Pork shank is a truly "multifunctional" and, importantly, an inexpensive product that is loved and cooked with pleasure in most European countries. It is boiled, smoked, stewed, baked in the oven or on the grill. If you choose and cook the shank correctly, then the output is guaranteed to turn out to be an amazingly tasty, tender and mouth-watering dish.
Where is the pig's knuckle
The shank is the piece of pork carcass that is located between the thigh or shoulder blade and the knee joint. There are two types: front and back. The chosen type directly depends on whether the conceived dish will succeed, since they differ in the quality and structure of the meat.
The front shank is tastier, it has fewer tendons, the fat layer is thinner, and it secretes more juice during cooking. Ideal for preparing all kinds of second courses.
When buying pork, you need to clearly know the location of each part of the carcass, what grade it belongs to and what it is used for.
The meat is divided into varieties according to the following principle:
- first grade - the most nutritious, tasty and tender meat - carbonate, hind leg, loin, neck;
- second grade - front leg sternum;
- third grade - peritoneum;
- fourth grade - legs (including knuckle) and head; these parts of pig carcasses can be boiled, smoked and baked, they make a wonderful jellied meat.
The taste of any dish is determined by the quality of the raw materials. Therefore, before preparing a pork knuckle, you need to know how to choose it.
There are some general rules:
- impeccable appearance: the skin of the shank is light, without bruising, dark spots, visible damage;
- elasticity: when buying pork, you need to press on it with your finger, fresh meat will quickly return to its original shape; if the dent is filled with a reddish liquid, then most likely this product has been defrosted several times;
- freshness: good meat has a pinkish color, it is slightly moist, in no way sticky; the fat is white, dense, does not stick to the hands, does not smear;
- smell: the knuckle should not emit any foreign, and even more so unpleasant, pungent smell;
- cut: a dense, brownish crust forms on a well-lying piece, and the surface of the pork is dry and windy even at first glance.
Fresh pork is always tastier than frozen pork, but sometimes you have to use it too. The frozen shank must thaw slowly or it will dry out. The juice released during defrosting can be used for the sauce. After the meat has thawed, it should be used. Putting it back in the refrigerator is not recommended.
What can be cooked from pork shank (without recipes)
Pork shank dishes are not only the well-known icebein or boar's hoof. In fact, there are a great many variations on its theme.
A pig's shank is the upper, most meaty part of the leg, everything below the knee joint is legs that are suitable only for jellied meat.
So, what else can you cook on the basis of this part of the pork carcass: broths for the first courses, rolls with various fillings, classic jellied meat, fake ham, which is not inferior to the real one in taste; a stew that melts in your mouth.
The shank stuffed with garlic and baked in the oven or boiled with spices is very tasty.Pork prepared in this way can be served hot as a separate meal or cold as an appetizer.
In nature, it will successfully replace or supplement a kebab if you bake it on the grill. Before that, the meat must be boiled. A marinade made from a mixture of soy sauce, cherry juice and finely chopped chili will give it a special piquancy. Any vegetables, sauerkraut are suitable as a side dish. All that remains is to come up with some interesting sauces and take care of the dishes with a lid so that the knuckle “straight from the fire” does not cool too quickly.
A little about spices. Classic mixtures are considered, which include marjoram and juniper, nutmeg and dried garlic, rosemary, red pepper.
A few culinary tricks:
- when baking, you need to make deep cuts on the shank skin, then it will turn out delicious and ruddy; in the container where it will be prepared, in addition to a small amount of water, pour 1-2 tbsp. l. cognac;
- the stewed shank will acquire special juiciness if you add a little pomegranate juice or vinegar to the dishes where it is cooked;
- before smoking or baking, the shank must be boiled, having previously rubbed with marjoram and rosemary and wrapped in cling film; it will become surprisingly fragrant and tender;
- tough meat will become more tender if you rub it with dry mustard overnight and leave; rinse thoroughly under running cold water before cooking;
- pork requires careful cooking; you can check the readiness of the meat by piercing it with a knife, if light juice starts to flow out, the pork is ready.
Pork shank is a real find for the hostess, because it is a product that can be prepared in many ways. In addition, pork benefits from being one of the most important protein suppliers in the diet. In addition, it contains potassium, calcium, sodium, vitamins B1, B2, E, PP, phosphorus, magnesium, iron. A properly cooked shank is not only delicious, but also beneficial to the body.