Pork Osso Buco...finding the shanks
I had Pork Osso Buco in a rest. on Long Island not too long ago and it was some of the best meat I've ever eaten. I've been wanting to make it ever since but I'm having trouble finding the pork shanks. I don't mind ordering them from someone reputable online but I don't want to pay an arm and a leg for them either. Of course, I will have to pay shipping and all of that which I don't mind but the only one's that I've seen were $33/lbs. Anyone know of a company that I can order just plain old shanks from without breaking the bank. If you know of any other cuts of meat that I could substitute I'd consider that as well.
Thanks in advance.
Do you have any Latino or Asian markets near you? They generally use all the parts of a whole pig, and can get the shanks for you. Often they have parts frozen. Here in central Calif., I can get head, ears, feet, shanks, etc.
This brings to mind one of my favorite food images. I was driving down the freeway locally, in the fast lane, coming up on a small pickup in the slow lane. I could see an object in the open bed of the truck. Big and pink. What the....as I got closer, yes! it was a fresh pig's head, ears a-flappin,' cut in half, along with legs and various other body parts stuffed into an open plastic crate. I had to slow down as I passed. What a picture it would've made!
Good luck finding your shanks.
Here's a nice description of the common pork cuts (USA style)
Two cuts might fit your needs:
Pork Shoulder Arm Steak
This meat shouldn't cost you more than $2/lb. Right now I am simmering a 2" thick slice of 'pork shoulder, bone-in', which is one of the cheapest cuts of meat in a large Asian grocery (for use in pozole).
If you are picky about the cut (e.g. want a 1-2" length of marrow bone in the middle), you may have to visit a butcher who will custom cut a shoulder or ham (rear leg) for you.
While pork hocks and the shank end of hams and picnic hams are easy to find, I don't recall ever seeing cross-cut pieces of the lower end, at least not in the 1" thickness range. That is until, today, when I stopped by a small Mexican meat market, a carniceria (this is in suburban Seattle). They had a whole tray of these, about a inch thick, 3" around, with skin still on. They also had beef shanks in a similar cut.
I'm not familiar. What is fairway?
Paul...that's my frustration. I know it is one of the cheapest cuts of meat and I just can't force myself to pay obscene prices just because it comes from some heirloom pig. I just want some pork! Unfortunately, I live in a small town and don't have access to a real deal butcher. Grocery stores sell hams which include the shank but they're not to happy about cutting one up for me. Any other online ideas are appreciated.
I can imagine your frustration! I live next to Montreal and pork shank goes on sale for 79c/lb, with normal prices between $1-$2/lb.
I agree with the asian or even italian market suggestions, but alas, they seem out of reach for you.
I'm guessing that mailorder will only highlight 'heirloom' pork (I like the term, by the way...) and costs will be pretty high.
Maybe speak to the butcher at the grocery store, tell him what you want and maybe he can snag a couple of whole legs for you (should be quite cheap, like $20-$30 each). Then have him cut them to your specs - you'll get hocks, several shank cuts, a few roasts, and perhaps some pork 'steaks' all of which you can freeze and use later.
Let us know whatever works out!
Keep it simple and cheap. See this pic of Pork Shoulder Arm Picnic Roast, the cheapest hunk of the pig:
The skin covered portion at 12 o'clock is your shank. Go to a grocery store/Super Walmart and ask the meatcutter to saw it into 1.5" crosscuts. Study the bone arrangements so as to modify your cutting requests the next time. Roast the non-osso-bucco portions for pulled pork, etc.