Braising beef shanks in a rich Guinness ale flavored liquid yields melt-in-your mouth tender meat. This recipe transforms osso bucco style cross-cut beef shanks into flavorful fall-off-the-bone beef perfection. This osso bucco beef is cozy enough to enjoy on a cold weather weekend and classy enough to serve at a dinner party, especially if Irish themed.
Go straight to the Recipe Card or
Read on for relevant tips and step-by-step pictures
Our Osso Bucco Braised Beef Shanks Recipe
This recipe delivers richly tasting and extremely tender beef and you can add it to your arsenal of beef dishes with confidence. It is based on an old-fashioned Irish dish known as Beef in Guinness and the specific cut being braised is beef shank or as the Italians call it – osso bucco. The Irish cut the meat into cubes. We leave it as it for a spectacular presentation.
The traditional Irish recipe allows for chuck short ribs in the event that the tougher shanks are not on hand. You can certainly use those instead. Commonly the dish is served as a stew. Some original recipes use carrots and many call for homemade herb dumplings cooked over the braise during its final minutes.
We prefer the simplified version we present here. All you have to do is sear the meat, saute some onions, add Guinness and then slow cook until the beef becomes succulent. Which it always does.
What is Osso Bucco?
Osso bucco is the Italian name for a thick cross-cut of beef shank or veal shank. Veal is the original, but beef is much cheaper and easier to find.
The disc-shaped cut also contains part of the leg bone and its bone marrow which explains the name’s meaning – a bone with a hole. A cross cut from a pork shank is often called pork osso bucco.
Where Does Beef Shank Come From?
It comes from just underneath the leg of the animal, where it connects with the foot. Naturally, there are foreshanks and hindshanks. The osso bucco from the hindshank is considered more desirable because it tastes richer and the bone is circular and wider than that of the foreshank.
Why Braise Meat Such as Beef Shank?
Braising uses moist heat to cook the tough meat slowly at low temperature. It dissolves the connective tissues and renders the beef exquisitely fork tender.
Ingredients for Beef Osso Bucco (Braised Beef Shank) in Guinness
Beef shank discs. Ideally, select osso buco style cross cut beef shanks (shown above) or beef chuck short ribs as they are most flavorful.
Salt & pepper. To season the beef. Use liberally.
Cooking oil. To sear the beef and then saute the onions.
Onions. We like to use shallots or red onions, but yellow or white onions work just fine.
Flour. Acts as a thickener. Either lightly coat pieces of beef before searing them or add directly to the softened onions, or both.
Beer. Because this is fundamentally an Irish dish Guinness or a craft Irish stout is the brew of choice. Milk stout, porters and brown ales will work wonderfully as well.
Brown sugar. Added to the braising liquid – it counters the faint bitterness present in Irish stouts due to the roasted barley in their grain bill.
Spices. Thyme and bay leaf for the braising liquid and fresh parsley for garnish.
How to Braise Beef Shanks
- Sear the meat first:
- Trim excess fat, season liberally and sear until each side is brown (#1 and #2 above).
- If using cubed beef, season liberally and brown on all sides without overcrowding the pan.
- Remove the beef and saute the sliced onion along with the thyme (#3). Add flour and cook for about a minute (#4), then deglaze with a bit of stout (#5) and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan (#6).
- Add the rest of the Guinness, the brown sugar and the bay leaves (#7). Stir, add back the beef and bring to boil (#8). Once boiling cover and transfer to the oven.
- About two and half to three hours later the meat will be incredibly tender and you can present the glorious results family style for a rustic meal or serve individually plated. We are very partial towards the former and usually opt for fresh bread for mopping up the delicious juices. Other serving ideas are listed below.
TIP: An immense advantage of braising beef osso buco is that the bone marrow seeps into the braising liquid and boosts the flavor base.
TIP: Because excess fat is trimmed before cooking the meat typically you won’t have to skim fat from the braising dish.
Serve the Irish Braised Beef Shanks with These Sides
Even though braised beef shank is a dish suitable for any time of the year we love making it for Saint Patrick’s Day. It is unpretentious, loaded with rich flavors and pairs superbly with Irish stout and brown bread.
Other side dishes you can serve with it include:
- Beer potatoes
- Steamed kale – remove leaves from tough stem, give a rough chop and steam, then drizzle with seasoned melted butter
- Honeyed parsnips – blanch peeled parsnips, quartered lengthwise for 3-5 minutes, then toss with oil and honey and baked at 350 F until tender)
- Polenta – in the spirit of veal osso buco which is traditionally served with this side
- Mushroom risotto
- Orzotto (barley risotto)
Pair Osso Bucco Braised Beef Shanks With
Beer. More Guinness or other Irish stout, Irish red, porter, brown ale, or a winter warmer ale when in season. If you’d rather open a lager go with schwarzbier, dunkel, bock or doppelbock.
Wine. Rich, but not spicy reds such as malbec, smooth, low tanin merlot, chianti.
Other Recipes You Might Like
Irish Brown Bread with Guinness
Beer Braised Short Ribs
Roasted Beef Marrow Bones
Irish Champ Potatoes
Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Garlic & Herbs
Guinness Lamb Stew
Osso Bucco Braised Beef Shanks with Guinness
Traditional Irish recipe for Guinness braised beef shank (cross cut) or chuck short ribs. Braise the beef osso buco style or cut it in cubes before searing - your choice.
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 1/2 lbs beef osso bucco cross-cut shanks*
- salt and pepper (to taste, but use liberally)
- 6 medium shallots or 2 large red onions, sliced thin
- 4-5 sprigs fresh tyme, chopped
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 16 oz Guinness or other Irish stout**
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
2. Trim any excess fat from the periphery of the beef shanks and season liberally with salt and pepper.
3. Over medium-high heat heat a braiser or a flameproof casserole and add the cooking oil. Nicely brown the osso bucco beef on both sides. Remove temporarily.
4. Lower the heat to medium. Saute the onions with the thyme (if needed add a little bit more cooking oil).
5. When the onions are translucent stir in the flour, cook for about 1 minute and deglaze with some of the stout, scraping off brown bits from the bottom.
6. Add the rest of the stout, the brown sugar and bay leaves, increase the heat and stir. Add back the beef and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven.
7. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender. You may start checking on it shortly after the 2 hour mark to get an idea of how much longer you want to cook it.
8. Remove from the oven and discard the bay leaves before serving.
*The advantage of braising osso bucco beef shanks whole is that the bone marrow flavors the braising liquid during cooking. You can always portion the meat once cooked and remove the bones if you wish.
**Other suitable beer styles for this dish are porters and brown ales.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 736Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 1295mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 53g
Sadly we can’t get Guinness in Corfu, Greece during the winter months. We have a “local” brown beer called “Fix Dark”, it’s not quite the same as the “Black Stuff” but is an excellent substitute.
Have cooked this with Fix and was very tasty…Thanks for the recipe. 😘 Surprisingly a lot of Corfiot’s have come around to dark beer during the winter. They find it too heavy during the summer ? I am in the process of converting some of the locals ! I gave this recipe to one of my Greek friends for his wife to cook. The result was “Poly Omorfo” ! “Very beautiful”. He asked me if I was Irish, I told him no, I’m Welsh. He walked off with a confused look on his face ! 😂
Mel, thank you so much for sharing this story! Absolutely warmed our hearts, had a good laugh and so happy you liked the dish:)
You’ve got a typo in your URL page title for this one “Auhtentic Beef in Guinness…” – or is that a title with an Irish accent ;).
I’m adapting this one for the slow cooker and using “Squirrel Chaser” Hazy Pale Ale from Yellow Dog Brewing Co. (local Brewery). I’ll let you know how it goes and thanks for this :).
Thank you so much!! Of course it was Irish accent:) That sounds really interesting to use a fruity, citrusy pale with strong malty backbone. Let us know!
What a fabulous recipe! The beef comes out so incredibly tender and flavorful. Talk about serious comfort food. Can’t wait to make this again!
Fabulous…this is an amazing recipe!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
Seriously, this is making me salivate. It looks sooo tender and fall-apart delicious! I am pinning this and definitely trying it soon. YUM, guinness and beer!!
This beef looks so flavourful! Perfect for celebrating Paddy’s Day (which we do a lot of around here!)! I actually have a Guinness beef recipe coming to the blog soon. (If I can just get my act together and photograph it!). This recipe is motivating me to get on it! Happy Monday!
Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers says
Wow! What a beautiful pot that is. I need your butcher 🙂 You always have the most fabulous looking cuts of meat. A perfect pot for St. Pat’s.
Thank you, Jennifer! These cross cut shanks actually came from the case at our local King Soopers – they do a good job as well:) Happy you like the looks – so delicious!