Pork shanks are a delicious and inexpensive cut that, when treated right, can yield a memorable meal with little effort after a nice long time in a low oven. The pork shank has a good amount of flesh as well connective tissue that breaks down at low temperatures, yielding a tender piece of meat and a rich delicious braising liquid. Using a light beer gives the braising liquid good flavor without making the final product bitter.
Pork shanks can be tricky to find sometimes. Cut just above the hock, the shank will have a bit more meat and most commonly come without skin. Any proper butcher will either have them, or have no problem getting them for you.
- 4 pork shanks
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch of thyme
- 12 ounces beer
- 2 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 300°F. Season pork shanks with salt and pepper. Place braising dish over medium high heat and add vegetable oil. Once oil is shimmering, brown shanks on all sides, then remove from pan and reserve.
Add butter to pan; once melted, add onion and celery and cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add thyme to vegetables and place shanks on top. Pour over beer, then add chicken stock until shanks are almost covered. Bring to a simmer, then place lid on braising dish and place in the oven; cook until shanks are tender, about 2 hours depending on size of shanks.
Once shanks are tender, remove from braising liquid and cover with foil. Strain braising liquid through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on vegetables to squeeze out all the liquid. Place braising liquid in a clean saucepan and simmer until reduced by about a third, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over shanks before serving and pass alongside; garnish with sautéed leeks and parsnips.