How to Make Beef Shank Tender

by Victor Fonseca ; Updated July 18, 2017

Making beef shanks tender requires a good oven, not a grill.

Olga Makarenko/Hemera/Getty Images

Preparing tender beef shanks ultimately requires the use of an oven, not a grill. While the image of a beef shank sizzling over an open flame is an appetizing one, an oven allows for complete control of the heat. If the shanks are exposed to too much heat, they will crisp and overcook. Browning the shanks in a skillet or oven-safe pan before roasting them locks in the flavor and provides an appealing texture to the meat. When mixed with a beef broth reduction, garlic and carrots, the shanks make for a meal worthy of any special occasion.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thoroughly rub the shanks with salt and pepper.

Pour flour into a mixing bowl or shallow pan and dredge the shanks. Be sure they are completely coated.

Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan or skillet.

Carefully place the shanks in the pan or skillet and cook for approximately five minutes, until browned. Depending on the size of the pan or skillet, you might have to do this in two batches. Add more olive oil as needed.

Place the browned shanks into a large roasting pan and set aside.

Pour beef broth into the sauté pan or skillet and scrape up any cooked into particles until the broth begins to boil. Remove promptly.

Add garlic heads, lemon juice, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and carrots to browned beef shanks in the roasting pan. Pour in the beef broth mixture and cover the roasting pan.

Place the roasting pan into the oven and cook for two or three hours, until the beef is fork-tender.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


  • For optimal tenderness use beef shanks that are less than 2 inches thick.

    If the shanks are not tender after three hours in the oven, allow them to cook -- covered -- for one more hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Photo Credits

  • Olga Makarenko/Hemera/Getty Images

About the Author

Victor Fonseca started writing professionally in 1998. His specialties are history, popular culture, and information technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Southern Methodist University and spent a year studying at the American University of Rome.