I've picked quite a few black-eyed peas lately (technically, I've had Mississippi purple-hulls, but they are both just different varieties of the same plant). Anyway, the best way to eat any of the "southern" pea varieties is boiled, with a smoked pork product. Accordingly, I picked up some ham hocks to go with my peas.
Ham hocks are the portion of the leg below the ham (or shoulder) that is to narrow and bony to be much good by itself. They are usually smoked and used to flavor soup. Here is a photo of three hocks sitting on the foam tray from the store:
The hocks are all more or less the size of my fist. They have been lightly salted and cured like ham, then smoked. There are a couple of tablespoons of meat on each one, along with a bit of fat for flavor. This is a very simple recipe: a couple of pounds of peas, a couple or three ham hocks, enough water to cover. Boil until the peas are tender--about 20 minutes for fresh peas, or an hour for dried peas.
This is what my peas looked like while I cooked them:
Here's Jasper (remember Jasper?) with his hocks marked out.