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Shanks a Lot!

Shanks a Lot!
December 2010
Pork enthusiast Jason Houser calls attention to a lesser-known cut

The recent pork renaissance has inspired countless recipes utilizing the delicious, versatile pig, including bacon, sausages, and tenderloins, to name a few. But if you ask Jason Houser, owner of artisan butcher shop Meathouse, there’s one tasty cut that has gone unsung: shank. “You won’t find it packaged in the grocery store, which is most people’s meat comfort zone,” says Houser. “But it’s an inexpensive cut worth seeking out for its rich flavor.”

And this James Beard Award-nominated chef—who honed his skills in the kitchens of Charleston Grill and Muse—knows his pork. He and wife Katie debuted Meathouse at the Charleston Farmers Market last spring and have had patrons lining up ever since for the artisanal products he fabricates from Tamworth and Berkshire pigs from Bethel Trails Farm in Gray Court, South Carolina.

As for how to cook pork shank? “It’s a dense cut, so braising does a good job of keeping the meat juicy and tender,” says Houser. And it just so happens that his hearty recipe can be enjoyed immediately or refrigerated for up to three days. “I like the way the flavors develop when given time to meld,” he notes. And during the busy holiday season, a warm and yummy dish that’s also convenient is a true gift.

—Tommy Werner