Beer Braised Pork Shanks
Craft Beering chef bio | Yield: Serves 4-6
Braise pork shanks with onions and dark, malty beer for a deeply satisfying dish that celebrates the rich flavor of this lesser-known cut. Milena Perrine, from the blog Craft Beering, encourages you to enjoy the fall-off-the-bone tender meat smothered with the gravy-like sauce made from the braising liquid.
- 4-6 heritage pork shanks
- kosher salt and freshly ground, enough to liberally season the shanks
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 3 onions, roughly chopped
- 2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 12 oz dark beer (such brown ale, amber lager, porter, stout)
- 1 cup beef stock
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 5 sprigs fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 bay leaves
- Heat oven to 300 degrees F and bring the shanks to room temperature.
- Pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper. Place a braiser or a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sear the shanks until nicely browned, working in batches. Set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium, add the rest of the oil and cook the onions, celery, and garlic until semi-soft.
- Deglaze the bottom of the braiser or Dutch oven with the beer, then add it all, followed by the beef stock. Add the thyme, oregano, and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
- Return the shanks to the braiser, cover, and transfer to the oven. About 15-20 minutes into cook time, check the braising liquid to make sure it is simmering. If it is boiling, reduce the temperature of the oven by about 15 degrees. Cook for 2½ hours, until the pork is tender and can easily be separated from the bone using just a fork.
- Once the pork shanks are fork-tender, transfer them to a roasting rack, bones sticking up, and place them in the oven (still at 300 degrees F) for a nice crispy outside to form, about 10 minutes. After that, just keep them warm.
- In the meantime, skim as much of the fat floating on top of the braising liquid as you can and discard it. Strain the remaining liquid through a sieve. Discard the vegetables and aromatics and return the juices to the braiser. Either simmer to thicken the sauce or slurry it to speed things up (once simmering add 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water).
- Serve the shanks with the thickened sauce and a fresh herb garnish of thyme or oregano.