Wild boar are commonly hunted in Europe as a sport for the elite. The meat is sold in local butcher shops where it is considered a delicacy of the forest. North American hunters can hunt wild boar and feral hogs in many jurisdictions. With liberal seasons and limits, there is a bounty to be explored.
The lower portion of the legs is known as the shank, and when cooked properly, it has some of the best flavors a boar can provide. The silver skins and connective tissue cooks into gelatin and collagen, which add rich flavors to the meat.
Shanks braised in sauerkraut are a traditional way to do pork hocks. Smoked hocks are preferred, but fresh ones are also a great option. It is easy to cure and smoke hocks with a Hi Mountain Original Bacon Cure, giving it a similar flavor to bacon and ham.
Suppose you do not have hogs readily available. In that case, you can order a variety of cuts, including volcano shanks from GameKeeper Butchery.
- 2 wild boar shanks, bone-in
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil or lard
- 1 jar (quart) sauerkraut
- 2 large carrots, shredded
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 2 cans or bottles of beer
- 2 cups beef broth
- 8 allspice berries
- 12 cloves
- Cheesecloth or metal infuser
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron square or round Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the shanks with salt and pepper and brown them for a few minutes per side. If the shanks are smoked, you can skip this step and place them in the Dutch oven.
2. Drain the sauerkraut and rinse lightly under cold water. In a large bowl, mix the sauerkraut, carrots, onion, and apple.
3. Create a spice bag by placing the allspice and cloves in the middle of a 4-inch square piece of cheesecloth. Pull the 4 corners up and tie them together with a piece of butcher’s twine—place in the Dutch oven.
4. Top the shank with the sauerkraut mixture. Pour one can of beer and one cup of beef broth over the shank into the Dutch oven—cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours. Check after one hour and add a second beer and more broth, if required.
5. Continue to check the pot to ensure the braising liquid has not evaporated and add liquid if required. Continue braising, and adding liquid as necessary, until the shank surrenders and comes easily off the bone. Cooking times will vary depending on the size and age of a hog. Two to four hours is expected.
6. Remove the spice bag and serve the shank with the sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.