It is funny to me that the shank is often regarded as a poor man’s cut yet mysteriously, it somehow keeps sneaking its way onto the menu of the fanciest restaurants. There, of course, it is listed under the much fancier alias “Osso Bucco”. So, why would such high-end restaurant’s serve such a supposed low end cut?
If you read our post on beef cheeks (link), then you may recall how the connective tissue that makes that cut at un-chewable at 145F makes that cut unforgettable at 180F. The shank as well is laced with connective tissue, which, if given it’s time to come to temperature creates the silkiest texture imaginable. But, the shank has another secret hidden deep within. The bone that’s nestled between the muscles is full of marrow. That marrow is the most robust beef flavored part of the entire animal. This is the nectar that provides all of the flavor for beef stock or broths.
So, to recap, when a shank is treated properly it creates a silky, intensely flavored dish that restaurateurs can buy for a bargain because most consumers are not privy to it’s potential. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? Stop being basic and start thinking like a professional chef. Here’s a list of all the boxes with shanks currently available.