I gotta tell ya...
I do most of these, and they are all excellent advice.
The only thing I can add is...
Use that for some of your liquid, along with cream to make it rich and creamy. Just trust me.
Just make it with ham hocks like any other broth.
Last Saturday we used a crumbled fatty for the sausage, and made gravy from bacon drippings with some onions browned in the fat and added flour to make a roux, then added in ham broth, cream, cracked black pepper and the crumbled fatty and let it thicken up.