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"phyllis" how to make braised beef neck bones

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Beef neck bones braised to fall off the bone tenderness in deep and rich red wine-based broth for an upgrade on a classic soul food staple dish.

beef neck bones braising in a pot

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 neck bones and make it into pure tasty bliss you got skills. This is that dish that your Aunt Phyllis would love. If you don't have an Aunt Phyllis think about that one Auntie with the big laugh and big heart who brings her on to go plate to the Sunday dinner.

Beef neck bones ingredients

  • Beef Neck Bones
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Red Wine
  • Beef Broth
  • Tomato Paste
  • Smoked Sweet Paprika
  • All Spice
  • Bay Leaf

what are beef neck bones?

I describe 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.

how to cook beef neck bones (step by step)

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!

step 1: season and brown the neck bones

neck bones browning in skillet

step 2: saute vegetables

vegetables sauteing in pan

step 3: add tomato paste

vegetables and tomato paste sauteing in pot

step 4: add remaining ingredients

neck bones cooking in pot

serving suggestions:

You can stop after braising and enjoy these deep, flavorful meaty neck bones as is. I like mine over grits or rice laced with the braising liquid reduction. To reduce to gravy level consistency, remove the neck bones from the pot and cook the braising liquid on a high heat until it reduces down. You can also add a slurry of water mixed with corn starch as you cook the liquid down which will thicken things quite a bit.

beef neck bones braising in a pot

 

Frequently Asked Questions

where can I find neck bones?

Neck bones are the cheap eats so you're unlikely to find them in higher-end grocery stores or even mainstream grocery stores unless they are near or in poorer neighborhoods. Many ethnic grocery stores will carry them. You can always ask your butcher to reserve them for you.

what are good substitutes if I can't find them?

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 or beef shanks in the recipe.

how do I ensure the finished neck bones are tender and not tough?

  • Sear the 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, then top the pot with parchment paper first and then cover with lid during cooking
  • Cook them low and slow (275- 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
  • Sandwich
  • Tacos
  • Beef pho
  • With beans or potatoes

For other recipes featuring humble meat turned into gourmet magic, try these:

Braised ham hocks

Braised Pork Neck Bones

Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Beef Neck Bones Sandwich

Smoked Jerk Oxtails

Instant Pot Oxtails

Smothered Turkey Necks

Making This Recipe

If you make these delicious braised beef neck bones, 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 braising in a pot

Braised Beef Neck Bones

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Soul Food
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 360kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds Beef Neck bones
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Onion Finely Diced
  • 3 medium Carrots Finely Diced
  • 2 celery ribs diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 cups Red Wine
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • ½ tablespoon all spice
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  • 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, celery, and garlic to the pot and saute 3-5 minutes. Season with paprika, all spice and additional salt and pepper.
  • Add the tomato paste to the pot and mix well with the vegetables.
  • Add the wine and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and bay leaf. Mix well then add the neck bones back to the pot. Top with fresh herbs.
  • 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.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Sear the 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, then top the pot with parchment paper first and then cover with lid during cooking
Cook them low and slow (275-325 degrees in the oven)

Nutrition

Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 877mg | Potassium: 1179mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 9153IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 4mg
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Recipe Rating




mainmati

Monday 9th of May 2022

A very solid recipe! Half the time I make this for the gravy as much for the beef though it’s all good. My only variation is to add a single habanero pepper which has been pierced once but otherwise not cut up. It is removed at the end of cooking.

Sounds like it would ruin the braise but in fact is barely noticeable except as an additional warm depth of flavor.

Keeping the aromatics the braise allows them to add a nice body and flavor to the gravy once buzzed up at the end of the cook.

I usually serve these with mashed potatoes and a green veg (green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts)

Marwin Brown

Friday 13th of May 2022

Thanks for the feedback. I'm a big fan of the pierced chili pepper technique especially for Caribbean based dishes.

M. FOSTER

Thursday 24th of February 2022

I don't have red wine, what can I use instead

Marwin Brown

Saturday 26th of February 2022

It's a very different dish without red wine. You need something acidic to replace the wine. A combination of large can (28oz) of crushed tomatoes and maybe red wine vinegar can get you're close, but you'll problem need/want more beef stock flavor too.

Nicole

Saturday 31st of July 2021

Recipes like this that invoke nostalgic memories are always the best! I've never seen a recipe for braised beef neck bones before but you've got me convinced that I need to try it. The flavours in the braising liquid are simple, homey and comforting and would be a hit with the family.

Kyra DeBiaso

Wednesday 15th of December 2021

@Nicole, this is the second time I’ve made this recipe. Absolutely bone-sucking, shirt-ruining deliciousness. Thank you!

Amy B.

Friday 30th of July 2021

I had never heard of cooking with beef neck bones before but my mouth was watering reading this! I've got this saved and am excited to try it!

Tracy

Thursday 29th of July 2021

This looks so delicious and tender! The spices and veggies in it sound perfect and anything with wine, I'm here for!