Easy Braised Pork Shanks
Alright, so what the heck are braised pork shanks? I don’t know what a shank is at all… I needed to (and did) fix that. Shanks are cuts of pork from the front-leg-area. That didn’t sound too appealing to me because I instantly pictured very chewy meat. I’m not entirely wrong, if you don’t cook them correctly, they can be pretty tough!
But in learning how to make braised pork shanks, you and I will learn how to prevent the chewiness from happening! We’ll learn how to make the shanks so tender they pull right off the bone. (I hate eating meat with bone, so if it’s tender enough to pull right off that bone, I’m happy!)
What Would I Need to Make Braised Pork Shanks?
For the best results, you need to be prepared to allow 3 or more hours for braising. You can do it a little quicker, but the texture of the meat will not be as pleasurable and the product will not be an authentic braised pork shank. Also, you will probably have more meat than you automatically know what to do with, so invite guests for dinner or prepare for leftovers! (I’m not sure if you can buy just 1 shank, most recipes I came across called for 3-6 shanks).
Most importantly, you need:
- A Dutch oven or large (and heavy) baking dish.
- Adobo seasoning.
- Grapeseed oil.
- Diced onion.
- Chopped carrots.
- Cloves of garlic.
- Sherry wine (goes well with grapeseed oil)
- Chicken or vegetable broth.
Take out the seasoning, veggies, and wine if you’d like, but they’ll add wonderful flavor to the braised pork shanks. If you take out the sherry, you may want to replace it with some type of cooking vinegar to help with meat tenderization.
For the best flavor and tenderness you could possibly get with your shanks, let them soak in a marinade overnight.
How to Prepare Braised Pork Shanks
If you’re cooking in an oven, set it to about 350 or 450° to sear your shanks. You’ll lower the heat afterward and slow “roast” your shanks.
Mix together your salt and adobo seasoning.
Coat the shanks in flour, lightly and evenly.
Pour the grapeseed oil in your Dutch oven or pot and turn the heat on to high.
When the oil is hot, sear the shanks until they turn slightly brown. This shouldn’t take more than roughly 10 minutes.
Take out the seared shanks and safely set them to the side.
Cook your optional spices and veggies in the dish at this time.
Stir your veggies frequently until they’re not so crunchy. (Or just as crunchy as you’d like them).
Add the sherry or vinegar and allow it to cook until the amount reduces.
Add the broth or stock of your choice.
Bring the veggies and broth to a boil, reintroducing the meat towards the end.
Oven’s heat should be lowered.
Cover the braised pork shanks and cook them in the oven now, over the course of 2 or so hours.
You should check and turn your meat occasionally, to ensure even cooking. The pork will try to slide right off the bone when it’s ready (if everything was done the right way).