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Jan 19, 2008 02:19 PM

long fresh pork shanks...what to do?

I ordered a couple of pig's feet from a nearby farm which has excellent organic, heritage breed pork, but got much more than I bargained for when I picked up my order at the farmer's market: Two feet, still attached to very long sections of shank. Each one is comparable in length and girth to my own forearm, from my elbow to my fingertips.

I'm using one of the feet this weekend for stew--lacking a hacksaw, it was surprisingly difficult to remove the foot!

Any ideas for what to do with the two remaining shanks? It's great pork (and cheap--$10), just a little awkwardly shaped--they are too long to fit into any pot I own. My first thought is to braise them in a covered roasting pan, and then somehow crisp them up at the end.

Or just treat them like a thinner, bonier version of a Cuban/Puerto Rican roast pork shoulder, rubbing with garlic etc. and roasting until falling apart and crispy.

I'd be grateful to hear other suggestions, or especially some traditional recipes (if any exist) that address this odd cut. Maybe I'd even go to the hardware store and get a saw if it seems worthwhile.


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  1. Braised pork shank is THE signature dish at a favorite Mexican restaurant in Long Beach, CA. I don't have a recipe for that exactly, but anyone who knows how to braise pork (which is roughly as difficult as boiling eggs, it just takes longer!) oughta be able to figure it out. And yes, I would go get a hacksaw - good thing to have anyway.

    What I mostly am is envious, since I've been trying to find a retail source for exactly those things. I have an Italian veal shank recipe that I'm dying to try, but we don't do veal in our house, and a pork shank I figure would be a more than adequate substitute. That is a classic recipe, so you should be able to find it - I just don't have it keyboarded yet or I'd post it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      the words "Mexican", "braised" and "pork" are enough to get me excited--can you describe it a little?

      1. re: F Schubert

        Sorry to take my time here - hope F Schubert hasn't been staring at the screen since January! Anyway, Enrique's pork shank is basically just seasoned simply, browned nicely and then braised very slowly, I'm sure in a covered pot with not too much liquid. As for the Italian recipe, I *STILL* haven't copied it into a file! If I ever find that pork shank, I probably will...

    2. I bought 2 pigs feet from Marin Sun Farms at the San Francisco Ferry Market. I have had pigs feet at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, stuffed with fois gras and covered in a gravy of onions and mushrooms. I think he roasted his in a pizza oven for hours with low heat, but I am not sure that he didn't cook them in liquid first. I emailed him and asked for the recipe, but meanwhile, I am just going for it! After reading lots of recipes on line, I first put them in cold water, let them cook one hour, poured off the water, recovered them with water and added aromatics (carrots, onions, garlic, sage, rosemary and peppercorns). I am going to cook them at least another hour or longer. My idea is to then roast them, on my wood grill outside, over indirect heat, crisping them. We shall see! I will let you know if it works. What did you end up doing? Mine are not as long as yours, and it sure is disturbing to have that little foot staring at me, but if I am going to eat meat, I have to face up to it, like the time I bought a rabbit in Florence, got it back to our house and found out that I had to cut the head off!!

      1. You could make a very German meal of Eisbein with your shanks..

        1. there's a nice vietnamese dish of pork shanks braised in coconut water (not milk) and star anise. I made it a long time ago. the recipe was on the food network site (a vietnamese guest chef--corinne trang). it was very tasty. pork shanks are delicious.

          I would also think you could red cook them in the chinese style.

          neither would give you crispy skin, though you could try to crisp them up after.

          1. Even though you didn't buy them from a store or butcher shop - If you take them to a butcher and ask nicely they will cut them up for you on the band saw. Throw them a couple bucks as a tip or better yet - buy something from them.