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Oct 14, 2009 03:52 PM

question about cutting beef shank for beef noodle soup

I had a really hard time cutting the beef shank into pieces for Taiwanese beef noodle soup. Does anyone have any tricks or tips regarding cutting the beef shank? Also, does anyone have a pressure cooker recipe for cooking Taiwanese beef noodle soup?

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  1. What do you mean you are having a hard time cutting the beef shank?

    I generally just cut the beef shank into 1.5 to 2 inch strips (or cubes), and then brown them before adding them to simmer and stew in the broth.

    I wouldn't use a pressure cooker for the broth.

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      The beef shank had a lot of sinew which made it hard to cut through. Maybe I am not cutting the beef shank properly. When cutting the beef shank to pieces, do you cut it in such a way that you avoid cutting through the sinew?

      1. re: shorty68

        The beef in the soup is usually cut through the sinews. I suspect you may just need a sharper knife.

        I think I'll go to the beef noodle soup shop for lunch, now....

          1. re: shorty68

            Try a serrated knife if your straight edge knife isn't working.

            1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

              I was using a serrated knife to cut the beef shank. Maybe I need to try sharpening the knife. I think that cooking it whole would cause the cook time to increase. The cook time is already around 2.5 hours as it is.

              1. re: shorty68

                Cooking a whole piece of shin or shank meat should not take more than 3.0 hours.

                1. re: shorty68

                  Cut it, or more precisely cube the meat, first before cooking it.

                  Don't cook it whole.

          2. I do not know your recipe for Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup...not knowing your preparation process begs the question are you trying to cut through the shank meat raw or already cooked? If the meat has been already braised, cutting should be quite easy after cooled. if you are cutting raw to cook into the soup/broth, I suspect you just need a sharper or better knife.

            12 Replies
            1. re: fourunder

              Do most people cut the beef shank before or after cooking it?

              1. re: shorty68

                I can't speak for most people, but anytime I see an Asian Style Noodle Soup served with Beef Shin Meat, it has always been served with the shin meat that has been braised WHOLE beforehand in a Soy Sauce or Master Soy Sauce Recipe for a few hours, cooled or chilled and then sliced across and laid on top of the soup. The heat from the soup makes the meat warm and tender.

                Personally, boiling beef may make it tender, but it would probably be completely tasteless in my opinion. Beef pieces in itself do very little to add flavor to need the bones.





                1. re: fourunder

                  Shank is high in connective tissue, that's why the OP is having a hard time cutting it. Cook that long enough so that it 'melts' and you have a lot of body in your broth.

                  I've bought beef shank in both the cross cut steaks, and whole (or rather half) banana shank. I don't think the muscle fibers are that much tougher than many other cuts, but there are a number of different muscles (bundles) each with a sheath connecting it to tendons.

                  1. re: fourunder


                    Those aren't recipes for traditional Chinese beef noodle soup.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Fourunder's eatingclubvancouver has a like to this beef noodle soup


                      In this recipe the shank muscles are separated before cooking (i.e. cut lengthwise giving you a number of muscles bundles). Then after cooking (and chilling) it is cut crosswise into bite size pieces.

                      "I found that braising the whole fiber of shank muscle was a better way to serve this wonderful dish. Not only was the soup pot less crowded, I was able to make nice slices - the same way cha shu pork is served in Japanese ramen shops. It's more presentable, easier to eat and shows the grains within the shank meat."

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Do you have a good recipe for traditional Taiwanese beef noodle soup?

                        1. re: shorty68

                          Sure, it's old family recipe (courtesy of my mom):

                          3 lbs of beef shank or short ribs
                          5 cloves smashed garlic
                          5 whole star anise
                          3/4 cup of rock sugar (or brown sugar)
                          1 tablespoon of allspice
                          1 tablespoon sichuan pepper
                          2 chunk of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
                          2 3-inch long peeled pieces of dried tangerine skin
                          2 medium tomatoes (hothouse variety preferably), quartered
                          1 cup of dark soy sauce
                          1 cup of shao xing rice wine (or sherry)
                          5 cups of cold water
                          1 cup of coffee (room temp)

                          Cut the beef shank into 1.5 inch cubes

                          Bring water, soy sauce, rice wine, rock sugar, ginger, garlic,, tangerine peel, star anise, all spice, sichuan pepper, allspice and tomatoes, to a boil in a large pot, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

                          Add cubed beef and gently simmer, covered, for about 2.5 hours, Let the meat rest for about 1.5 hours, or overnight for best results.

                          Cook noodles, and reserve the noodle water.

                          Place noodles in a bowl, garnish with some raw roughly chopped spinach.

                          Bring the beef noodle soup to a boil, ladle it over the noodles and spinach. Add some of the reserved noodle water to adjust the level of saltiness to your preferences.

                          Serve and enjoy.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            I have never seen any beef noodle soup recipes with coffee. That sounds interesting.

                            1. re: shorty68

                              The coffee may just add a hit of background bitterness, and some color. I haven't used it in soups, but I know that in baking, a cup of straight coffee doesn't do much.

                            2. re: ipsedixit

                              I have been comparing different recipes. I have not seen as much sugar used in the other recipes for the same amount of meat/liquid. Do you usually use 3/4 cup of sugar or less?

                              1. re: shorty68

                                The coffee acts as a counterbalance, as does the orange peels and sichuan peppers.

                        2. re: fourunder

                          This link
                          says nothing about the bones. There is some talk about steaming having more flavor than poaching, but in the end, when using 'beef shin' it is poached - that is cooked enough liquid to cover. But, that liquid is not tossed - the meat is served with rice and 'lots of poaching liquid (aka sauce).

                          The meat was cut into large pieces (most lengthwise), and total cooking time was 4 hours. Notice also the white tissue running through the meat pieces - that's what you need to cook till it 'melts'. At least in Seattle stores, meat like this is often called banana shank.

                          This reminds me of another Asian (99Ranch) cut - drop flank. This is a long flat stip of meat with tough connective tissue on both sides. I think it is diaphragm, though I've never gotten a clear identification. The drop flank stew that I've seen in their deli had a thick rich sauce (chu hou?) and vegetables like daikon and turnip. The meat has the contrasting textures that Chinese like, some tender, some still quite chewy.

                    2. Eatingclubvancouver has new blog post on beef noodle soup