9 Best Beef Shank Substitutes With Images

beef shank substitute

Beef Shank comes is a lean cut that comes from the leg portion of an animal. And since beef shanks are lean, it can make a pretty good low-fat ground beef. It is mostly used in soups, dishes and stews. There are other recipes that requires a certain cuts from the meat. Although Beef shank is considered to one of the best quality of beef cuts there is, often times it is not readily available and easily accessible, not to mention it can take much of the preparation time. This is when beef shank substitute comes in. There are different beef shank substitute that you could get your hands on, read on here for more details.

Best Beef Shank Substitutes

Beef Shank is usually cut into cross sections. That way you will be getting both the meaty and the fatty portions in a single cut. Beef shank are also known for as Beef Hindshank, Cross-cut shanks, Beef shank steak, For Shank for soup or Hindshank for soup.

Beef shank is a widely popular ingredient of Osso Bucco, an Italian dish that when served is topped with parsley, garlic and then squeezed with orange zest.

Since shanks are taken from the leg, and think about what the animal does all day: walking, standing and walking some more, the texture of the meat tends to be thick and stiff as well. When preparing Beef shank, low and slow cooking suits it best and gives promising results. However, since as mentioned shanks texture are thick, another way to soften it is by simply Braising using a slow cooker machine.

If at some point you are unable to get beef shanks for your slow cooked dishes, we have gathered some of the best beef shank substitute that you can use as an alternative.

Beef Arm Roast

Beef Arm Roast comes from the arm or shoulder of an animal, as the name suggests. And just like the legs of the animal, the shoulders are also used frequently therefore making the texture of this part to be thick and tough too just like with beef shank making beef roast arm a best substitute for beef shank.

Since Beef arm roast is tough, braising is the ideal cooking method. For the meat to become soft and tender, it needs to undergo slow cooking as well. That way the juice from the meat are released while at the same time absorbing the liquid brought about by braising.

Similar to beef shank, beef arm roast also has low-fat content, another great characteristic to be a substitute for beef shank.

Chuck roast

Similar to Beef arm roast, Chuck roast also comes from the shoulders of the animals. Although, Chuck can also be taken out from the animal’s neck, but the result can be entirely different. The shoulders of the animal are used up more frequently for that part to be more tough and muscled, making it the best substitutes for beef shank. Chuck taken from the neck are not as tough as compared to the ones taken from the shoulder, but they have a good fat content.

Chuck roast is also known for as Shoulder steak, Chuck Shoulder pot roast and Boneless chuck roast.


Oxtail, as its name suggests, is located and taken out from the tail of the animal. It is filled with excellent, delicious high fat. However though, Oxtails are quiet expensive probably because of its availability, demand and how it is prepared.

If you are on a tight budget, you might want to skip this one out as a substitute for beef shank. But if you are looking for that flavorful and delicious meal, getting your hand on Oxtail is worth it.


Silverside cut is another excellent choice for your beef shank substitute. It is a cut taken out from the hindquarter of the animal, basically just about the leg cut. Silverside cut is made from the outside of the outer leg section of the animal. And since this cut also comes from the leg (frequently used part), the meat tends to be tough and muscular as well.

For tough meat, the best way to cook it is slow cooking, this will help tenderized and soften the meat. For a more flavorful broth, you can use your own braising liquid. Examples of which are beef stock, tomato sauce, mushroom soup and red wine. Not to mention adding bits of herbs, veggies and seasonings.

Silverside cut has lesser fat content, an ideal cut for those who are conscious about their fat intake.

Skirt steak

Skirt is a cut of beef from the plate of the animal, just below the ribs. A type of meat cut that is very fatty with a lot of connective tissues.

Skirt steak is perhaps the most flexible meat from the lists, you can either slow cook the meat or you can quickly cook it by putting on a grill, either way it can still preserve its flavor and moisture as well.

Skirt steak is another best alternative to replace beef shank that is best eaten when cooked medium to medium-rare.

Beef tendon

Beef tendon are basically a part of the animal’s connective tissue. It is located in between the bones and the muscles.

Another best substitutes for beef shank. Similar to beef shank, it is a lean meat and does not contain too much fat. But it does require additional amount of its cooking time as compared to other beef cuts.

Beef tendons are not easily and readily available in most of the supermarkets in the US, but is widely popular in Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Filipino and Vietnamese Cuisines. Used in most recipes such as stews and soups for slow cooked meal.

Short ribs

Another great alternative for beef shank is the Short ribs cut. This cut is taken from the chuck and section of the animal. Considered to be very fatty then when slow cooked could result to a rich and flavorful, and tender meat.

The meat taken from the ribs are tough but at the same time chewy as well. Most of the time, short ribs are eaten best when grilled but the braising method could be ideal too.

Veal shank

Veal shanks comes from the hind shank and fore shanks of the animal, it is the leg bone just under the knees shoulders. Veal Shanks are usually cut in cross-cut, revealing the cross section of the shin bone ( A large bone that is found on the animals lower legs). It is usually taken from mature male animals for the meat the more tougher meat as well.

A matured veal shank is the perfect alternative for beef shank as they have the same tough meat.

Always remember that veal shanks taken from the hind shanks are more bigger and provides more meat as compared to the ones taken from the fore shank.

Beef neck

Beef, as the name presents, are meat cuts taken from the neck portion of the animal. Meat from the neck is not the most tender cut since the neck muscles of the cow are always moving. Though it contains a considerable amount of fat perfect for slow cooking to tenderize the meat and you can also use other cooking options as it also allows for quick cooking as well.

When using a slow cooker, the beef neck is a great substitute for beef shank.

Tips when choosing beef shank substitute

  • For stews, soups and braised or slow cooked dish: the perfect beef shank alternative that we can recommend are the beef arm roast, chuck roast, silverside and the beef tendon. These type of beef cut are tough but can easily get tender and soft.
  • For grilling meat as another cooking method: The skirt steak, short ribs and beef neck are the perfect cut of meat as beef shank alternative. Aside from it also allows for slow cooking, these type of beef cut does not usually take much of the cooking time process.
  • Oxtail and Veal Shank cuts may be the last on the lists of beef shank substitute, its richness in flavor can still be a great option as an alternative for beef shank. Despite being out of the budget kind of meat, Oxtail meat can definitely worth it.


For how long beef shank take to cook it?

To achieve a more tender and softer beef shank meat, allow it to cook the least is 4 up to 6 hours using the low and slow cooking method. You can also use a pressure cooker, that way cooking process will be reduced.

For how long should you braised beef shank?

If beef shank is not cooked longer, it will not become tender and will still be thick and tough. Another way to tenderize beef shank is by braising it. Allowing it to boil for at least 180 minutes.

Are beef shank same as short ribs?

No, they are not the same. Simply because beef shank comes from the cattle’s leg (front or bank), whilst the ribs comes from the chuck and rib area, the plate and brisket. Although both are somewhat similar in relation to where the cut was taken, however the only difference is that amount of meat that each part give.

Can all meat be slow cooked?

Most of the time, meats that are tough and thick is ideal for slow cooking dishes. The slow cook process allows the meat to be tenderize and soften at the same time.

Tough meat are muscles that usually comes from section or part of the animal’s body that is constantly moving such as walking, standing. This means that the muscles that are exercised more becomes a tough meat when cut.

Are Beef shank good meat for making stew?

Yes, definitely! Beef shank meat are the perfect meat for when making soups and stews. An example of a stew that uses beef shank is the beef bourguignon.


There are other different alternatives for beef shank, you may want to try each one whichever is available and accessible for you to know which one suits you best.

We hope that this guide has helped you understand and learn that even when you do not have access to a beef shank not to worry as there are other beef shank substitute you can use.

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