By Christie Vanover | Published November 2, 2019 | Last Updated February 22, 2023
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Kansas Pork Association in conjunction with the National Pork Board. All opinions are my own.
There are so many different cuts of pork beyond chops, loin, bacon and ham. You can now find cuts like pork porterhouse and tomahawk steaks and one of my new faves pork shanks.
WHAT IS A PORK SHANK
The pork shank comes from the leg of the hog. It is usually sliced into medallions that are two to three inches tall with a bone in the center.
Shanks can also be referred to as osso buco, which translates to bone with a hole. Marrow is nestled in that hole, which melts into the broth as it cooks.
The meat surrounding the bone requires a longer cooking time to tenderize, because the hog uses these muscles every day to get around. A good rule of thumb when cooking meat is that the stronger the muscle is the longer it will take to cook.
HOW TO COOK PORK SHANK
The traditional method for cooking pork shanks is to braise them.
What is braising?
You start by searing seasoned shanks in a large pot, until all sides are slightly crispy. Then, you remove the meat and add your aromatics – like onions, garlic, carrots and celery.
Once those are tender, you add the meat back to the pot with broth and beer or wine along with herbs like bay leaf and rosemary. Then, cover and cook, until the meat is fork tender.
SMOKE INSTEAD OF SEAR
I always like to take the traditional methods of cooking and add a twist of smoke and fire, so instead of searing the pork shanks in the pot, I smoke them before braising them.
I season them all over with a nice rub, and then smoke them in a 275F grill over indirect heat for about 1 1/12 hours. The goal is to get a beautiful mahogany color.
Pork is so versatile, you can really pair it with any flavor. For this pork shank recipe, I decided to go with a green chile verde style broth, so the rub I used included Hatch chile seasoning and a little cayenne.
Once the shanks reached that great color, I sautéed onions, garlic and jalapeños in a large pot and stirred in green chiles and green enchilada sauce.
Then, the pork shanks are added back to the pot for the braise. At this point, you could finish the dish in the oven, since you’re not getting anymore smoke into the meat, but if the coals are still going, you can also finish the dish off on the smoker.
It will take another 2 hours for the meat to fall off the bone.
SIDE DISHES FOR PORK SHANK
The pork shank medallions look gorgeous resting atop a plate of smashed black beans. Mix one can of refried black beans with one can of whole black beans to get a nice texture. Heat them in a pot with a pinch of salt. It’s that easy.
If you braise your pork shanks with a tomato-style broth, consider serving them over polenta.
If you go with more of a Kansas City barbecue style flavor, they’re great on a bed of mashed potatoes.
Finish with a garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley and a squeeze of citrus like lime or lemon.
Smoked and Braised Pork Shanks with Green Chile Sauce
- 3 lb pork shanks
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp Hatch chile seasoning
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp granulated onion
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup white onion diced
- 1 jalapeno diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 oz canned diced green chiles
- 20 ozs green enchilada sauce
Smashed Black Beans
- 1 can whole black beans
- 1 can refried black beans
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Combine the spices. Reserve one tablespoon for later. Rub remaining seasoning onto shanks. Let rest at room temperature while you heat the grill.
- Heat the grill to 275F degrees with indirect heat. Smoke the shanks for 1 1/2 hours to an internal temperature of 200F.
- In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion, jalapeno and garlic, and sauté, until tender.
- Add the canned green chiles, enchilada sauce and reserved tablespoon of rub. Stir to combine.
- Add the smoked pork shanks to the pot. Spoon some of the sauce on the top.
- Cover and continue cooking in a 275-degree smoker or in the oven for 2 hours, until the pork is fork tender.
Smashed Black Beans
- In a small pot, combine the two types of black beans and salt. Heat over medium low heat, smashing as you stir.
- Spoon black beans onto a plate. Top with a braised pork shank. Spoon on some of the green chile sauce.
- Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Serve with tortillas.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator
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