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Monday, September 15, 2014

Pork Shanks from Sunny Cedars Farm

I sent my hubby over to our farmer friend, Russell at Sunny Cedar's Farm to pick up the shanks that he had for me! For those that are not familiar with shanks, I'll fill you in...

The pork shank is a cut of meat taken from the lower portion of a ham. Traditionally, the word “ham” is reserved for a pig’s back thighs. The leg region usually comes in three sections, the shank, the hock and the foot. 
Ham is usually a tender, juicy piece of meat, but this isn't always true where the shank is concerned. This cut usually contains a lot of muscle and connective tissue, which can make it somewhat tough when cooked improperly. However, the shanks are less expensive and if cooked right, they can be just as flavorful and juicy as a ham. Slow roasting, braising in a crockpot and simmering are some of the ways to cook this type of meat. As far as pork products go, the shank portion tends to be relatively inexpensive and can be an economical option for many cooks.

Braising is one of the most popular cooking methods. Cooks start out by searing the outside of the meat, usually in a skillet, then putting it in a deep, covered pot with some amount of liquid. Water will work, but stock, broth, or wine can make the dish more interesting. The whole thing is then slow cooked on the stovetop for several hours. A counter top slow cooker appliance, or crockpot, can also be used for this method. This is the way I chose to cook mine...

I put the two shanks in the crockpot very late on Friday night. I poured what was left of a bottle of Palmetto Red Wine over them and added garlic cloves, salt and pepper. I turned it on high and let it cook all night! Do you think they are done? LOL

To finish them off, I made a bbq sauce to top the meat...
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp butter
1 cup ketsup
1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Texas Pete hot sauce
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce

Saute onion and garlic in butter in a large pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes. Spoon the sauce heavily over the pork shanks. Place the pork in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and sets, and the shanks are warmed through. (Be careful not to let the sauce burn!)

If you want to get some shanks to try for the first time, or cook with that favorite family recipe, contact my friend Russell at Sunny Cedars Farm!

My plate!

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