The Best Cut Of Meat To Substitute For Beef Shank

Not every cut of beef is a good swap when you can't find exactly what you are looking for. For example, when you come across a tempting osso bucco recipe that specifically calls for beef shank, you may come up empty-handed at the store unless you have access to a butcher shop. There are certainly times when selecting the right cut of meat is a crucial step that can make or break your dish. We're here to explain the best alternative cut of beef to replace shank and what makes it work.

Beef shank meat contains muscle with a lot of connective tissue, and is usually still attached to the bone as well. The tough meat, cut from the upper leg of the cow, requires a long and slow cooking technique like stewing or braising to become tender, so finding an appropriate substitute requires a meaty cut with plenty of tendon to add that flavor and mouthfeel. Of course, a good swap should also be easy to find, as opposed to a treasure hunt. For these reasons, our substitute of choice is a chuck roast. Cut from the shoulder, chuck is rich in connective tissue, offers a strong beefy flavor, and can be cut to size to accommodate any recipe.

Why chuck roast works in beef shank recipes

Chuck roast comprises many different muscles with lots of connective tissue and tendons to connect them, so the long and slow cooking method required for beef shank is perfect for achieving similar texture and flavor. Although other tough cuts braise nicely, chuck roast is the most affordable, and widely available which makes it the perfect substitute. You might even look for a bone-in chuck roast to stand in for the shank if you want to get the additional flavor and nutritional value that comes from bone-in cuts.

So when you're tempted by that luscious osso bucco recipe, or just craving the tender, flavorful taste of braised beef, simply pick up a chuck roast when shank is not available. Sometimes holding out for the right cut of meat is worth the wait, but knowing how to make a smart substitution gives you the option to create a delicious meal now. You can always stock up on the other cuts when you see a good deal at the store.