A Secret Guide to Cooking and Enjoying Delicious Bone-In Beef Shank

cross cut shank soup bones
Are you looking to try something new and totally different in the kitchen? You shouldn't go than the delicious and rarely-heard of the whole bone-in beef shank.
Our butcher calls them "soup bones".  It's totally an underrated moniker for such a powerhouse.  We carry the whole beef shanks as well as the smaller and more commonly recognized cross-cut shank bones.  Choose what works best for you!

A bone-in beef shank, also known as a beef shin, is a beef cut that maybe you've never heard of - but certainly deserves a special place on your dinner table. It is a larger, more muscular cut, and with the right cooking techniques, it transforms into a rich and delicious dish that will have your taste buds curious for more.

Today we will explore the best methods for cooking bone-in beef shank to bring out its natural flavors and utilize the wholesome the meat. We will also share some delectable recipes that will impress your family and friends.

So, whether you simmer it in a flavorsome broth, braise it for hours, or slow-cook it to perfection, this secret guide will ensure that you unlock the full potential of the bone-in beef shank. Get ready to discover a new fascinating cut of beef and impress your guests with your culinary skills.

What in the world is a beef shank?

Beef shank is a cut of meat that comes from the lower leg of the cow. It is a tough and sinewy muscle that requires slow cooking to break down the tough fibers and release the rich flavors. The whole bone-in beef shank is particularly flavorful and tender when cooked properly. It is often used in traditional dishes like osso bucco and beef bourguignon.

The bone-in beef shank is known for its gelatinous texture and rich, beefy flavor. It has a very high collagen content, which gives it a velvety mouthfeel when cooked low and slow. This collagen also helps to create a rich and flavorful sauce or broth when braised or simmered.

Cooking bone-in beef shank requires a bit of patience, but the results are well worth the wait. With the right techniques, you can transform this humble cut of meat into a show-stopping dish that will have everyone asking for seconds.

Why choose a bone-in beef shank?

You might be wondering why you should choose bone-in beef shank over other cuts of beef. Well, there are several reasons why this cut is worth considering.

Firstly, bone-in beef shank is a budget-friendly cut of meat. It is often more affordable than other cuts like ribeye or tenderloin, making it a great option for those on a tight budget.

Secondly, bone-in beef shank is incredibly versatile. It can be braised, simmered, or slow-cooked to perfection. This means that you can use it in a wide variety of dishes, from hearty stews to flavorful soups.

Lastly, bone-in beef shank is packed with flavor. The absolute secret to this beef cut is the marrow in the bone. It adds an extra depth of richness to the meat, making it incredibly satisfying and delicious.

My friend Julie braises this cut for her family and uses it in her soups. Unbelievable amounts of love and time go into her dishes so we're very honored she picks our beef!

The benefits of cooking with bone-in beef shank

Cooking with bone-in beef shank offers several benefits that you won't find with other cuts of beef. Here are some of the advantages of using bone-in beef shank in your recipes:

1. Flavor: Bone-in beef shank is incredibly flavorful, thanks to the marrow in the bone. When cooked low and slow, the marrow melts into the meat, adding an extra layer of richness and depth of flavor.

2. Tenderness: While bone-in beef shank is a tough cut of meat, it becomes incredibly tender when cooked properly. The slow cooking process breaks down the tough fibers, resulting in meat that is melt-in-your-mouth tender.

3. Gelatin: Bone-in beef shank is rich in gelatin, which is released during the cooking process. This gelatin adds body and richness to sauces and broths, creating a velvety texture and enhancing the overall flavor.

4. Nutrition: Bone-in beef shank is not only delicious but also nutritious. It is a good source of protein and contains essential vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc.

By cooking with bone-in beef shank, you can elevate your dishes to a whole new level of flavor and tenderness. Now that you know the benefits, let's dive into the step-by-step guide to cooking this delicious cut of meat.

Step-by-step guide to cooking bone-in beef shank

Cooking bone-in beef shank requires a bit of time and patience, but the end result is well worth it. Follow these easy steps to ensure that your bone-in beef shank is tender, flavorful, and absolutely delicious:

1. Preparation: Start by selecting high-quality bone-in beef shank from your local butcher or grocery store. Look for shanks that are well-marbled and have a rich red color. Before cooking, make sure to remove any excess fat or silver skin.

2. Seasoning: Season the bone-in beef shank generously with salt and pepper. You can also add other herbs and spices to enhance the flavor, such as garlic, thyme, or rosemary. Let the meat sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the seasoning to penetrate.

3. Searing: Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil and sear the bone-in beef shank on all sides until it develops a golden brown crust. This step helps to seal in the juices and adds extra flavor to the meat.

4. Braising: Once the bone-in beef shank is seared, remove it from the skillet and set it aside. In the same skillet, add aromatics like onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and fragrant. Return the bone-in beef shank to the skillet and add enough liquid, such as beef broth or red wine, to cover about two-thirds of the meat.

5. Slow cooking: Cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid and transfer it to a preheated oven. Cook the bone-in beef shank at a low temperature, around 325°F (163°C), for several hours. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of the shank, but it usually takes around 3-4 hours for the meat to become tender and juicy.

6. Resting: Once the bone-in beef shank is cooked to perfection, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender final dish.

By following these steps, you can create a mouthwatering bone-in beef shank that will impress even the most discerning palate. Now, let's explore some delicious recipes that showcase the versatility of this flavorful cut of meat.

Delicious recipes for bone-in beef shank

1. Osso Bucco: Osso bucco is a classic Italian dish that highlights the rich flavors of bone-in beef shank. In this recipe, the shanks are braised with aromatic vegetables, white wine, and tomatoes until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve the osso bucco with creamy polenta or risotto for a truly indulgent meal.

2. Beef Bourguignon: This French classic is made with bone-in beef shank, red wine, and a medley of vegetables and herbs. The slow cooking process infuses the meat with the flavors of the wine and creates a luscious sauce that pairs perfectly with crusty bread or mashed potatoes.

3. Asian-style Braised Beef Shank: For a twist on traditional braised beef shank, try this Asian-inspired recipe. The shanks are simmered with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and spices until they are incredibly tender. Serve the braised beef shank over steamed rice or noodles for a satisfying and flavorful meal.

These recipes are just a starting point, and the possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking bone-in beef shank. Experiment with different flavors and cooking techniques to create your own signature dishes.

Tips for maximizing flavor and tenderness

To ensure that your bone-in beef shank turns out perfectly every time, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Choose the right size: Bone-in beef shank comes in different sizes, so choose one that suits your needs. Smaller shanks are great for individual portions, while larger shanks are perfect for feeding a crowd.

2. Use a heavy-bottomed pot: When braising or slow-cooking bone-in beef shank, it is important to use a heavy-bottomed pot or skillet. This helps to distribute heat evenly and prevents the meat from sticking or burning.

3. Low and slow: The key to tender bone-in beef shank is to cook it low and slow. The collagen in the meat needs time to break down and become tender. Resist the temptation to crank up the heat, as this will only result in tough and chewy meat.

4. Don't skimp on the liquid: When braising or simmering bone-in beef shank, make sure to add enough liquid to cover about two-thirds of the meat. This ensures that the meat stays moist and tender throughout the cooking process.

5. Let it rest: After cooking, always let the bone-in beef shank rest before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender final dish.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your bone-in beef shank is flavorful, tender, and absolutely delicious.

Pairing bone-in beef shank with side dishes and sauces

Bone-in beef shank is incredibly versatile and pairs well with a variety of side dishes and sauces. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

1. Creamy mashed potatoes: The rich flavors of bone-in beef shank are complemented perfectly by creamy mashed potatoes. The velvety texture of the potatoes provides a wonderful contrast to the tender meat.

2. Roasted root vegetables: Roasted root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, and potatoes, are a delicious accompaniment to bone-in beef shank. The earthy flavors of the vegetables complement the richness of the meat.

3. Fresh green salad: For a lighter option, serve bone-in beef shank with a fresh green salad. The crispness of the salad provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of the meat.

4. Rich red wine sauce: A rich red wine sauce is the perfect accompaniment to bone-in beef shank. The flavors of the wine enhance the meat and create a savory sauce that brings the dish to a whole new level.

Feel free to get creative and experiment with different side dishes and sauces to find your perfect pairing.

The health benefits of bone-in beef shank

In addition to being delicious, bone-in beef shank also offers several health benefits. Here are some reasons why you can feel good about enjoying this flavorful cut of meat:

1. Protein: Bone-in beef shank is a great source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. Protein is also important for supporting a healthy immune system and promoting satiety.

2. Vitamins and minerals: Bone-in beef shank contains important vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and B vitamins. These nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being.

3. Collagen: Bone-in beef shank is rich in collagen, which is a protein that provides structure to the skin, bones, and tendons. Consuming collagen-rich foods may help to support joint health and improve skin elasticity.

4. Satiety: The high protein and fat content of bone-in beef shank can help to promote feelings of fullness and satiety, making it a satisfying and nourishing meal option.

While bone-in beef shank should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, it can certainly be part of a healthy and nutritious eating plan.

Bottom Line: The versatility and satisfaction of cooking and enjoying bone-in beef shank 

In the end, bone-in beef shank is a delicious and certainly underrated cut of meat that deserves a special place on your dinner table. With the right cooking techniques, this humble cut can be transformed into a flavorful and succulent dish that will impress your family and friends.

Whether you simmer it in a flavorsome broth, braise it for hours, or slow-cook it to perfection, bone-in beef shank offers a world of kitchen possibilities. Its versatility allows you to experiment with different flavors and create your own signature dishes.

So, next time you're looking to try something new in the kitchen, don't overlook the bone-in beef shank. With a bit of time and patience, you can unlock the full potential of this flavorful cut of meat and create a truly memorable dining experience. Enjoy! Tell me how it goes for you!