Pork comes in all shapes and sizes. Chops, loins, butts and bellies seem to get the most love in the kitchen, but did you know that the shank can be a dandy piece of meat, too? It’s an excellent, but often-overlooked choice: When properly cooked, it’s full of flavor and super-easy to make.
So what exactly is a pork shank? It’s a cut of meat from the lower leg of a pig. It tends to be leaner because it doesn’t have much fat. As a result, if you cook it the wrong way, you’ll never tear that meat off the bone. Lucky for you, Lucky’s braising recipe will have you going “hog wild” for the pork shank!
Pork Shank braised in red-eye gravy on slow-cooked pinto beans, topped with green tomato chowchow
Red-Eye Braised Pork Shank (Serves 4*)
4 each pork shank
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2/3 cup all purpose flour
4 fluid ounces canola oil
1 1/3 cup yellow onion – diced
1/2 pound carrots – sliced
4 stalks celery
3 each bay leaves
2 2/3 cup ham stock
2 cups double strength coffee
Prep veggies, meat, stock and spices. Dredge pork shank in flour. Shake off excess flour, but reserve. Heat oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pot. Sear and brown shank on all sides over medium heat
When fully browned, remove shank from pot and let rest. Add reserved flour to pot and stir well to make brown roux. When brown color is achieved, add onions, celery and carrots to roux.
Add salt, pepper, bay leaves and ham stock, continuing to stir. Stir in coffee. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer. You have now made our modernized version of red-eye gravy.
Return pork shank to a pot and pour the red-eye gravy and vegetables over it. Partially cover the pot while simmering until meat is tender, about 2 hours.
*All our recipes were originally designed for much larger batch sizes. These recipes have been reduced – but not tested at this scale. Please adjust as to your taste and portion size.
As I look out of the window on this overcast day, I can’t help but think about the fact that summer is fading and all of the lovely produce that we have been enjoying recently will not reappear for months. However, I rejoice at what is to come – although autumn’s bounty is less celebrated than summer’s, it is no less delectable.
In the same spirit, I would like to share with you that I have accepted a position with a restaurant in Charlotte, so I will be handing over the reins of culinary operations at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Greensboro to our general manager Felicia McMillan and her more-than-capable team. Felicia is not new to this, she has been with this outfit for 12+ years, including five as Chef de Cuisine. I have no doubts that she and her colleagues will carry the southern culinary baton like championship relay runners. In Cary, long timers Russell Shinn and Shane Garrity will continue to provide you with earnest hospitality and make sure the collard greens are as good as ever.
It would be dishonest to imply that I have been any more than a gear in the great machine of Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen. It takes right many noble souls to provide the highest quality hospitality at a great value that our guests have come to expect from us. That team, led by Dennis Quaintance and many others, is committed to guaranteeing that the flavors continue to make your eyes roll back in your head and the gracious hospitality of our service team does not skip a beat.
I will miss all of the wonderful people that I have had the honor of serving in the Greensboro and Cary communities over the last eight years. I can only move on from this delicious endeavor to the next stage of my career because I feel safe in the knowledge that all of our wonderful advocates will be cared for with the same or even greater care than they have been in the past.
I look forward to dining in our restaurants in the future as a guest … and enjoying some of that delicious skillet-fried chicken while sitting down.
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