I am intrigued and a little disturbed by an inquiry I received this week asking me what I know about pork wings, as in pork on the bone done in the same style as Buffalo chicken wings. Uh, a pork product I haven't heard of? Incredulous.
A little research turned up a trademarked product referred to as "Wild Wings brand pork shanks." OK, so pork wings are really mini pork shanks. So, you could slow cook the mini pork shanks in the oven, then fry as you would chicken wings and toss in your favorite Buffalo wing sauce. OH MY GOD. That makes so much sense and sounds like the most excellent idea since the Hello Kitty waffle iron.
I hypothesize these little shanks come from the front legs of the pig, since aft would yield too big a bone and too much meat. So I went and asked butcher extraordinaire Don Kuzaro Jr. at Don & Joe's in the Pike Place Market about this suspicious product, to confirm it could be done. He agreed in fact it could, "but you'd have to stew or cook the heck out of that meat because it would be tough. And you'd need a small pig." Hmmm...for a bar snack, that sounds like too much work, waste, and expense. Is it possible these faux wings are reconfigured pork on the bone? "Oh sure, you could form the pork around the bone," Don said. "But once meat leaves this side of the business (the butchery), there's really no guarantee restaurants or marketers are following the terms we use the way we use them. " (I sense a future hot topic here.) So pork shank in this instance could be in use to back up the idea of pork on the bone, but not actually be from that part of the pig. People, I swear I will get to the bottom of this.