Over the Top Smoked & Braised Pork Shanks
When deciding what part of the pig to cook, what is your first choice? The shoulder, the ham, maybe the ribs? Well, you just may want to add the pork shank to your recipe book. The shank is from the front forearm of the pig and is normally considered to be a tough cut of meat. It is commonly prepared as a braised meat because the long, wet cooking method breaks down the meat and turns it into a heavenly tender bite.
Well, being a lover of smoked meats, we decide to experiment and try something a bit different, an OTT (Over the top) smoked then braised method of cooking. The first part allows the shanks to take in all of that wonderful smoky flavor from the charcoal and the wood while the braising part breaks down the meat into an incredibly succulent, tender, and tasty meal. This is a meal that has become a very requested one in our house and I think you’ll find that it will in yours too. Feel free to add your own touches as well, vary the vegetables, maybe substitute beer for the wine etc. There are no ends to the combinations that you can come up with.
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- Light your FOGO and set your grill up for indirect cooking at 300°
- Cover the mushrooms with boiling water to rehydrate and let them soak for 45 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid, chop and set aside. Strain the liquid and set aside for later.
- Season each shank with salt and pepper.
- Place all the vegetables and bacon into a cast iron Dutch oven and place over the indirect heat and give a light drizzle of olive oil. Place a cooking grate over the top of the pot and place the shanks on the grate. Allow the shanks to smoke over the vegetables for one hour. This will allow the juices that cook out of the meat to drip on and flavor the vegetables underneath.
- Remove the grate and dig the shanks down into the vegetables. Add the reserved mushroom liquid, chicken stock and white wine. Add the rosemary and sage at this time as well.
- Place the lid on the pot and cook for 2 hours more. At this time, you can flip the shanks if you choose. (it’s a good idea) They will more than likely need more time. Continue cooking until the are falling apart tender.
- When the shanks are tender, remove and serve over risotto, mashed potatoes, egg noodles or whatever you may like. Spoon the liquid and the vegetables over the shank.
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