Sous Vide Beef Shank – The Complete Guide to Melt-In-Your-Mouth, Fall-Off-The-Bone Juicy Shanks

As a chef who loves experimenting with new cooking techniques, I was super excited when I discovered sous vide. It opens up a whole new world for turning tough inexpensive cuts of meat into tender masterpieces.

Case in point—the beef shank. This cut is loaded with collagen and can turn out deliciously juicy and fall-apart tender when cooked just right. Of course, sous vide is the perfect method!

In this complete guide I’ll walk through everything I’ve learned about how to sous vide beef shanks to perfection. Here’s what we’ll cover

  • Why beef shank is ideal for sous vide
  • Tips for selecting the best shanks
  • Step-by-step instructions from start to finish
  • How long you really need to sous vide beef shanks
  • Serving ideas for your juicy shanks

Let’s dive in! I can’t wait for you to experience these unbelievable melt-in-your-mouth sous vide beef shanks.

Why Beef Shank Shines with Sous Vide Cooking

For those not familiar, beef shank comes from the legs of the cow. It contains lots of collagen, fat, tendons and small amounts of meat.

When cooked with traditional high-heat methods, shanks can turn out sinewy and tough. But when gently cooked sous vide style, the connective tissues transform into succulent, pull-apart meat that literally falls off the bone.

Here’s why sous vide produces the ultimate beef shanks:

  • Low temp tenderizes tough connective tissues over time
  • Collagen melts into unctuous, mouth-coating richness
  • Moisture and juices are fully retained
  • Inexpensive cut becomes fork-tender luxury
  • Intensifies the deep beefy flavors

With the right time and temp, sous vide shank can beat out pricey cuts like ribeye and tenderloin. Let’s look at picking the best shanks.

Selecting Beef Shanks for Sous Vide

To end up with the most tender and beefy smoked shanks, quality matters. Here are my tips:

  • Choose front shanks – More meaty with lots of connective tissue to break down

  • Get thick, meaty cuts – Thin shanks may dry out before tenderizing fully

  • Pick heavy shanks – Heavier means more meat and collagen

  • Check for marbling – Light marbling provides moisture and beefy flavor

  • Ensure freshness – Fresh shank has no funky smells or dry spots

  • Buy from a trusted source – Ensure you get quality, properly handled shanks

Now it’s time to prep the shanks before bagging them up.

Prepping Beef Shanks for the Water Bath

To fully maximize the sous vide process, proper prep is key:

  • Trim excess fat – Too much surface fat can turn rancid when cooked

  • Remove membranes – Peel off any silverskin for fuller smoke absorption

  • Season generously – Coat with spices, salt and pepper to infuse big flavor

  • Chill beforehand – Quick chilling firms up meat to slice thinly before sous vide

  • Sear if desired – Pre-searing adds a nicely caramelized crust

With the shanks all trimmed up and seasoned, it’s time to bag ’em and tag ’em for the water bath!

Sous Vide Cooking Times and Temps for Beef Shank

Now for the fun part—figuring out the best time and temp combos. Here are my tips:

  • 155-175°F temp range – Lower for medium-rare texture, higher for fall-off-the-bone
  • Time depends on texture – Medium-rare steak-like = 1-2 days. Fall-apart tender = 2-3 days
  • Season before bagging – Salt and spices need time to penetrate the meat
  • Chill after cooking – Quick chill before searing prevents overcooking

I like 175°F for around 2 1/2 to 3 days to get ultimate tender with juices overflowing. But play around to find your perfect time and temp combo.

Finishing Steps After Sous Vide

To add bonus flavor and texture, finish off your shanks with these steps:

  • Sear the exterior – A hot pan or grill caramelizes the surface
  • Slather with sauce – Brush with BBQ or chimichurri sauce before serving
  • Broil to firm up – For steak-like texture, broil 2-3 minutes
  • Torch the top – Wow guests by brulee-ing the surface with a torch

Finish shanks just before serving, as reheating can dry them out. Now let’s talk serving ideas!

Creative Ways to Serve Juicy Sous Vide Shanks

The possibilities are endless for how to serve up these succulent sous vide shanks:

  • Piled high on cheesy polenta
  • Nestled over creamy mashed potatoes
  • Mixed into pasta like osso buco-style
  • On mini buns for slider sandwiches
  • Diced up in empanadas or hand pies
  • Tossed with veggies and pasta salad
  • In tacos with all the fixings
  • Over rice with chimichurri drizzled on top

However you serve ’em up, your guests will be amazed that a tough old shank can turn into such mouthwatering, luxurious eats.

Sous Vide BEEF SHANK Perfection! How to cook BEEF Shank


How long does beef shank take to get tender?

Plan on cooking your beef shanks for at least 4 to 6 hours to transform it from tough and chewy to tender and flavorful. (Or try using a pressure cooker to reduce the time.) However, as beef shanks are cooked slowly at a low temperature, the nutritional value of this cut really comes out.

What temp should beef shank be cooked to?

The internal temperature when the shank starts to really soften will likely be between 200-205 degrees F, but it could go up to 210 degrees F before it feels tender enough. Use an internal thermometer to check temperatures, but also to test for tenderness.

Which cooking method is best for shank?

Braised or slow-cooked is best way to cook lamb shanks. Because they are a tougher cut, the best way to cook lamb shanks is by braising or slow-cooking them in the oven until the meat is fork-tender and the marrow has melted into the rich sauce.

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