Follow an easy 4-step process to slow cook Braised Beef Shank carnivore style. It is a nourishing and affordable low-carb meal for any time of the year.
Served in broth, shanks are one of many carnivore diet recipes that hits the proverbial “spot” on a cold-weather day and in times of stress. Comfort is found in a bowl of fall-of-the-bone tender meat and warm broth.
Updated with new images and information on April 2020.
What is “beef shank”?
Beef shanks are found on the leg of a cow, directly above the knee joint. The section is cross-cut horizontally, usually in 1 to 2-inch thick rounds.
The meat may appear similar to steak, but with a signature marrow bone featured in the center. All ruminant animals have shanks (beef, lamb, mutton, bison, etc.) and may be prepared in the same manner.
Most people are not as familiar with beef shanks as they are with hamburger or steak cuts, but you shouldn’t overlook them.
Buying boneless shank is a shame and, in my opinion, you will be missing the best part. Upon cooking, the marrow becomes succulent and buttery. It is not to be left out!
Peak into your butcher’s case, and you may see a few different names: foreshank, hind or rear shank, and soup bones. These are all essentially the same, usually just varying in size. Any option will work well for braising.
Are cross cut beef shanks tough?
The shank is a hard-working muscle that would be tough unless properly prepared through braising or slow-cooking. This cut has beautiful coils of collagen threaded through the muscle meat. Because of this, it must be simmered in liquid over low heat for a few hours before for the collagen transforms into the soft, melted goodness we all love so much.
As a dry, sinewy piece of meat, it may not sound like much, but with some simple tips, it will produce a flavorful and nutritious meal.
Also, tougher meat is more affordable than tender cuts (from lazier muscles) like sirloin, ribeye, and filet mignon. The beef shank is a great choice when you compare the nutritional bang you get in exchange for your buck.
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Slow Cooked All Meat Beef Shank Recipe
This is a bare bones recipe, perfect for those interested in zero-fiber recipes for a carnivore diet. If you do well with a keto diet or low-carb, paleo, whole30 or other dietary approaches feel free to follow the modifications listed below and add the herbs and vegetables that you do best with.
Eating an all meat diet or at least meat-based may help you if you suffer from digestive disorders, mental health conditions, and auto-immune conditions. We have seen phenomenal turn arounds as people get life changing results from a carnivore diet.
To succeed with carnivore, there’s no better recipe resource than my Carnivore Cookbook. It’s the complete culinary guide you need to feel confident in your cooking skills and assured that you’ll never get bored.
How to Cook Braised Beef Shank
While it may sound like a daunting technique, braising meat is quite easy!
In my vegan to carnivore journey, I put off learning how to braise for far too long. It seemed overly complicated and touchy. In the few recipes I tested, the meat came out dry and tough. Not at all like the fall off the fork tender meat I was after.
You can skip the trial and error I went through and jump right into this Easy Braised Beef Shank recipe.
Begin by browning the beef shank in beef tallow on both sides for about 2-3 minutes. Get it nice and golden brown before flipping.
Then pour bone broth over the shanks, season with salt and bring it all to a light simmer. Use traditional homemade bone broth, Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth, a plant-free Carnivore Diet Bone Broth Recipe, or quality store-bought broth.
Use at least 2 cups of broth. There should be enough broth to cover the meat ½ to ¾ of the way up the side. I like using 3 cups because it leaves ample liquid to serve with.
Reduce the heat and cover with a lid, but leave a small opening for the steam to escape.
Cook over low heat for 3 hours, until the meat falls off the bone. Serve warm in liquid.
If you opt for making this a keto or paleo recipe, add in the vegetables of choice in the last 30 minutes of cooking time so they can simmer with the meat.
How long does it take to cook beef shank?
In this braised method, it takes up to 3 hours to completely cook beef shank. This is done using a cast iron skillet with a lid or Dutch oven and cooked on the stovetop over low heat.
Cooking times with beef shank in the oven, crockpot, and Instant pot all vary. See more details on these modifications below.
Where to buy Beef Shank Bones?
Fortunately, beef shanks are not extremely hard to find like liver can be (I have a great guide to buying liver if you need help sourcing it).
Ask your butcher if they have shank. It’s usually cross-cut into large round pieces, about 1.5-2-inches thick. There is an eye catching marrow bone in the center. If it is in the butcher case, you won’t miss it.
If you are shopping online, I recommend buying grass-fed beef shank from US Wellness Meats.
They have a wide selection of healthy, grass-fed, organic, and pasture-raised meats and other animal-based foods. I love that they sell organ meats too. Their options are perfect for cooking organ meat recipes you actually want to eat!
Easy Beef Shank Variations
There are many ways to spin this basic technique of braising beef shank. It is a very adaptable recipe that can be made with different kitchen equipment from a cast-iron skillet or dutch oven to a crockpot to Instant pot. Instead of cooking on the stovetop, you can also slow cook it in the oven. Add in your favorite low-carb vegetables and you’ll get a delicious Osso Buco dish!
Keto Braised Beef Shank (aka Osso Buco)
Keep a timer on and when 30 minutes of cooking time remain, add in one of the following combinations. Let all ingredients simmer together.
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms, 1/2 pound parsnips, and 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 small cauliflower, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, and 2 cloves minced garlic
- ½ cup white wine, 2 cloves sautéed garlic and 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon dry thyme, 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil, and 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger root powder, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 cup minced scallion, and ¼ cup Keto Soy Sauce Alternative.
Wine and vinegar may also be used in the liquid base for braising. Decrease the total amount of broth down to 1½ – 2½ cups and add ½ cup of dry white wine or red wine. If adding vinegar, choose balsamic, apple, or red wine vinegar.
The broth is impressive after simmering the shank for a few hours. It becomes incredibly gelatinous after chilling!
This is delicious served with a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes!
Braised Beef Shank in the Oven
With this method, we sear on the stovetop and then transfer to a preheated oven to finish.
Begin by heating the oven to 350*F (175*C).
Follow steps 1-2 of this recipe in an oven safe skillet then after the broth is at a simmer, put the lid on and transfer to the oven to bake for 2 hours.
If you don’t have an oven safe skillet with lid, pour into a glass baking dish and cover with parchment paper and then aluminum foil to seal it up.
This is delicious served as is or paid with roasted Brussel sprouts or cauliflower rice.
Simple Beef Shank in the Slow Cooker
I wrote this recipe for a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven. As an alternative, you may also use a crockpot. In this case, place the meat in the bottom of a slow-cooker, pour broth over and season with salt. Cover with the lid and turn on low. Cook for 4-6 hours until easily falls off the bone.
If you want to brown the meat before placing it in the slow cooker, you may but it is not necessary. Browning gives the dish a more complex flavor than just adding it to the pot.
Quick Beef Shank in an Instant Pot
The Instant pot method is just as straight forward as all the others.
Season the meat with salt.
Turn on the Instant pot and select sauté. Once hot add cooking fat to the pot and sear the meat, about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
Add in broth. Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure and cook for 35 minutes. Natural release pressure for 15 minutes then manually release the remaining pressure.
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Keto Carnivore Braised Beef Shank + Oven, Crockpot, & Instant pot option
- Cast iron skillet
- Heat cooking fat in a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet with a lid or Dutch oven. Brown both sides of the beef shanks, about 2-3 minutes per side, until a golden-brown crust forms.
- Pour broth over shanks. Use at least 2 cups of broth. There should be enough broth to cover the meat ½ to ¾ of the way up the side. Season with salt. Bring it to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat and cover with a lid, but leave a small opening for the steam to escape.
- Cook over low heat for 3 hours, until the meat falls off the bone. Serve warm in liquid.
Nutrition & Macros
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More Budget Friendly Low Carb Beef Recipes
- Organ Meat Pie – Organ meats are some of the most affordable meats and happen to also be some of the most nutritious parts too. This nourishing combination of ground beef, liver and heart baked into a meat pie is simple and satiating.
- Paleo Beef Oxtail Bourginon – A delicious and savory gluten-free, low-carb meal, this low-carb Bourginon with oxtail is on my radar!
- Crock Pot Beef Shanks – This approach to beef shanks make a tender, flavorful, Keto, gluten-free, dairy-free meal with the ease of the crockpot.
- Slow Cooker Keto Carnivore Beef Stew – This Easy Keto Carnivore Beef Stew is slow-cooked in a crockpot. The best part is that this stew is a cheap meal for any day of the week, freezer friendly and takes minimal prep work to put together.
- Instant Pot Brisket – This Instant Pot Brisket is an easy, savory dish that you can make without heating up your entire house. Dump in everything and just let it make itself, and you end up with a savory, melt-in-your-mouth dish for dinner.
Meet Jessica Haggard
Jessica Haggard is the creator of Primal Edge Health, where she shares simple, nourishing low-carb, keto and carnivore diet recipes. With a focus on from scratch, homemade cooking, animal-based nutrition, and easy DIY beauty and personal care recipes, there’s always something new going on in her kitchen! Jessica will teach you exactly how to thrive with all the best ingredients and enjoy the journey along the way.