Braised pork shanks with gravy is a fall-off-the-bone-tender meal infused with rich flavor from a long braise. The braising liquid is then turned into a delicious gravy for all your drizzling delight (let’s not forget the mashed potatoes)!
Best of all, this pork shanks recipe is so easy (for real, the oven does all the work!) and results in succulent, meaty goodness that will impress every time.
Why you’ll love it!
Our braised pork shanks are:
- Incredibly tender pork that falls right off the bone
- Slow-cooked with vegetables, wine and broth for a flavor-packed meal
- Simple to make
- A wholesome, family-style dinner that fits any occasion
What is the pork shank?
And are pork shanks good? A pork shank is the front forearm of the pig, and is usually a more lean and tough cut of meat. But don’t shy away from them- pork shanks are great for braising and end up incredibly flavorful and tender! Plus, they’re really affordable, too. A win all around!
If you’ve ever tried our Braised Greek Lamb Shanks or our Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs, you know that braising does wonders for a tough cut of meat. During the slow cook, the meat tenderizes and the bones braise in that cooking liquid to release even more flavor.
What You Will Need:
This braised pork shanks recipe calls for lots of fresh aromatics and herbs and the basic ingredients for gravy. We turn the braising liquid into gravy so nothing goes to waste!
Here’s the ingredient list for the braise pork shanks:
- Pork shanks, about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds each
- Olive oil, divided
- Medium fennel (bulbs only), chopped (reserve the fronds)
- Onion, chopped
- Carrots, peeled and chopped
- Garlic cloves, chopped
- White wine. If you can’t have wine, you can substitute it with extra beef broth.
- Beef broth
- Fresh herbs: sage, rosemary, and thyme
- Salt and pepper
- Bay leaves
And for the gravy:
- Braising liquid (all the flavor from the meat, herbs, and vegetables infuse into the braising liquid and make this gravy so good)
- All-purpose flour
If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can use dried herbs. A general rule of thumb for dried herbs is to use 1/2 to 1/3 of the amount of fresh herbs.
The step-by-step process:
To make this pork shanks recipe, you will need a large, oven-safe pot with a lid, preferably a Dutch oven.
- Brown the pork shanks: Season the pork shanks and heat the oil in a pot. Brown two of the pork shanks at a time. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Sauté and simmer: Turn the heat down to medium and add the vegetables. When the veggies are soft, add the garlic. Next, pour in the wine and let it reduce then add the broth and herbs.
- Braise the pork shanks: Place the pork shanks in the pot, cover it and transfer to the oven.
- Make the gravy: When the pork is finished cooking, use the braising liquid to make the gravy. continuously– slowly pour in the hot strained cooking liquids. Whisk until the gravy thickens.
- Serve: Serve each braised pork shank on a mound of mashed potatoes and pour a generous amount of gravy over each serving. Try our ricotta mashed potatoes with this dinner.
Pointers and Cooking Explanations
Don’t try to brown all of the pork shanks at once. If you crowd the pot then too much liquid will be released and you will not get that Malliard reaction that gives the pork shanks extra flavor.
Garlic burns easily. Add the garlic after you saute the vegetables. That way you won’t risk burning the garlic and making it bitter. If you add it after you cook the veggies then the veggies and the liquid they release will act as an insulator for the garlic.
Snuggle the pork shanks into the mixture until they are three-quarters submerged. You can add extra broth if necessary but the shanks should not be completely covered with liquid. If you cover them completely, the flavors in the braising liquid will be too diluted. Remember, the meat will release more juices as it slowly cooks in the pot.
It should take about 2-1/2 hours to finish braising the pork shanks. Your oven may vary so test the shanks to see if they are cooked to perfection. The pork should be tender when pierced with a fork.
Before you make the gravy, use a fine mesh strainer to strain the cooking liquids then discard any solids left in the strainer.
Tips for braising success
- After 1-1/2 hours of braising, check the liquid level in the pot. If it’s covering the shanks less than halfway, add more broth and return the pot to the oven.
- When testing for doneness, you’ll know the meat is done when you can shred it slightly with a fork.
- These pork shanks are also delicious served over polenta, pasta or rice! And if you’d like to go the traditional mashed potato route, check out our Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes and our Instant Pot Buttermilk Ranch Mashed Potatoes.
This easy oven pork shank recipe makes a hearty and flavorful meal for any occasion! Braised pork shanks are an amazing dish because they work just as well for your upcoming elegant dinner party as they do for a Sunday night family-style meal. Happy cooking!
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Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:
Braised Beef Short Ribs: Braised beef short rib with veggies, beef broth, wine and fresh herbs. The braising liquid becomes a rich, delicious sauce perfect for spooning over mashed potatoes.
Instant Pot Lamb Shanks: A fabulous dinner of rich, tender lamb shanks will be a fast feast when cooked in your instant pot. The rich cooking liquid becomes a delicious gravy with the added flavor of fresh lemons.
Steak and Lobster: This is a classic steakhouse entree usually with a hefty price tag. You can save big bucks by easily creating a DIY, special dinner at home with a tender eye of the rib and a sweet, butter-laden, lobster tail.
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- 4 pork shanks, about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds each
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 medium fennels, bulbs only, chopped (fronds reserved)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
For the Gravy:
- 2 cups of pot liquid
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Fennel fronds for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 275°F
- Season the pork shanks generously with salt and pepper. In a deep 6 or 8-quart Dutch oven or similar heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add 2 of the pork shanks, turning so they brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate, and repeat with the remaining pork shanks. This will take approximately 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil and the chopped fennel, onions and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant.
- Pour in the white wine and bring to a boil, simmer for about 2 minutes to reduce the wine. Add the beef broth, fennel fronds, chopped sage, rosemary, sprigs of thyme, salt, pepper and the bay leaves.
- Snuggle the braised pork shanks into the mixture until they are three-quarters submerged. Add additional broth if necessary but do not totally cover the shanks with liquid.
- Cover the pot and transfer to the lower third of the oven. Braise the pork shanks for 2-1/2 hours. Check the level of the liquid after 1-1/2 hours. If the liquid in the pot is covering the shanks less than half way, add additional broth and return to the oven and cook until the pork is very tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the pork shanks to a plate. Cover the plate with foil to keep warm while making the gravy.
For the Gravy:
- Strain the cooking liquids through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, pressing down on the vegetables with the back of a spoon. Discard the solids left in the strainer, spoon off and discard as much of the fat as possible from the surface of the strained cooking liquids.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet set over medium heat and stir in the flour and cook the roux for 2 minutes. While whisking continuously, slowly pour in the hot, strained cooking liquids and whisk until the gravy is thickened. Transfer the gravy to a pitcher or dish.
- Serve with a mound of mashed potatoes in each of four shallow bowls and add a pork shank to each serving. Pour a portion of gravy over the pork shanks and garnish with fennel fronds.
- When testing for doneness, the pork shank is done when it can be shredded slightly with a fork.
- These pork shanks with gravy may be served with mashed potatoes, polenta, pasta or rice.
- Depending on the size of the pork shanks each shank can easily be divided making 8 servings.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 243Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 677mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 13g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.