How To Cook Pork Shank

How To Cook Pork Shank

Pork shank is a flavorful cut of meat that is commonly used in many cuisines around the world. It is a tough cut of meat that takes some time and patience to cook correctly. In this article, we will be discussing how to cook pork shank and have it come out tender, juicy, and delicious.

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  1. Choosing the Right Pork Shank
    1. Fresh Pork Shank
    2. Cured Pork Shank
  2. Preparation
  3. Cooking Methods
    1. Braising
    2. Smoking
  4. Cooking Time and Temperature
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Conclusion

Choosing the Right Pork Shank

There are various types of pork shank available in the market, including fresh and cured. When choosing pork shank, look for ones with a good amount of meat on them and a thin layer of fat on the outside. This layer of fat helps keep the pork moist while cooking.

Fresh Pork Shank

Fresh pork shank is an unsmoked and uncured pork leg that is perfect for slow cooking. If you're using fresh pork shank, select meat that is pinkish-red and has a good marbling of fat.

Cured Pork Shank

Cured pork shank, also known as ham hock, is a smoked or cured pork leg that is typically used in soups and stews. It has a lot of flavor, but it can be quite salty, so it's essential to soak it in water for several hours before cooking.


Before cooking, it is essential to prepare the pork shank correctly. Start by trimming any excess fat from the meat. Then, using a sharp knife, score the pork shank's skin in a crosshatch pattern. This will allow the skin to render down during cooking, resulting in delicious crispy crackling.

Pro tip: Pork shank can be quite tough, so consider marinating it overnight to help tenderize the meat.

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Cooking Methods


Braising is one of the most popular methods of cooking pork shank. Braising involves cooking the meat in liquid over low heat for an extended period. This method is perfect for tougher cuts of meat like pork shank.

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Pro tip: Use aromatic vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions in the braising liquid to add flavor to the meat.


Smoking is another popular way to cook pork shank. Smoking involves cooking the meat over indirect heat with wood chips. This method imparts a smoky flavor into the meat and gives it a beautiful color.

Pro tip: Keep the temperature around 225 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the pork cooks at a steady pace.

Cooking Time and Temperature

The cooking time for pork shank depends on the cooking method you choose. Braising can take between 3-4 hours, while smoking can take between 4-6 hours. It's essential to cook the pork shank until the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure it's safe to eat.

Serving Suggestions

Once you have cooked your pork shank, there are numerous ways to serve it. You can serve it with roasted vegetables, potatoes, or rice. Alternatively, you can shred the meat and use it in tacos, sandwiches, or soups.

Pro tip: Pour the remaining cooking liquid through a strainer and use it as a base for sauces or gravies.


Cooking pork shank may seem like a daunting task, but with these tips, you can cook a delicious, tender, and juicy pork shank every time. Remember to choose the right cut of meat, prepare it correctly, and cook it at the right temperature and time. Happy cooking!

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