Beef Shank That Might Just Change Your Life

Beef shank is one of those cuts of meat that may intimidate you if you’ve never cooked it. Never fear! Mark and Maggie Reinke – happy, long time customers and philosophical supporters of Polyface – are here today to show you the wonders of beef shank.

It all began when I noticed they would stop in to Polyface about once a month and buy us out of beef shank. They raved about it and I felt like I was missing out on something. Recently, I asked them to share their cooking method, and folks? It is outrageous. The Reinkes encouraged me to share the love here on the blog and all I can say is, PLEASE. Do yourself a favor and try this soon! It might even be a great weekend-after-Thanksgiving meal, as it’s something that cooks low and slow all day with not a lot of hands-on time.

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There are a couple of ways to do it, so here’s the “template” rather than the recipe:

1. Using a dutch oven:

Season the whole shank, all sides, top and bottom, with salt and pepper.

a) the fancy way – Heat dutch oven over med/high on stove.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Brown all sides of shank.  This adds a nice “Maillard” reaction/caramelization to the dish, but isn’t necessary if you’re busy;

b) the faster, easier and still awesome way – ignore the browning step

2. Your braising liquid:

If you browned: remove shank from dutch oven.  Add about 1/2 cup red wine or dark beer to hot dutch oven to deglaze, then add remainder of braising liquid and put shank back in.

Add to dutch oven:
10-14 oz beer or wine (Note from the Reinkes: we prefer red wine over white wine in this, as well as a “malty” beer…a hoppy beer seems to leave a residual bitterness that can be off putting.  Brown ales, amber ales, oatmeal or chocolate stouts are our favorites)
1 quart (give or take) of broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari

4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled, partly smashed
1 8″-10″ sprig of fresh Rosemary (or about 2-3 tsp dried)

Put in oven, tightly covered, at 200 degrees for 5-7 hours depending on size. Check at 5 hours, turn and put back in if necessary.

This can also be done in a roasting pan in the case of a larger shank, but be sure its tightly covered.

The Reinkes usually serve with mashed potatoes or pureed turnips and some type of steamed veggies.

Big hugs and high-fives to Mark and Maggie for sharing their secrets! They can be reached at

Have you cooked beef shank before? What method did you use?

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.

12 Responses to Beef Shank That Might Just Change Your Life

  1. carmen coles says:

    I love beef shank! Just had some a few days ago. I slow cook it, along with some beef soup bones which contain the marrow, for several hours slowly. Then I remove the bones, scrape out the marrow and allow the shanks to cook. I use the beef stock from the shanks and bones and begin adding everything but the kitchen sink for soup. A few minute before I’m ready to serve, I tear up the meat from the shanks to add to the soup. DELICIOUS and, oh, so nutritious!

  2. Rachel says:

    Oh, that sounds delicious. Very similar to how I’ve cooked other cuts of meat…but you’re right.– “BEEF SHANK” seems so intimidating and I’ve never ed attempted it!

    This sounds scrumptious and perfect for this time of year. Thanks for posting it! We’ll definitely be trying it over here.

  3. Carol A Viscarra says:

    When we process our beef I always try and just keep cutting shank up the leg as far as I can go. Simmerred all day on the stove ( simple simple ) gives you the richest broth ever…and the shank it’s self becomes several meals. Beef barley veggie soup one night and then reserve some shank to finger shred for the the most glorious taco filling EVER. I can’t get enough shank ever pout of one beef…I am so happy others are beginning to see it for the wonderful cut of meat it is

    • rusty says:

      Not me, like ox tails, lamb shanks, the more demand the higher the price. i want it to remain a secret and intimidating.


  4. Helen says:

    Sounds awesome. I always have shied away from the shank. This is totally do-able. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. ali says:

    I use them for making stock because they often are rather chewy and have a bunch of bone. Maybe I just need to cook it slower – but not in a crock pot? Thank you!

  6. heather says:

    Sounds wonderful! I cook lamb shanks the same way. Regarding serving size, normally 1 lamb shank per person, I’m assuming these are larger, how would you serve these? Remove the meat from the bone? Thanks, love you guys 🙂

  7. Kristin says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. It sounds divine! I wonder if it would work for venison??

  8. Bourguignon is a great idea too (for which I’d use chuck or shank), (although I think good mushrooms are an important part of a bourguignon)… in fact, anything braised will hold and reheat well for large groups such as this. To reheat something like short ribs you can just put the whole thing back in the oven and bring it up to serving temperature and it’ll be just as tasty (and even tastier) than the day it was made. Just make sure you don’t overcook it and make it dry out. If you are afraid if short ribs being not fancy enough you can tailor the cut so that it looks better… separate the bone from the meat or pre-portion into 3 or 4 oz. squares (easier to do when it’s cold) and separate the braising liquid from the meat and do a really nice reduction that can be plated underneath the meat (which you can glaze with the reduction). Speaking of shank, Osso Bucco would be good as well, not too expensive, and something very easy to make look impressive. If you were to use a cut like london broil or tri tip what would you make for it, serve it as a roast? IMO those cuts of meat should be cooked medium at the most and a good marinade will help infuse more flavour and make it juicier and more tender. I personally feel that grilling or searing (And finish in the oven) is a great way to cook tri tip and flank while a piece of round (not a cut of meat I eat often) would be best served roasted or broiled, although also good for quick cook stir fries (which I don’t think is something you want).

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  10. I’ve had to start doubling the amount of shanks I buy so my youngest daughter and I don’t have to fight over the marrow! Have you seen Jenny’s sweet marrow custard? Oh my goodness.

  11. Shanks make excellent taco meat. Just sayin’.