Star Anise Beef Shank

I have to admit that I double this recipe whenever I can find beef shank. The winter has been amazing because I have been able to get it all the time. When I can find it I buy 12 lbs and freeze half of it. Beef shank is inexpensive and AMAZINGLY delicious! Each slice of shank has a bite of bone marrow and when its cooked just right it falls off the bone. The tendon dissolves into a silky rich sauce.

There are so many recipes that make shank with red wine, but this variation is a more Shainghainese version. There it boneless and served as a cold dish, but here it is presented hot to warm our winter kitchens and bellies.


  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds beef crosscut shank, fat trimmed away
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs fat (I like bacon grease for this dish )
  • 1 large yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 small stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 or fresh shitake mushrooms (or 2 oz of dried soaked to soften in warm water)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • chopped cilantro for garnish


1-Heat an iron skillet over medium high heat. Pat the beef shanks dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Place as many shanks onto the skillet as will fit. Sear the meat about 2 minutes on each side, creating a dark brown crust. When the meat has been thoroughly browned, remove from the pan and place in a dutch oven (or slow cooker). Continue with each batch and set aside on a plate.

2-Turn the heat under the skillet down to medium and add fat, onion, and celery. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is fragrant

3-Add the mushrooms and spices. Layer the meat with the vegetables in the pan. Pour the broth and vinegar over the vegetables and meat. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours at 250 degrees. You will know the meat is done when it is extremely tender and falls away from the bone. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with veggie mash, green beans, salad, stir fried been sprouts. Leftovers won’t last long.