Choose Beef Shanks for Big Flavor

While veal and lamb shanks are popular, Chowhounds say beef shanks are underrated. They're tough and full of connective tissue so require long cooking, but when simmered until tender in soups or stews, they impart great richness and body to their cooking liquid. They're the key ingredient in Taiwanese beef noodle soup, Mexican caldo de res (beef and vegetable soup), and South Asian nihari. "If you love big beef flavor," Brandon Nelson says, they're "one of the most rewarding things to cook."

Beef shanks are usually sold as bone-in slices about an inch thick, and need to cook for a few hours. Will Owen loves that the slices make it easy to get at the marrow. Scoop it out of the cooked shank bone and spread it on bread or mash it into the broth or sauce to enrich it.

RealMenJulienne cuts the shanks' meat from the bone and into cubes to use in beef stew or chili, adding the bones to the braising liquid for the gelatin they release. And mike0989 recommends this braise with coconut milk.

Discuss: Any reason why beef shank isn't as popular to cook?

Photo of beef shank stew by Flickr member jetalone under Creative Commons