The majority of people that love meat will know that there are lots of different cuts of beef that you can choose from, and they all come from different parts of the cow.
If you are making a recipe that calls for beef shank, but you don’t like it or weren’t able to get your hands on some, then you might be looking for alternatives that you can use.
Beef shank can be absolutely delicious when it is prepared right or paired with certain dishes, but it is not the end of the world if you don’t want to or can’t include it. There are many other alternatives that you can choose to use instead.
So, if you want to create the perfect dish, but the recipe asks for beef shank, then you don’t have to worry. There are plenty of other options to choose from, and we are going to tell you all about them in this article.
What Are the Best Substitutes for Beef Shank?
Some of the best substitutes for beef shank include beef arm, oxtail, chuck roast, silverside, and skirt. These are all some of the tougher meat cuts, and they are perfect to use for slow cooking over longer periods of time.
Meat that comes from the areas of muscles that are used most often by the cow will tend to offer the most flavor. Before we get into the best beef shank substitutes in more detail, we are going to tell you a little bit more about beef shank itself, to help you determine the best substitutes.
What You Need to Know About Beef Shank
Beef shank, also sometimes known as foreshank or hind shank, is the leg section of a cow. As you may have already guessed, this section of meat tends to be quite tough and muscular, and this is because cows use their legs a lot in their daily lives.
This is the main reason why beef shank is typically used in things like stews and other dishes that require slow cooking. You will even sometimes find beef shank in beef stock and broth as it is quite flavorful.
It can be quite hard to find the time to make amazing home-cooked meals, so if you have managed to find the time to do so and you can’t get your hands on the main ingredient, then it is understandable to feel a little stressed. However, we are here to help you find the alternatives that you are looking for.
We are going to mention some of the best alternatives to beef shank below, so you can still cook the delicious meal that you were planning on making for dinner.
We have chosen the 5 best beef cuts to use instead of beef shank. You never know, you might just find a cut of meat that works even better.
Beef Arm Roast
As you have probably already guessed from the name of this cut of meat, it comes directly from the arm of the cattle, but more specifically, the shoulder area.
The muscles in this cut of meat are used very frequently by the cow, which means that the meat itself can be pretty tough, just like beef shank. This means that it is a great meat to use when it comes to slow cooking.
One of the best things about this type of meat is that even though it has a lean muscle content, it also contains a good amount of fat. This means that it is full of flavor, and it becomes really soft when it is cooked for a longer time at a lower temperature.
Another type of meat that you can guess the location of from its title is oxtail, which is a cut of meat that is taken from the tail of the cattle. Lots of people love this cut of meat because it is really tasty.
However, it is also quite expensive in comparison to other cuts of meat, so if you are sticking to a strict budget, then this might not be the best substitute for you.
On the other hand, if you are looking for the best possible flavor for your slow cooked meal, then this could be the perfect meat to choose.
The chuck roast also comes from the shoulder of the cow, just like the first option that we mentioned.
However, it does also come from the neck, which is what makes it different from the arm roast. The shoulders are frequently in use in order to move the animal, which is why this cut of meat can be quite tough.
Although, the neck area does not contain as much muscle, and it has a good amount of fat in it instead.
This combination of both muscle and fat will give this meat cut a marbled texture, and it has an excellent beefy flavor when it is cooked slowly. This is a perfect substitute for beef shank that doesn’t have to break the bank.
Silverside beef is simply another name for a meat cut that comes from the hindquarters of the cow. This is another part of the cow’s body that is full of muscle from regular movement, which explains why it can be quite tough.
But this toughness makes it perfect for slow cooking. There isn’t much fat in this type of meat, which makes it a great low fat option. If this is something that you are looking for from your meat, then this could be the perfect alternative for you.
Skirt steak is one of the most versatile cuts of meat that you can substitute because it can either be slow cooked or cooked normally, depending on your preferences.
The skirt cut is taken from the plate section, which is below the ribs of the cow, and this type of meat is very fatty. There isn’t muscle in this area, so the meat tends to be quite soft and fatty.
Although, even though it can conveniently slot into most beef-based meals, it can take quite a bit of work to prepare it correctly.
If you do not cut it against the grain in thin strips, then it could result in the meat being quite tough. If you decide not to slow cook this meat, then you should ensure that you don’t forget to char it first, as it will otherwise turn out quite dry and overdone.
Are Beef Shanks and Short Ribs the Same Thing?
No, beef shanks and short ribs are not the same thing. As we have already mentioned, beef shank actually comes from the leg of the cow, either from the front or back of the leg.
On the other hand, short ribs can come from either the brisket, chuck, plate, or ribs of the cow. Short ribs can be quite similar to beef shank in the sense of where the meat comes from, but they do not provide the same flavor or texture as one another.
Short ribs won’t have the same meat as beef shank, so they are very different in this aspect.
You might be wondering why it matters what part of the cow the meat comes from, and this is actually because every part of the animal will cook differently.
Tougher meats are going to need a lot of cooking time if you want them to be soft, whereas softer meats can be cooked in less time. As well as this, the flavor and texture of different types of meat cuts is going to vary.
Meats that are more tender and that contain more fat can be cooked well in shorter periods of time, like steaks.
Which Cut of Beef is the Most Flavorful?
The most flavorful cut of beef that you can get is rib eye, which is taken from the rib section of the cow. It comes from the upper part of the ribs, as this means that it will contain some of the back muscles too.
This is the perfect cut for marbling, and it is neither too tough nor too soft, unless it has been cooked for too long. Rib eye meat will taste the best when it has been cooked quickly at a high temperature.
Can All Types of Beef Be Slow Cooked?
Yes, you could slow cook any cut of beef if you wanted to, but this all depends on the outcome that you are trying to create.
If you want to create beef that is more tender but that still has a good amount of texture, then you should consider using a tougher type of meat. Ribs will work particularly well for this purpose, but you can use other types of meat too.
When it comes to cooking beef, the longer you cook it, the tougher it will be. On the other hand, it then gets softer and more tender. If the meat starts out quite tough, then slow cooking is the best method of cooking.