Where to Buy Beef Shanks: Your Guide to Purchasing Flavorful Shanks

Beef shanks deliver incredible flavor and make the perfect base for soups, stews, and braises. But this tough cut can be tricky to find compared to everyday steaks and roasts. If you’re wondering where to source these bony but versatile treasures, read on for a guide to buying beef shanks.

What Are Beef Shanks?

Beef shanks come from the leg of the cow. They contain a high proportion of collagen-rich connective tissue that must be cooked low and slow to become tender.

Two major types of beef shank include:

  • Foreshank – Comes from closer to the front hoof and contains the muscle that controls lower leg motion. This is the thinner of the two shanks.

  • Hindshank – Comes from nearer the rear hoof and does the work of propelling the animal. This shank is wider with more meat.

Shanks are sold whole or cross-cut into rounds. The rounds contain cross-sections of bone and meat.

Where to Buy Beef Shanks

Finding quality beef shanks involves a bit more digging than typical steak cuts. Here are some of the best places to buy fresh beef shanks:

  • Butcher shops or meat markets – A full-service butcher is a good first stop to request shanks. Well-stocked shops may have them regularly available or can order them special.

  • Ethnic grocery stores – Mexican, Asian, halal, and kosher markets often carry whole beef shanks for dishes like birria or Asian soups. Quality varies. Inspect closely.

  • Farmers markets – Ask vendors if beef shanks can be specially ordered along with their regular cuts of steaks, roasts, and ground beef. This supports local ranchers.

  • Wholesale clubs – Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club occasionally have value packs of cross-cut beef shank rounds in the fresh meat case or freezer section.

  • Online mail order – Online butchers and specialty meat purveyors like Crowd Cow offer nationwide shipping of whole bone-in beef shanks sourced from high-end ranchers.

  • Large supermarkets – Some higher-end chains like Whole Foods Market carry fresh beef shanks regularly in meat departments or can special order them. Check meat manager.

What to Look for When Buying Beef Shanks

Use these tips to select high-quality beef shanks:

  • Size – Shanks range from 1 to 3 pounds each. Larger shanks have more meat. Opt for hefty hindshanks when possible.

  • Bone-in and whole – Bone-in shanks have the best flavor for braises. Avoid pre-cut slices or boneless.

  • Meat-to-bone ratio – Seek shanks with a higher proportion of meat to bone. Pass on those with scrawny muscle coverage.

  • Fat cap – Some external fat is good. It bastes the meat during cooking. Skimpy or over-trimmed fat caps are less desirable.

  • Color – Fresh shanks are deep red. Avoid any with brown or gray areas.

  • Aroma – Shanks should smell mildly beefy and clean. Pass on shanks with an off-putting sour or ammonia odor.

  • Pack date – Look for shanks with a sell-by date as far out as possible for maximum freshness.

  • Price – Expect to pay $3 to $6 per pound for quality beef shanks depending on the seller. Beware super cheap deals.

With a little effort, you can source excellent shanks for rich homemade soups and stews.

Why Are Beef Shanks a Great Cut?

Although inexpensive, beef shanks offer huge rewards to those willing to put in long, slow cooking time. Here’s why they deserve a place in your kitchen:

Intense Flavor

All that connective tissue breaks down into rich gelatin and infuses the meat with deep flavor during braising. Meat near the bones also absorbs savory taste.

Nutrient Density

Shanks contain high levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals compared to some other cuts. The bone marrow provides additional nutrition.


As a tough working muscle, shanks cost a fraction of popular lean steaks and roasts. You can source top-notch grass-fed shanks for under $6 per pound.


Shanks work in many cuisines. Try them in homemade pho, Italian osso buco, Mexican birria stew, or your family’s signature soup recipe.


A few shanks go a long way. The meat shreds into ample portions after the long cooking time needed to create fall-off-the-bone tender beef.

How Much Meat Do Beef Shanks Yield?

Once cooked low and slow, beef shanks deliver a generous amount of succulent meat:

  • A small 1-pound shank yields around 1 cup of cooked meat.

  • A medium 2-pound shank yields about 2 cups of cooked meat.

  • A large 3-pound shank can yield around 3 cups or more of finished meat.

The exact amount of edible cooked meat depends on the particular shank’s meat-to-bone ratio. But you’ll end up with ample portions to stretch across meals.

Best Cooking Methods for Beef Shanks

Beef shanks require moist cooking methods to become fork-tender after hours in a pot or oven:

  • Braising – Brown shanks then simmer gently in a small amount of liquid like broth, wine, or tomatoes until fall-apart tender, 2 to 3 hours.

  • Stewing – Combine shanks with aromatics and larger amounts of liquid. Simmer longer for 4+ hours until meat shreds easily.

  • Pressure cooking – A pressure cooker cuts shank cooking time significantly, to just 45-60 minutes at pressure.

  • Slow cooking – Add shanks to a slow cooker with vegetables and seasonings. Cook on low heat for 8-10 hours.

Once cooked, the succulent meat is ready to enjoy in your dish of choice or can be removed from bones and shredded.

Top Uses for Beef Shanks

Beyond soups and stews, get creative with how you utilize flavorful braised or stewed beef shanks:

  • Shredded shank meat tacos, burritos, or tamales

  • Shank birria with melted cheese

  • Osso buco-style shanks over risotto

  • Shredded shank sandwiches with gravy

  • Shank hash with potatoes, onions, peppers

  • Shank ragu tossed with pappardelle pasta

  • Shank shepherd’s pie topped with mashed potatoes

Now that you know where to find beef shanks and how to unlock their decadent potential, it’s time to start cooking! These inexpensive cuts deliver some of the most mouthwatering results with little hands-on effort. Just be sure to leave plenty of time for the low, slow braising that makes them irresistible.

Costco Beef Shank / Costco 2024 / Beef Shank Recipe / Osso Buco Recipe / Costco Meat / ASMR Cooking


What is beef shank called in the store?

The shank cross cut is the only real cut, but it goes by different names. These include the beef fore shank and the beef Osso Bucco cut. Shank meat is generally cut horizontally in thin slices. The cut resembles a steak with a leg bone circle.

Why can’t i find beef shank?

However, one that you are not likely ever going to see are beef shanks. Perhaps one of the most affordable cuts of beef available, the shank doesn’t sell well as other cuts for one simple reason: It’s very tough. The shank is sourced from the forearm of the cow, just between the brisket and the short plate.

Are beef shanks cheap?

Low cost per pound (less than $3/lb Steakhouse and $4/lb Organic) Easy. Just braise (slow cook) it, or, get a little more creative.

What meat is closest to beef shank?

To wrap it up, there are several substitutes for beef shank that you can use in your recipes. The top 5 choices are chuck roast, brisket, short ribs, skirt steak, and oxtail. While these options may all be different, they will help you create a tasty meal without anybody noticing that you used a substitute.

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