Beef Shank    
Cross section

Center cut Beef Shanks (photo specimen) are great for beef soups and stews. They include plenty of the most flavorful meat on the beast, and plenty of connective tissue for a rich stock. The bone is cut in slices exposing the marrow, and very little of your money goes for fat.

More on Beef Shank

Buying:   These are plentiful in just about any ethnic market and often even appear in supermarkets. Unfortunately the meat markets are quite aware of the great properties these shanks posses, so it's worth shopping for a good price.

Prep:   Wash well to remove saw kerf residue and bone chips. Depending on your use, you may just want to cut up the shanks and toss everything into the stock pot for a very strong stock. In other cases you may want to separate the meat for stew, and use the rest to make stock. If the bones are large, you may want to split them. Place the edge of your meat cleaver where you want the split and hit the back of the cleaver with a heavy soft faced mallet. This will minimize pieces of bone flying all over everywhere.

Yield:   A 3 pounds 7 ounces tray of meaty shanks (similar to the photo but with somewhat bigger bones) yielded 1 pound 10 ounces of clear stew meat (47%), 12-5/8 ounces of marrow bones (23%), of which 2-7/8 ounces was actually marrow (5%), and 1 pound of fat, tendon and unrecoverable meat (30%).

Stock:   the 30% fat and offcuts plus the 23% marrow bones all goes into the stock pot. Yes, the fat too, much of the flavor in fat is water soluble. When you have simmered for a few hours, strain out the solids and remove the fat using your gravy separator.

Cooking:   The meat from shanks is the finest stew meat, tough with plenty of connective tissue, but it needs long cooking, even longer than bottom round.

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