I've got a massive fresh ham shank in my freezer. Can I use it in a recipe that calls for a pork shoulder? What exactly is fresh ham anyway?
I think it is too lean to be treated as pork shoulder, it may or may not work. Fresh ham is just the cut off the leg that isn't cured like ham. You will likely get more suggestions/better answers later. Meanwhile use search engines from trusted recipe sites. This looks great to me.
In my opinion shank meat works great for briasing no matter what animal it comes from. (e.g. Osso Bucco) which I make with veal, beef, venison and lamb. And I also braise whole shanks. I would try ham shank myself if it's fresh and not cured.
Ham comes from the back leg, shoulder from the front. Fresh -- not cured. So it's essentially a shoulder, but nutcakes is right, it's slightly less lean and tends more toward toughness if it's not braised long and low and slow. My personal choice for a fresh ham -- and many versions of the recipe call for it -- is pernil, or Puerto Rican roast pork. My recipe of choice here: http://kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com/2009/07/05/the-morning-after/#more-457
Since the meat is not cured or smoked, it has the flavor of a fresh pork loin roast or pork chops. It should be roasted, but it probably could withstand a nice braise.
I love this site--I've gotten a lot of great ideas here that I've riffed off of, like guava mustard pork chops and a contest-winning recipe for "Crocktoberfest" for Kapusta Pork from their newest "Crockstar."
Thanks for the excellent advice and links everyone!
I love pork shoulder with skin on - it makes a great porchetta!
I agree with casa-giardino on crispy skin porchetta http://www.food52.com/recipes...