Pulled Beef Shank BBQ

We're not pulling your leg, we're on a mission to find new uses for the often overlooked beef shank.  They are a great way to feed a lot of folks good food without a ton of expense or effort.  They're also really tasty.  I made this recipe on a day when our schedule was jam packed and it was an easy way to have an enjoyable dinner with minimal kitchen effort.

Beef shanks are wonderful when you take the time to do them right.  This recipe is a simple way to use this flavorful, nutritious, and budget-friendly cut of beef.  As a bonus it will leave you with at least a quart of flavorful beef stock to put in the freezer or use with other meals later in the week.

Ingredients: Approx 2 1/2 to 3 pounds Quarry Brook Farms Beef Shanks, thawed
                  1 TBS apple cider vinegar
                  Approx 1 to 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (or use the provided recipe if you have time)
                  Rolls of your choice (can also be served on a bed of greens if you are eschewing bread/grains)

Servings: About 8

1) Place shanks in crock pot and add water until shanks are just covered. Add 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar to water to help draw minerals and nutrients out of the bones while everything simmers. 
2) Turn crock pot on low and allow to cook for at least 6 hours or until meat will come away from bone readily.  This can take a varying amount of time depending on your crock pot.
3) Once meat will separate from bone readily, carefully remove shanks from crock pot and place in a bowl to cool. 
4) Carefully ladle the remaining broth into storage containers, label and place in refrigerator or freezer to use for other meals.  You just made quick broth in addition to being on your way to delicious BBQ.  Bonus broth!
5) Once shanks are cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and use knife or fingers to pull meat apart into small pieces.  Place small pieces back into crock pot.  There will be some fatty, sorta "slimey" bits (can I use the word slimey in a recipe?!?!).  I chop them up and put them in with the meat.  They are a good source of collagen and omega-3 rich grass fed fats. Their texture isn't such a concern once everything is blended together with the BBQ sauce.  *Do be careful to make sure no little bone or tendon pieces end up in the final product though.  Some shanks could have those but they are easy to feel and/or spot as you work as long as you're paying attention. 
6) Add your favorite BBQ sauce to the meat in the crock pot until you are happy with the consistency.  You can also use a little bit of the broth if you would like the beef to be even more juicy. 
7) Turn crock pot back onto low.  Cover and allow to cook together for at least another 30 minutes until all the flavors are mingled and the BBQ is well warmed again. 
8) Serve with rolls and a big summer salad. 

BBQ Sauce Recipe:
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar or red wine
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 tsp salt
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine everything in a sauce pan and whisk together over high heat.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved.  Makes 1 to 2 cups depending on how long you allow it to thicken.

Feel free to experiment with your sauce.  Add honey, more hot sauce, liquid smoke (Wrights brand is additive free), maple syrup, etc, until you find the combo that you love best.