What Is Beef Banana Shank? The Key Facts

Are you looking for a new cut of beef to try in your cooking?

Look no further than the beef banana shank!

This lesser-known cut comes from the leg of the cow and is known for being tough and sinewy. But with the right cooking techniques, it can become incredibly tender and flavorful.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about beef banana shank, from its origins to how to cook it to perfection.

So grab a seat and get ready to learn about this delicious and versatile cut of beef.

What Is Beef Banana Shank?

Beef banana shank is a cut of beef that comes from the leg of the cow. It is also known as beef shank or gravy beef, depending on the country. This cut is tough and sinewy due to the constant use of the muscle by the animal. However, it is also very lean and can be used to prepare low-fat ground beef.

The beef banana shank is an ideal cut for braising or slow cooking in moist heat. When cooked for a long time, it becomes incredibly tender and flavorful. This makes it a popular ingredient in soups, stews, and braised dishes.

The Origins Of Beef Banana Shank

The origins of beef banana shank can be traced back to the upper half of the cow leg. This part of the animal is known for its tough, sinewy texture due to the constant use of the muscle. As a result, this cut of meat is not commonly used in Western cuisine but is heavily utilized in Chinese cuisine for beef noodle soups and braises.

It is possible to find beef banana shank at Asian markets, and some grassfed beef purveyors will also sell this cut. In the United States, beef shank cuts are considered to be low value due to the high density of connective tissue within the cuts. Therefore, the majority of beef shank meat produced in the US is turned into ground beef.

Despite its low value in some countries, beef banana shank is a popular ingredient in traditional Chinese dishes such as Jiang Niu Rou/酱牛肉. This sliced beef shank dish is commonly served as an appetizer at Chinese banquets or fancy meals for special occasions. It is also a must-have dish for those who enjoy Bai Jiu/白酒 (a type of Chinese liquor) with food.

Nutritional Value Of Beef Banana Shank

Beef banana shank is not only delicious but also highly nutritious. It is rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining good health. For instance, it is an excellent source of zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B6, and potassium. These nutrients play a crucial role in various bodily functions such as immune system function, energy production, and bone health.

In terms of calories, beef banana shank is relatively low in calories compared to other cuts of beef. A package of approximately 3.5-4lbs contains only 341.7 calories. Additionally, it is a good source of protein, with one cooked piece containing 57.3g of protein.

It is worth noting that the nutritional value of beef banana shank may vary depending on how it is prepared. For instance, if it is cooked in a lot of fat or oil, the calorie count may be higher than when it is simmered or braised in moist heat.

How To Choose And Prepare Beef Banana Shank

When choosing beef banana shank, look for a piece of meat that has a good balance of lean meat and tendon. The tendon is important to achieve the right texture of the final dish. It is also important to trim any excess fat off the beef before cooking. Carefully slide your knife across the meat, pulling up the fat as you go.

To prepare the beef banana shank for cooking, you’ll want to clean the beef thoroughly and remove all the blood and scum by giving it a quick boil. Then, cut the shank into two to three 1 lb. chunks. This will make it easier to fit all the meat into a smaller pot.

When cooking, make sure to use a pot that’s not too deep or wide for this recipe, since you want the meat to be submerged as much as possible by the braising liquid. Add enough water or broth to submerge the meat about 2/3 of the way. You can also add other ingredients like spices, vegetables, and herbs to enhance the flavor.

Simmer the beef banana shank in moist heat for a long period of time until it becomes tender and delicious. This can be done in a slow cooker, on the stovetop, or in an Instant Pot. Once cooked, let it cool down in the braising liquid for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. This allows you to slice the beef without it falling apart later.

To serve, slice the beef thinly and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. The dish is meant to be served cold or at room temperature and can be enjoyed on its own or with rice and noodles on the side.

By following these steps, you can prepare a delicious and satisfying Chinese Spiced Braised Beef Shank that will be sure to impress your friends and family.

Cooking Techniques For Beef Banana Shank

Cooking beef banana shank requires some specific techniques to ensure that it comes out tender and flavorful. Here are some tips to help you prepare this cut of meat:

1. Soak the beef: Before cooking, soak the beef in water for at least 30 minutes to remove any excess blood. This will help to reduce any gamey taste and improve the overall flavor of the dish.

2. Marinate the beef: To add more flavor to the beef banana shank, marinate it in a mixture of soy sauce, fermented bean curd, soybean paste, and other herbs and spices. Coat the beef evenly with the marinade and let it sit for at least an hour before cooking.

3. Simmer on low heat: Place the marinated beef in a pot and add enough water to cover it. Add additional herbs and spices such as star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and cinnamon for extra flavor. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Let it cook for at least an hour and a half or until the meat is fork-tender.

4. Refrigerate before slicing: Once the beef is cooked, remove it from the pot and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or overnight. This will firm up the meat and make it easier to slice thinly.

5. Save the stock: The leftover stock can be drained and stored for later use as a master stock. This stock can be used as a base for soups, stews, or other braised dishes.

By following these cooking techniques, you can ensure that your beef banana shank is tender, flavorful, and delicious. Experiment with different herbs and spices to find your perfect flavor combination!

Recipes To Try With Beef Banana Shank

If you’re looking to try beef banana shank in your cooking, there are plenty of delicious recipes to choose from. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Taiwanese Braised Beef Shank: This family recipe guarantees tender and flavorful beef shank every time. Pair it with noodles or rice, or enjoy it on its own as an appetizer. Pro tip: freeze the broth for extra flavorful beef shank every time!

To make this recipe, rinse off peppercorns and place the beef shank in an Instant Pot along with all the ingredients. Close the lid, turn the pressure valve to the “Sealing” position, and press the [Pressure Cook] button for 35 minutes of cooking time. When it’s done, wait another 10 minutes before slowly releasing the pressure and opening the lid. Take out the cooked beef shank and place it into a clean container. Chill for 4 hours, slice and serve.

2. Beef Shank Osso Buco: This Italian dish is made by braising beef shank in a tomato-based sauce until it becomes fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve it over creamy polenta for a hearty and comforting meal.

To make this recipe, season the beef shank with salt and pepper, then dredge it in flour. Brown it on all sides in a large pot or Dutch oven, then remove it from the pot and set it aside. In the same pot, sauté onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until they’re soft and fragrant. Add canned tomatoes, chicken broth, white wine, and herbs (such as bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary) to the pot and stir to combine. Return the beef shank to the pot and bring everything to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 2-3 hours, or until the beef is tender.

3. Beef Shank Pho: This Vietnamese soup is made with a fragrant broth that’s simmered for hours with spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. Thinly sliced beef shank is added to the soup just before serving.

To make this recipe, start by making the broth: simmer beef bones (such as oxtail or neck bones), onions, ginger, spices, and water for several hours until it’s rich and flavorful. Strain out the solids and return the broth to the pot. Add sliced onions, fish sauce, and sugar to taste. Cook rice noodles according to package instructions and divide them among serving bowls. Top with thinly sliced raw beef shank (it will cook in the hot broth), chopped scallions, cilantro leaves, and bean sprouts. Ladle hot broth over everything and serve immediately.

These are just a few examples of how you can use beef banana shank in your cooking. With its rich flavor and tender texture, it’s a versatile cut that can be used in many different dishes. Experiment with different recipes until you find your favorites!