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.
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
- Garlic Cloves
- Red Wine
- Beef Broth of Chicken Stock if beef broth isn't available to you.
- 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
step 2: saute vegetables
step 3: add tomato paste
step 4: add remaining ingredients
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.
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?
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:
For other recipes featuring humble meat turned into gourmet magic, try these:
Making This Recipe
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- 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
- 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.
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)