1 rating

Crackling Pork Shank with Firecracker Applesauce



Ready in
3 h, plus 2 days curing
Calories Per Serving


For the Firecracker Applesauce

  • 6 Cups unpeeled, chopped Granny Smith apples
  • 1 Cup chopped, seedless serrano chiles
  • 1/4 Cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • One 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 Cups finely diced, unpeeled Granny Smith apples

For the Crackling Pork Shank

  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Cup minced shallots
  • 1/4 Cup minced thyme
  • 4 Teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon crushed bay leaves
  • 1/2 Cup coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • Six 3-pound pork shanks
  • 2 gallons melted lard, melted duck fat, or canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, julienned
  • 2 heads medium green cabbage, cored and julienned
  • 1 Teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 4 Cups beef stock


For the Firecracker Applesauce

Combine the chopped apples, chiles, vinegar, salt, clove, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick in a large, heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, or until the apples are falling apart and the mixture has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the finely diced apples and pour into a nonreactive container.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

For the Crackling Pork Shank

Combine the parsley, shallots, thyme, garlic, and bay leaves. When well blended, stir in the salt. Generously coat each pork shank with the herb mixture. Place the pork shanks in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides. Cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours.  

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Place the cured pork shanks in a deep stock pot to large enough to hold them in a single layer. Cover with the melted lard, making sure that you have at least a 2 ½-inch clearance from the top of the pot to ensure that the fat does not overflow while cooking. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Test the fat with an instant-read thermometer; it should be about 225 degrees to maintain a quiet simmer. Place the pot in a preheated oven and cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is beginning to pull away from the bone.  

Meanwhile, braise the cabbage. Heat the olive oil to medium-high heat in a large skillet and add the onion. Season with salt and saute until transluscent, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, stir well, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with the cracked black pepper and add the beef stock. Bring the stock to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt. 

Remove the pot from the oven and, using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the shanks from the oil. Place the pot over high heat and bring the fat to 350 degrees. Wearing an oven mitt and standing as far away from the stove as you comfortably can (the shanks may splatter hot fat when lowered back into the pot), carefully return the shanks to the fat and deep-fry for about 5 minutes, or until the outside is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lift the shanks to a triple layer of paper towels to drain.

Serve the pork shanks on a bed of braised cabbage with the applesauce on the side.