How to Cook a Beef Hind Shank in a Slow Cooker

Prepared Osso buco Veal shank and mashed potatoes


The hind shank is typically one of the most inexpensive cuts of beef. It's usually sold in rounds, cut 1 to 2 inches thick, with a section of marrowbone left in place. Shanks are among the richest-flavored of all beef cuts, but there's a catch. They're exceptionally tough, and only suitable for long, slow cooking. Countertop slow-cookers provide a convenient way to cook your shanks unattended while you go about your day.

Wipe the cut surfaces of the shank pieces with a clean paper towel to remove any bone fragments or other debris from the butcher's saw.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a spoonful of oil and sear your shank pieces thoroughly on each side. Sear just one or two pieces at a time, until they're all well browned. Searing is optional but adds a great deal of flavor.

Season the shank pieces liberally with salt and pepper, and transfer them to the preheated crock of your slow cooker. Add onions, garlic, celery, spices or other flavorings as desired, then pour in a cup or two of beef broth.

Slow-cook the shanks for six to eight hours on your cooker's "Low" setting, or three to four hours on "High." The "Low" setting gives a richer, more flavorful final result and is usually preferable.

Test the shanks at the end of their cooking time to ensure they're fork-tender. If not, let them cook for another hour. Remove the shanks from the slow cooker with a slotted spoon, and transfer them to a serving tray.