This beer-braised lamb shank recipe demands you toss meat, beer, and spices in a pot and then be patient as you sit back and let the oven do all the work.
Simple. Tender. Delicious. That’s what we’re hearing about this beer braised lamb shank recipe that requires but a single pot and a fair amount of patience.–Renee Schettler
Beer Braised Lamb Shank
- 3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 1/4 pounds bone-in lamb shanks
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Mild olive or vegetable oil for frying
- 2 3/4 cups dark beer
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Soft flour or corn tortillas warm
- Avocado thinly sliced
- White onion chopped
- Lime wedges
- Combine the chili powder, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Pat the lamb shanks dry. Season the lamb shanks on all sides with salt and pepper and then coat the shanks with the spice rub. (Use at least 2/3 of the spice rub and, if you prefer, feel free to use all of it. If you have any spice rub left over, it would be lovely on pork, dark meat chicken, lamb chops, or pot roast.)
- Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the shanks and sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat and add the beer, vinegar, and tomato paste. Cover and gently simmer until the meat is fall apart tender, 3 to 4 hours.
- Transfer the lamb shanks to a cutting board and let them rest for a few minutes. If desired, place the Dutch oven over medium heat and gently simmer the braising juices until they’re reduced to the desired consistency. Spoon any fat from the surface of the braising juices and discard.
- Grab a fork and use it to pull the meat off the bone and pile it onto a platter. Pour the braising juices into a bowl for dipping. Serve the lamb along with the braising juices, tortillas, avocado, white onion, and lime wedges.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This beer braised lamb shank recipe makes beautiful lamb shanks that are simple, tender, and delicious. I used 6 smallish lamb shanks that weighed 3 1/2 pounds (1.4 kilograms) in total. For the beer I used an Irish stout. I seared the lamb on all sides in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for the full 10 minutes in a hot pan. When making the rub, I added 1 heaping tablespoon salt and mixed it in before rubbing the spice mix on the shanks. After 2 1/2 hours, the meat was pulling away form the bones, so I declared it done and turned off the heat. I defatted the pan juices while the meat cooled. We served the meat with lime wedges, diced avocado, and sweet white onion along with small flour tortillas and ramekins of the juice. The meat was nicely seasoned, and the defatted juices were great served alongside for dipping. Sublime. Makes enough for 4 dinner servings.
I’m a sucker for any recipe for slow-braised meat. Brisket, chicken mole, pot roast, braciole, lamb shanks. And for any meat dish with a warm spice combination as a rub. Whether cooked in a slow cooker or in a Dutch oven on the stove, the results are always the same: the longer you cook the meat, the more fall-off-the-bone delicious it becomes. I was drawn to this recipe as well because the braising liquid is dark beer. (We had Newcastle in the house, so that’s what I used. I used two 12-ounce bottles Newcastle, so right around 3 cups total.) I had trouble finding lamb shank so I used around 3 1/2 pounds leg of lamb instead. I didn’t use all of the tasty spice rub; I used about 2/3. This amount was enough to rub the entire leg of lamb, so I’m saving the rest for another use. In step 3, I used 2 tablespoons olive oil in the Dutch oven to sear the lamb. I seared it for about 5 minutes per side to get a nice brown color. I covered the lamb simmering in the liquid and cooked it for 3 1/2 hours; it was fall-off-the-bone tender at this point. I didn’t reduce the braising liquid very much; it had a nice richness to it already, so I just reduced it for about 10 to 12 minutes after the meat was done. This amount of lamb would serve about 4 to 6 people; I ended up serving it without the tortillas and fixings—just by itself with the liquid poured on top of it like you do for Mama Leite’s Portuguese pot roast.
Originally published April 29, 2016
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
When I first read this beer braised lamb shank recipe, I wasn’t sure it would work. It sounded a bit simple. But it turned out really good in terms of flavor and texture. I started by salting the lamb shank, which I had gotten cut into 3 pieces by the butcher, the night before. The next day, I rubbed the spice rub on the shanks and then seared them until nice and brown on all sides. That took about 10 minutes. I added the tomato paste, cooked it for 1 minute, and added the beer and vinegar. I brought the mixture back to a boil, reduced the heat, and simmered for 3 hours, turning the pieces from time to time. The meat was falling of the bone by then, so I removed it from the pot and shredded it while reducing the cooking liquid. No need for any additional salt. I defatted the braising liquid using my trustworthy fat separator from OXO.