11 Beef Shank Substitutes: Vegan Alternatives Included

A beef shank is the cut of meat from the animal’s leg above the knee. It usually contains bone that has succulent marrow inside and is considered a delicacy. The meat is tough but very flavorful. 

These factors make it one of the most delicious and unique parts of beef that’s not easy to replace with any other part. 

However, we have found some good beef shank substitutes in case your recipe calls for it but you don’t have it. We also offer some vegan options to use instead of beef shank. So, let’s go!

The best substitutes for beef shank are beef arm, oxtail, chuck roast, silverside, beef tendon, short ribs, beef neck, round steak, veal shank, vegan beef shank, and tempeh

Best Substitutes for Beef Shank To Try

1. Beef Arm

The beef arm, taken from the shoulder part of the animal, is one of the best cuts to use in place of a beef shank. It is marbled, contains little fat, and comes with a bone just like a beef shank. 

Overall it looks like beef shank and has almost the same firm and chewy texture. It requires slow moisture cooking techniques and can be used the same way as the beef shank. 

You can even use a beef arm for roasting and grilling even though it’s tough. Use proper seasonings and herbs to make it tastier as it tends to absorb flavors while slow-cooking. 

2. Oxtail

Oxtail is a bony yet mellow and lean part of a cow’s tail that becomes tender and silky when cooked. It is very flavorful and goes well with bean soups, pilafs, braising, and stews. 

It requires slow cooking and becomes very subtle in the dish as well as makes the broth very nutritious and delicious. Oxtail is another unique cut and it’s high in fat and rich in flavor. 

You can consider it as a beef shank substitute in slow-cooked dishes. 

The result will be more than satisfying because oxtail tastes different compared to other parts of beef. Note that it’s also more expensive. 

3. Chuck Roast

Chuck roast is similar to arm roast and it’s taken from the shoulder area. It can also come from the neck part, which means it will have a different texture and taste. 

All in all chuck roast has a rich beefy flavor and is tougher than some other parts of beef but not too tough. If cooked properly, it can be quite delicate. You can use slow-cooking techniques when substituting chuck roast for the beef shank. 

Compared to beef shank, chuck roast is fattier and less chewy and it’s a perfect option for those who don’t like chewy beef. 

4. Silverside

Silverside is a large, lean, boneless cut of beef taken from the hind quarter of the animal. It has a wide-grained texture which becomes more delicate when slow-cooked. It tends to bring out its flavor while slow cooking and is often used in braising. 

On the other hand, silverside is a muscular part of beef and is tough enough. So, slow cooking is the best cooking technique to choose for it. You can use it instead of the beef shank in liquid-based dishes including braising, soups, and stews. 

5. Beef Tendon

The beef tendon is situated between the animal’s bones and muscles. It’s a gelatinous piece of meat that is generally used in long-cooked dishes. You can use it in place of the beef shank in braising and soups. 

It becomes tender once cooked properly and it is better to season it or marinate it before cooking. The more you cook it the richer it becomes in flavor. You can simmer it for about 4 hours. 

6. Short Ribs

One of the most delicious beef cuts is short ribs. It’s a bony part but the meat becomes very tender when slow-cooked. You can cook the meat and remove the bones or vice versa if you want a boneless piece. 

This cut of meat is tough and chewy and although it’s not as soft as other parts, it’s very flavorful and tasty when roasted, grilled, or slow-cooked. 

You can use it instead of the beef shank in almost all recipes with the same cooking methods. 

7. Beef Neck

The beef neck is a versatile cut of beef to use both in quick and slow-cooked recipes. You can use it in place of the beef shank in many slow-cooked recipes including soups, stews, braises, and grills. 

You can use a slow cooker for the best result. It becomes tender, soft, and more flavorful when cooked in a slow cooker. 

8. Round Steak 

If you want to substitute beef shank with a boneless piece of meat then round steak can be a great cut to consider. It’s taken from the rare leg of the cow and is firm and tough. 

It contains almost 0 fat which makes it drier when grilled or roasted. So, it’s usually cooked by slow moist-heat methods to make it tender and mellow. 

When substituting round steak for the beef shank, you can use it in beef jerky, fry-steak it, stir-fry with beans, or oven-roast. You need to marinate it before cooking to make sure you’ll get a tender dish. 

9. Veal Shank

Veal is meat from calves that are 6-8 months old. The more mature the animal, the tougher the meat. If you can get a matured veal shank, you can use it instead of a beef shank. 

Veal shank can be used to replace beef shank in many dishes. One of the main differences is that a beef shank is double the width of a typical veal shank. Veal shank is also more expensive than beef shank. 

Note, that the texture will be similar when cooked but the flavor and taste will differ. Veal shank is very rich in flavor, saucy, and delicious. 

10. Vegan Beef Shank

Now let’s discuss something special for vegans. Maybe you are surprised to see this substitute but yes, it exists. You can find vegan beef shank in many grocery stores. It doesn’t contain any animal products and is made of wheat protein, pea protein, and soy protein.

It has the same texture as meat when cooked and is a great replacement for beef shank for vegetarians. The taste is also similar to real beef only with less saturated fats and calories. 

11. Tempeh 

Tempeh is another vegan-friendly meat substitute to use in your diet. It’s a meat-like product made of partially cooked soybeans. It has a chewy texture and a strong nutty flavor.

You can season it with matching seasonings and it will absorb all the flavors. You can marinade it and treat it like meat. So, the result will be very similar to meat-based dishes. 

FAQs on Beef Shank

What is beef shank best for?

Beef shank is usually used in slow-cooked dishes, particularly in soups and stews but you can grill or roast it in a slow cooker too. 

Is beef shank a cheap cut?

Beef shank is among the cheapest cuts of beef but it doesn’t mean it’s less tasty or less flavorful than other cuts. It’s just tough but if cooked properly, it becomes very tender and tastes very delicious. 

How do you know when the beef shank is done?

You know it’s ready when the meat is fork-tender. It usually takes 2+ hours to cook properly. 

Summary

Beef shank is not an expensive cut but it’s not always available in stores. So, keep this list of beef shank substitutes to use an alternative whenever you need it in your recipe. 

Beef shank takes longer to cook and if you have a lack of time you can use quick-cooked cuts of beef in your dishes instead. 

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