Beer and Onion Braised Beef Shank Recipe

by Pamela

beef shank recipe, braised beef, beef shanks

This beef shank recipe will take you into those early days of fall with a warming and delicious dinner that’s easy to prepare and easy on the wallet. Don’t think you’ve ever seen beef shanks at the market? I’ll bet you have, you just didn’t know what they were. Now that you will, you’ll have a secret weapon for dinner.

If you’re looking for a new cut of meat for your braising pleasure, I recommend the beef shank. The beef shank is one of those cuts of meat that still really is fairly inexpensive. Unlike flank steak or flap meat that’s supposed to be an inexpensive cut but now costs as much per pound as a rib eye. AAAARGH! No, beef shanks are still affordable cuts that give you lots of bang for the buck. (Think tender meat AND lots of bone marrow.)

Not sure what beef shanks look like? Well, they don’t look like veal or lamb shanks. Those cute little, already portioned out, sized leg bones are not what you’ll find for beef shanks.  Of course, considering a full grown cow is like 5x the size of a calf or lamb I think you understand why. No, beef shanks are those large, thick round cuts of beef with the round bones somewhere near the middle of the meat circle. They kind of look like giant oxtails in the package. Due to their size, you’ll usually find 1 or 2 to a package and they’ll be about 1″ thick.

Beer and onion braised beef shanks to warm up a chilly night

If you like braised beef, and who doesn’t (unless you’re a vegetarian or don’t eat red meat), then you’re really going to like this beef shank recipe. Because the meat starts out so tough (those legs get a workout), you can cook this meat for hours if you like. You’re not going to hurt it. I keep this recipe simple by not using super heavy cuts of shank meat. That way, you can cook it for a shorter amount of time and still have that tender and delicious braised meat without having to cook it all day.

One of the other delicious reasons for liking beef shanks is that little round bone in the middle. That marrow, that sits inside, gets all soft and takes on the flavors of the beer and onions (so use good tasting beer). Some of it goes to thicken the cooking juices and some of it is left in those bones for you to smear on a big hunk of bread that you can also use to sop up the juices. So this dish is kind of a two-fer.

Each of the beef shanks will serve one person, unless you get a couple of ginormous shanks, then each one might feed 2 people. So even though they’re not quite as “cute” as say a lamb shank, they still come in individual portion sizes. And I think they plate up really pretty. I served mine just with braised onions and salted pee wee potatoes, but you could serve them over polenta, wild rice or mashed potatoes for a really filling dinner.

Beer and Onion Braised Beef Shank Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Beer and onion braised beef shank recipe to warm up those chilly nights. The rich sauce and tender meat will make your taste buds sing.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 3 Pounds Bone In Beef Shank
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
  • 2 Pounds Onion (sliced thinly)
  • 3 Large Garlic Cloves (smashed)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3 Fresh Sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 12 Ounce Bottles of Porter Beer
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season both sides of the shanks with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to large stock pot and heat over medium high heat.
  4. Once oil is hot, add shanks to the pan and brown on both sides. (About 3-4 minutes per side.)
  5. After shanks are browned, remove to a plate and set aside.
  6. If there's no fat left in the pan, add the remaining olive oil.
  7. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme to the pan and brown the onions. (About 10 minutes.)
  8. Stir the onions to help them brown evenly and to scrape up the browned bits left from the beef.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Once the onions have browned, add the tomato paste, beer and vinegar. Stir everything to combine.
  11. Nestle the beef shanks into the onions and add any juices to the pan, cover and slide into the oven.
  12. Cook for 2½ - 3½ hours.
  13. Remove from oven and serve.
Notes
I cooked mine for 2½ hours but you could let them go for another hour if you need to cook them longer or want to hold them longer, hot, before serving.

 

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6 comments

Jan Jan July 8, 2015 at 9:03 pm

This recipe was a huge hit!!! Super easy to make! I had a hard time finding a port beer, so I used Guinness instead. Worked like a charm 😀 Served with some homemade garlic mashed potatoes.
I will me making this recipe again and again! Thanks for posting!

Pamela July 9, 2015 at 9:36 am

So glad to hear you liked the recipe Jan Jan. Guinness is a miracle beer isn’t it? Garlic mashed potatoes sounds like the perfect side dish too! YUM!!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef January 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm

I’ve never cooked a beef shank before. I’ve cooked a ton of lamb shanks though. I’m eager for cooler weather to try this one. It’s been so stinking hot and humid the past week that I’ve lived in the pool.

Pamela January 18, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Unfortunately I now know about the hot and humid and living in the pool now. 😉 Maureen, you and John are gonna really like the beef shanks. Easy to cook and a real beefy flavor. Stay cool!

Nancie January 17, 2015 at 9:33 am

Yass! You’ve done it again, Girl (read my mind, that is)! Was perusing Pinterest for a delicious, something different/special dish to make for my husband’s birthday at the end of this month when your post popped up in my “in-box”. Huzzah! Braised Beef Shank it is! Off to our favorite, local brew-pup to get Porter (extra to drink with the meal, natch). Thanks and if your ESP powers parlay into winning Powerball numbers… hit me up!

Pamela January 17, 2015 at 10:01 am

Thanks Nancie! Smart move getting the extra porter 😉 . I noticed that Powerball was really up there this week too. I’ll have to get to work on that. Would love to split the pot with you. 🙂 CHEERS!

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