Braised Beef Neck Bones – A most humble cut of meat turned into a tender, rich and flavorful gourmet main dish or the ultimate over the top sandwich.
Beef Neck Bones ain’t on the menu in this generation of the Browns too often, but they were a weekly affair when I was a kid. Every now and then I have to go there to show respect to my culinary forefathers, showcase my skills, and just grub-out to some cheap, gutter, grimy good food. When you can take some humble ingredients like beef neck bones and make it into pure tasty bliss you got skills. Keep reading and enjoy this 2 for 1, i.e. two recipes in one post.
What are beef neck bones?
I describe beef neck bones as a poor man’s or hood beef short ribs. They’re just as tender but less fatty than short ribs and even its cousin oxtails. As much as I love neck bones, I hope they kinda remain a best-kept secret and not go the way of oxtails. Next thing you know, neck bones will be appropriated like them and we’ll be paying $20 a pound. Cheap, tasty, and versatile; so what’s not to like about the underrated beef neck bones? If you’re interested in oxtails check out my detailed braised oxtails post.
Why a beef neck bones sandwich?
The first time I made this recipe I had just listened to MonoNeon’s then-new album “A Place Called Fantasy.” It was so dope and funky it made me go buy a bunch of neck bones in all seriousness. Now every time I listen to this album I have neck bone cravings. Such was the case when I recently made this beef neck bones sandwich. If you don’t know MonoNeon you need to check him out. A true motherfunker, he kills it in a George Clinton, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins kinda way paying homage to the funk forefathers, while bringing in his own great fresh sound. I listened to about three rotations to the album and then decided I needed to make an impromptu neck bones run.
I came up with two recipes, this yummy sandwich idea and then a more traditional soul food recipe which for me as a kid was beef neck bones slow simmered in a wine based broth. But I figured like MonoNeon, I’d pay homage to a familiar dish with my own spin on it. Now, I know beef neck bones ain’t the most popular meat on the grocery store roster, so feel free to substitute beef short ribs in the recipe.
How to cook beef neck bones
Neck bones are best cooked via a traditional braising approach. Slow and low cooking is perfect for breaking down an otherwise tough cut of meat. A wine-based braising liquid along with caramelized vegetables like onions, celery, and carrots help provide an unmatched depth of flavor. And even better, the results leave behind a killer gravy that is mucho sop worthy; just be sure to have some good crusty bread on hand for steady soppin!
You can stop after braising and enjoy these deep, flavorful meaty neck bones as is. Or you can go next level with them, and use the meat to make this delicious, decadent braised beef neck bones sandwich. This is a riff on a classic beef short rib sandwich. Neck bones are similar to oxtails and short ribs, but without the same amount of fat. I piled the tender pieces of goodness sky high on top of a brioche bun, added caramelized onions and fontina cheese, then topped with a homemade beer sauce.
How do I ensure the finished neck bones are tender and not tough?
- Sear the beef neck bones first as you would any other braised meat recipe
- Use a braising liquid that is somewhat acidic and make sure you have adequate liquid to submerge the neck bones
- Make sure your pot has a heavy lid. If it doesn’t top the pot with parchment paper first and then cover with lid during cooking
- Cook them low and slow (325 degrees in the oven)
Are there other methods of cooking neck bones?
I’ve used a sous vide to cook the neck bones for these sandwiches, in the past. If cooking sous vide cook in a plastic bag with fresh thyme for 20-24 hours at 125 degrees. Slow-cooker is another option, but just be sure you sear the meat first to not only ensure tenderness but also for purposes of maximizing flavor which can be a challenge somewhat with crock-pots. I haven’t used an Instant Pot yet, but can see it working well.
Are Neck Bones good for bone broth?
Neck bones are perfect for beef bone broths. Neck bones have a lot of collagen which is what gives the broth both body and rich flavor. They also have much meat, which helps prevent that sour, off flavor you sometimes get with roasted bones.
What Else Can Neck Bones Be Used For?
Beef neck bones are extremely versatile. Besides the bones being instrumental in broths/soups the meat can be used in many different types of recipes both as the star or as a supporting ingredient. You may find or use them in any of the following ays:
- Replacement for much more expensive beef short ribs
- Beef pho
- With beans or potatoes
Braised Beef Neck Bones
If you make this crazy, ridiculous and off the charts braised beef neck bones sandwich or just the straight up neck bones recipe, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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Beef Neck Bones
- 2-1/2 pounds Beef Neck bones
- Salt And Pepper
- Olive Oil For Searing
- 1 whole Medium Onion Finely Diced
- 3 whole Carrots Finely Diced
- 3 cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 cups Red Wine
- 2 cups Beef Broth
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- Sliced Fontina or Brie Cheese
- 2 hamburger buns
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- ½ tablespoon Salt
- Sugar optional
- ¼ cup red stripe or other lager style beer
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
Beef Neck Bones
- Rub the outside of the neck bones with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over high heat, brown the neck bones on all sides. Set aside and reserve.
- Add carrots, onions and garlic to the pot and saute 3-5 minutes. Season with paprika and additional salt and pepper.
- Add the stock, wine, bay leaf, and tomato paste. Mix well deglazing the pan,then add the neck bones back to the pot.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cooking on low for 4-6 hours. Alternatively you can braise in the oven at 275 degrees. Remove neck bones and let cool slightly. Pull the beef away from the bones and chop. Beef should be tender and easy to pull apart.
- Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Heat the pan on medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally.
- Depending on how strong your stovetop burner is you may need to reduce the heat to medium low to prevent the onions from burning or drying out.
- After 10 minutes, sprinkle some salt over the onions, and if you want, you can add some sugar to help with the caramelization process. If they start to dry, add a little water and stir.
- Let cook for 30 minutes to an hour more, stirring every few minutes. As soon as the onions start sticking to the pan, let them stick a little and brown, but then stir them before they burn.
- Combine beer sauce ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add mixture to a sauce pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by 1/2.
Assemble the Sandwich
- Top bottom bun with chopped neck bones, onions, and slices of cheese.Broil in oven at high settings to melt the cheese for five minutes.Top with sauce and top bun.
- Preheat the oven to 325ËšF.
- Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Sprinkle all sides of the beef with some salt and pepper then brown on all sides; set aside.Â
- In the same pot, add the onion (add more oil if needed) and cook until the onion begins to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots, cooking for another 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Add the beef neck bones back to the pot along with the beef stock, bring it to simmer, cover, and put in the oven to braise until fork tender, about 2 1/2 hours