Calf Ribs were the first thing on my agenda with the fresh calf moose this season. I’m glad Phil appreciated the post. On deck: bone-in shank.
I’ve ccoked a few beef shanks over the past few months – it even appeared at my 30th birthday party. So when it came to butchering the calves this week, I decided to take the shanks whole and bone-in – to try using them as I would beef.
I dread shanks when butchering. They’re usually one of the last things you tackle, right when you’re getting tired. And they’re full of sinew and silverskin so cleaning them to my anal standards for the burger bowl takes forever. So victory #1, cutting the thing off whole with my handy power tool makes quick work on butchering day. Also looks Fintstone-esque [much like the rib racks].
Victory #2 occurred in the kitchen. I have finally confirmed that moose shank has very similar properties to, and is just as enjoyable as, beef shank. I’m so pleased with myself. 3 decades I’ve eaten moose. And I’ve never had shank done right. Borderline ridiculous.
So that’s two for two on the bone-in cuts this year. Had I not taken them, the pull-apart-goodness would be tucked away in a pack of ground burger somewhere, and the ribs would have been enjoyed by magpies and an eagle.
For the googlers:
1 whole, bone-in moose shank, trimmed
1 bottle big red wine [I used white. Use red.] tsp black peppercorns
a few sprigs of fresh herbs [I used sage and thyme] 4 cloves garlic
1/2 an onion
1 carrot [optional]
Add all ingredients to a pan or ziploc and marinade the cut for a day. I did it for two, flipping it each day. Once marinaded, you need to dry it, and reserve the marinade and its ‘stuff’. I set the shank on a rack over a baking sheet and tossed it in the fridge for a half-day.
Next step: sear it. Season like you mean it with salt and pepper. Get a couple tbsp of oil hot in the braising vessel and brown the shank over medium heat. Be patient, don’t burn the stuck-on-bits, and go for a good brown. Preheat your oven to 300F.
Next step: add back the marinade, and enough water to come half-way up the meat. Cover tightly – I used foil. Into the oven it goes. For 4-6 hours. It should be pull-apart tender, but not mushy. Feel free to check it.
I made a gravy with the cooking liquor, and served it with brown rice pilaf and red cabbage. Next time, I’ll be using rosemary, jacking the sauce with black-currant jam, and letting a bottle of bordeaux breathe for a couple hours before dinner.