The Chef-Approved Beef Cuts To Consider For Tender Osso Buco

Osso buco on plate with polenta
Osso buco on plate with polenta - Zeleno/Getty Images

There are myriad Italian dishes battling it out to be crowned as the country's best meal, and for us, osso buco is up at the top. The sumptuous meat is tenderized in wine, simmering away in a beautiful herby broth with vegetables. But you can't have proper osso buco without the right beef, so we spoke to an expert for his pick on the ideal cut.

Osso buco is a traditionally Milanese dish, coming out of the cosmopolitan city around the 19th century. Meaning "bone with a hole," it is all about cooking the meat long and slow, softening until it practically falls off said bone. The original recipe calls for veal shank, and Jasper J. Mirabile Jr., the owner and chef of Jasper's Restaurant and host of KCMO Talk Radio's "Live From Jasper's Kitchen," wouldn't have it any other way.

"If I'm doing authentic osso buco, I only use a veal shank. The cut is just perfect for this dish," says chef Mirabile Jr. Cut aside, the delicate flavor is ideal for osso buco. As the marrow gives way to the sauce, the savory broth imparts its own rich flavor into the milder meat. On top of sticking to the same type of meat, chef Mirable Jr. stays true to the original way of cutting the veal. "I specifically use the cross-cut veal shanks," he explains. "This cut is taken from the lower part of the leg and includes a section of the bone, which is filled with marrow."

Read more: 13 Underrated Cuts Of Meat You Should Be Grilling

What Other Types Of Beef Cuts Work For Osso Buco?

beef osso buco in pot
beef osso buco in pot - Angelika Heine/Getty Images

For chef Mirabile Jr., short ribs make an excellent replacement for veal shank. He believes the osso buco style is "a great way to serve this specific cut, which becomes very tender and juicy." Although veal tends to be quite soft, the shank meat — which comes from the leg — is a little tougher due to all the action the muscle gets. Short ribs can also be on the tougher side, but there's nothing like a good braise to tenderize the both of them. Plus, short rib's hearty flavor makes a delicious match to other umami ingredients, which can include tomatoes, sweet carrots, and zesty gremolata that often adorns osso buco.

Besides short ribs, chef Mirabile Jr. likes oxtails for the job. "When available, oxtails make for a very delicious alternative in the same style," he says. "Oxtails are unique because they contain a high amount of collagen, which, when cooked slowly, breaks down into gelatin, giving dishes a rich, silky texture and deep flavor." The cut brings the same velvety mouthfeel to osso buco that it delivers to slow-braised oxtail stew. In conjunction with the high levels of collagen that help create the rich soup, oxtail is also packed with marrow, which Mirabile Jr. believes to be impactful in making the most flavorful osso buco.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.