Lamb shanks are cut from the shoulder and front leg, normally including the leg bone. Historically, they were one of the cheaper cuts available, suitable only for long braises or stews. In the early 1990's, braised lamb shanks became popular staples on the menus of evolving New American restaurants in New York. This drove prices up, but also introduced the cut to many diners who would otherwise not have ever discovered it. Over the next decade, the dish spread across the country, and it was followed by a wave of more exotic braised meats including pork belly and beef cheeks.
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