Thor’s Hammer

By Published On: September 18th, 2023Categories: Meat11 Comments on Thor’s Hammer

This monster cut of beef is named after the mythological Norse God of Thunder. The shank is cut from the upper part of the cows leg and then the bone is Frenched. This is a culinary term used when you scrape the meat off the end of the bone so part of the bone is exposed. The cut really does look a bit like a hammer and I’m sure, if necessary could become quite a weapon. This cut weighs just over 4 lbs.

Do not be deceived by what looks like marbling, as that is sinew and not fat, which makes this cut very tough, but also gives it great flavor. Remember a full grown cow can weigh up to 1500 lbs. or more and this shank cut from the leg is what holds up the beast during her lifetime. The way to go is low and slow. Thor’s Hammer is commonly used in Boeuf Bourguignon, but I decided to make more of an Osso Bucco dish. When cooked low over a long period of time the meat and marrow (from that huge bone) become meltingly soft.

Some of the cows at the Vera Earl Ranch.

I bought this shank from the Vera Earl Ranch, which has a store in the Sonoita Valley fairly near to where we live in Nogales, Arizona. This family owned and operated Ranch has been around since 1968. They graze roughly 2800 mother cows on over 200,000 acres. Their beef is grass fed and grain finished; 21-day Dry-Aged and then vacuum sealed and flash frozen. I’m super impressed with their operation and mission:

“Vera Earl Ranch Premium Beef is raised, fed, and compassionately cared for on one of our ranches. Our mission at Vera Earl Premium Beef is to provide our customers with quality home raised beef. Born, cared for, and cultivated on the vast acreage of the Vera Earl Ranch, our cattle are humanely treated, fed locally-sourced grains and hay, and are antibiotic and hormone free.”

I make Osso Bucco quite often, but generally with lamb shanks or pork shanks. I have never made it with beef, but stuck fairly close to the recipe I would use for Osso Bucco: 28 oz. can of Cento Crushed Tomato, 1 cup good red wine, carrots, garlic, onion, bay leaf, handful of thyme and salt/pepper.

Start by browning all sides of the beef shank in a heavy bottomed or cast iron skillet. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil over very high heat until the pan is smoking.

Make sure you brown all 5 sides of the shank. This does make a mess, but it is an important step as it seals the meat to ensure juiciness as the beef shank is going to slow cook for several hours.

Once the shank is browned, add all ingredients to the slow cooker (aka Crock Pot) and cook on high heat for 5 to 6 hours. The amount of time will depend on the size of your cut. With these tough cuts it is always better to cook at least one day before serving and then reheat when ready to serve.

Baste with juices every hour or so and taste for salt/pepper. This is a dish that gets better the longer it cooks. You want the meat to almost fall off the bone. When I make Osso Bucco (literally translated means “bone with a hole” referring to the marrow hole at the center of the cross cut) I usually serve with Parmesan Risotto, but for this beefy Thor’s Hammer decided to stick with Yukon Gold baby potatoes cooked right in the Crock Pot and lightly steamed asparagus. You will WOW your guests with this unusual and delicious dinner!

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5 from 2 votes

Thor's Hammer

Slow cooked beef shank in a rich tomato, red wine sauce. Moist and juicy and something your guests will not forget!

Ingredients

  • 1 4 lb. Beef Shank, known as Thor's Hammer
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 large Carrots, peeled and rough chopped into 2" pieces
  • 1 large White onion, peeled and cut into sections
  • 5 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 28 oz. Can Cento crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup Good quality red wine. I used Dark Horse Big Red Blend
  • 1 lge. Bay Leaf
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • Salt/Pepper I used about 2 Tbsp. of Maldon salt on the meat and then added more to taste as it cooks. I used freshly ground black pepper-about 1 tsp. to the sauce.
  • 10 Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes To be added towards end of cook-time.

Instructions

  • Bring the beef shank to room temperature.
  • Salt the shank liberally with about 2 Tbsp. flaky salt, like Maldon or Fleur de Sel.
  • Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a heavy bottomed or cast iron skillet. Heat until smoking hot.
  • Add the beef shank and brown thoroughly on all 5 sides.
  • Heat the slow cooker on high and add the can of tomatoes, 1 cup red wine, 1 onion, 4 carrots, 5 cloves smashed garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper.
  • Drop in the beef shank and spoon the sauce over the top and sides of the beef.
  • Cover the Crock Pot and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours until the beef is nearly falling off the bone. Check every hour for seasoning and continue basting with the sauce.
  • 5 hours into cook-time, add the baby potatoes and let them slow cook in the sauce for the last hour of cooking.
  • If you are making this a day ahead of time, remove from the Crock Pot, cool completely and put in the refrigerator overnight. Bring back to room temperature before reheating to serve.

Notes

I had never heard of this cut of beef before and was so excited to find it at the Vera Earl Ranch. I'm sure you could order it online and guarantee you will not be disappointed!

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11 Comments

  1. Deborah Vis September 18, 2023 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    That looks delicious Cindy!! I would love to order a shank.

    • Cindy Rabbitt September 18, 2023 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      I’m so pleased your comment came through. Let’s plan a trip together to that meat store. I think you would love it!

    • Cindy Rabbitt September 24, 2023 at 7:39 am - Reply

      This is my second reply to your first comment. :-)
      Please let me know if you receive it.
      Yesterday was fun!!

  2. Gerardo September 19, 2023 at 6:52 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Looks enticing. Are fresh tomatoes 🍅 ok for this recipe? I’m excited to try it.

    • Cindy Rabbitt September 19, 2023 at 11:21 am - Reply

      Thank you my dear. Yes, you could use fresh but what I like about canned, crushed tomatoes is that this dish cooks so long that ALL canned taste cooks out and mixed with other ingredients becomes a thick lusious sauce.

  3. Diana Makes September 20, 2023 at 10:06 am - Reply

    That thing is a MONSTER!!

    • Cindy Rabbitt September 20, 2023 at 10:19 am - Reply

      You are right about that! It was really delicious, though, despite its size. It tasted somewhat like a beef short rib. I am going to make Beef Ravioli’s with the leftovers.

  4. Joyce Prim September 22, 2023 at 9:09 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Looks delicious! And Beef Ravioli’s leftovers sounds yummy too!

    • Cindy Rabbitt September 22, 2023 at 9:49 am - Reply

      I will let you know!

  5. Deborah Vis September 22, 2023 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    I love this! I’m going to make it this fall.
    Deb

    • Cindy Rabbitt September 24, 2023 at 7:38 am - Reply

      Great! We can go together to Sonoita to buy the cut. Let me know how you like it. I’m making the ravioli’s today.

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