to whenever you see that neck bones are on sale at the store and you want to take a shot at cooking an extremely flavorful dish that features them. Once you try them, you'll buy them again and again. And it couldn't be easier to make. After browning the neck bones, sauté some onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, cayenne, and black pepper in the same pot, then return the neck bones and smoked neck bones to the pot and cook until the meat is about falling off the bone. Take off the meat, thicken with a slurry, then add some finishing touches before your luxurious gravy is ready. You can make it days ahead of time, and the taste will only improve as it sits. It's so good, you may find yourself reaching for neck bones at the store more often than you'd think.

If you can't find smoked neck bones, the developer mentions that you can use a smoked ham hock or two instead. Also feel free to experiment with the spice and seasonings, but be sure not to forgo the sliced scallions, which help tie everything together at the end. Serve over some rice, and to make it a whole meal, have some collard greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread to go with the gravy alongside. Hearty and filling and fun to make, you may find yourself cooking neck bones even for special occasions, using a cut of meat that definitely won't break the bank. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh pork neck bones
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound smoked pork neck bones
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, plus more for garnish
  • 8 to 10 cups hot cooked white rice
  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the flour, stirring constantly, until a light tan color; set aside.
  2. Season the fresh neck bones with salt and pepper. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and brown the fresh neck bones on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
  3. In the same pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
  4. Return the browned neck bones along with the smoked bones to the pot. Pour in the water to cover (about 8 cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour, until the meat is ready to fall off the bones.
  5. Remove the bones from the pot. Once cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones with a knife or clean hands. Return the meat to the pot, being careful not to include any small bones.
  6. In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing a little bit of water with ½ cup of the reserved toasted flour. Add to the pot and bring to a boil. Check the thickness of your gravy; if it's too thin, you may want to make another slurry with some or all of the remaining flour.
  7. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and taste. Add salt as needed—it may take up to 1 tablespoon and will depend not only on your taste, but on how salty your smoked bones were. Stir in 1 cup of the scallions.
  8. Place about 1 cup of the cooked rice into each bowl, ladle some gravy over, and garnish with more scallions.
  9. Do Ahead: The gravy, without the scallions, can be made 1 week ahead. Let cool, cover, and chill. When ready to serve, bring to a boil.
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  • fiveandspice
  • hardlikearmour

Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!

22 Reviews

BbqSlow March 27, 2020
Hey there, I made this recipe. Well I made a HUGE amount of this recipe! Neck bones happened to be on sale so I figured since COVID-19 had been plaguing the Earth I'd turn that frown around by trying something new! Tha package was double what the recipe called for so I just doubled the recipe!

The store happened to have two packs of the smoked neck bones in the freezer so I took it as a sign.

The only changes I made were to use toasted coconut flour instead of ap because I'm gf. Also somehow forgot the celery at the store! Oops!

Took about 3 times as long as the recipe stated to get the meat to fall off the bones. Which I kind of expected having a lot of experience with this kind of cooking. Also using a LOT more cayenne than the recipe calls for. As well as OMG those fresh green onions just make it on top of BROWN rice!

Best thing is, since I made so much, this recipe gets better and better over time! Going on day three now just reheating as necessary!

Whoo Hoo!!! That's HOT!
inpatskitchen March 27, 2020
So happy you're enjoying this! Your changes sound great! Thanks so much and stay safe...
Sedare J. January 8, 2020
In preparation for my New Years Dinner I was looking for new recipe as I've always had neck bones simmered in a crockpot or boiled on the stove and once fried (very good, must try). Along with some collard greens and black eyed peas, this recipe was everything I needed and then some. I feel like I may be exploring more recipes and may even cook neck bones more than once a year!!
Thank you so much for sharing!
inpatskitchen January 9, 2020
Thank you! I'm so happy you enjoyed!
Sonya68 September 8, 2019
Just cooked this meal,it was Awesome! I look forward to following more recipes.
inpatskitchen September 9, 2019
Thanks so much Sonya!! So happy you enjoyed!
Moo December 10, 2018
I'd love to try this, but I've never seen "smoked" neck bones, just plain old pork neck bones. Is there a decent substitute?
inpatskitchen December 10, 2018
Hi Moo! You can use a smoked ham hock or two. Hope you enjoy!
Eugene T. December 3, 2018
This was the most amazing backbone recipe I've found on line. Eating it right now as breakfast!!!
inpatskitchen December 3, 2018
Thanks so much Eugene!! So happy you're enjoying!
Nancy April 25, 2018
My husband found this while searching for a new way to fix neckbones. I made it today and it is delicious!!!!! My husband is loving it!!! Thanks for sharing!
inpatskitchen April 25, 2018
Thank YOU Nancy...and welcome to Food52!
JJ P. April 18, 2018
Good! We try to stay grain free so I decided to experiment and toasted some potato flour (not potato starch) in a pan on it's own. Mixed that into the gravy and it worked well to thicken. Cooked it in an Instant Pot using 6 cups of liquid for 60 min. Removed the meat & bones and blended it with the potato flour slurry to make a smooth gravy before stirring the meat back in. My only thing is that this made a crap ton of gravy. I ended up pulling out about 3 cups of it and froze it for another use (not a bad thing) before mixing the meat back in. Next time I'd probably double the meat for the amount of gravy that was made.
inpatskitchen April 18, 2018
Thanks JJ! Glad you enjoyed!
[email protected] July 30, 2014
Hi Pat, made your gravy yesterday, crazy delicious! I smoked my own neck bones and changed the cook order a little but all the flavors were per recipe! You can see my cook here Thanks again for a great recipe! Don
inpatskitchen July 30, 2014
Thank YOU Don! Your blog is awesome! Started following you today and on Food52 also...lookking forward to some good cooking!
[email protected] July 29, 2014
Bought neckbones found your recipe, going to try this tomorrow. Like your site and cooking so I am following you now! Don
inpatskitchen July 29, 2014
Thanks for following me Don! Sure hope you like this recipe!
fiveandspice March 5, 2013
Oh, I love this so much! Looks awesome!
inpatskitchen March 5, 2013
hardlikearmour March 2, 2013
Love this! When I think "cheap feast" combined with super tasty my mind goes straight to cajun & creole cuisine.
inpatskitchen March 3, 2013
Oh Thanks HLA! I totally agree!!