Finding your favorite cut of meat on a wild hog can sometimes be a challenge. Most parts have a decent amount of fat which make them excellent for smoking, braising or grinding for sausage.
To me, it's hard to beat a fork tender crispy shank. When they are slow cooked all of that connective tissue melts and gives the meat a texture of the best pulled pork you've ever had. Crisping them after they come out of a braise elevates the eating experience to new heights. Crunchy, crispy, moist and a little sticky wild pork goodness is what you're left with.
Here I paired the shanks with a light hominy salad that's marinated in a bright and flavorful vinaigrette. You can find canned hominy in most grocery stores in the international isles or in your local Mexican grocery. If you want to add a little sweetness to this dish, I like to serve mine with caramelized ripe plantains that I cook in a non-stick pan with a little butter over medium heat.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
Cooks Notes: For extra flavor in the vinaigrette, grill or pan roast the lime slices until slightly blackened and soft.
For the shanks
4 wild pig shanks
ground black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
pork or chicken stock, enough to cover the meat
For the hominy salad
2 cups canned Mexican hominy, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup red onion, small dice
salt and pepper to taste
For the vinaigrette
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 garlic cloves
1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, minced
salt and pepper to taste
STEP 1: Start on the shanks.
Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees F.
Season the shanks with salt and pepper.
Heat a pan over medium high heat and add the oil. Once the oil starts to smoke add the shanks and brown on all sides. Remove the pork from the pot and place into a deep baking dish. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour enough stock to cover the pork 3/4 of the way. Cover the pan and braise for 2-2.5 hours or until fork tender. While your pork is cooking in the oven, lets move on to the hominy salad.
STEP 2: Make the hominy salad & vinaigrette.
Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Add the peas and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. To a large non-reactive bowl add the remaining salad ingredients.
In a separate bowl add the ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk to combine. season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Cover and let marinate at room temperature while the pork cooks. If you have time, toss the salad a few times while to pork cooks for better flavor.
STEP 3: Crisp the pork and plate up.
Set your oven to broil.
Place the shanks on a baking sheet pan. Brush the shanks with a high smoke-point cooking oil. Season with salt and pepper on all sides.
Place the pan in the middle oven the oven and broil the shanks on all sides until golden brown and crispy. This will take around 2-3 minutes per side depending on your oven.
Plate up your shanks along side of the hominy salad. Spoon some of the vinaigrette from the salad bowl over top of the shanks. Garnish with fresh cilantro and some crumbled queso fresco if you have it.