Beef Hammer (Beef Shank)

If you're looking for a BBQ WOW factor to impress your friends, this is it! I love turning a humongous beef shank into tender, juicy, fall off the bone extravaganza! I use this recipe when I'm using charcoal, a kettle and have lots of time. At least 6 hours! Definitely worth the wait and my family and friends absolutely love it. Make sure you have some steamed bao buns or tacos on hand as this beef is ideal for them.  I've used an Ashburton Meats  beef shank, Firebrand BBQ lump and briquette charcoal and a Pro Smoke BBQ Kettle from Barbeques Galore.

Before you get started make sure you have a digital meat thermometer, lots of foil and 1/2 a cup of olive oil to brush the shank every 20 minutes the first 1.5 hours.

If you use charcoal, this recipe will require at least 2 chimneys full for the 6 hour cook.

Beef Hammer - AKA Beef Shank


1 Beef shank weighing 1.5gk to 2kg (3.3 to 4.5 pounds)
2 tbsp olive oil + 1/2 cup for brushing the beef during the cook

Beef Seasoning
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp cracked pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp ground smoked paprika
1 tbsp ground sweet paprika

  • To make the rub - In a small bowl, add the salt, cracked pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika and sweet paprika. Combine it well and set aside until needed. This recipe makes enough seasoning for 2 large beef shanks. Any left over seasoning will keep in a jar for up to 3 to 4 months.
  • Trim the beef shank of excess fat and silverskin. I like to trim the meat when it's cold because it's easier to remove the silverskin.
  • Once the beef is trimmed, allow the beef shank to reach room temperature (this will take at least 30 - 45 minutes).
  • Use olive oil to rub and coat the entire beef shank and generously apply the seasoning.
  • Preheat and prepare your BBQ of choice for indirect cooking. The temperature should sit around 200c (390f) if you're using charcoal or a gas BBQ . For a pellet smoker, aim for 121c (250f). I used a kettle filled with charcoal on one side of the BBQ and placed the beef shank on the grill grate, over the unlit side. On the base of the kettle (under the grill grate), I added a foil tray filled halfway with water. The fat drippings from the beef that fall into it make a delicious gravy sauce at the end.
  • Cook the beef shank with the kettle lid on for around 1.5 hours or until the beef has a nice colour. Brush the beef every 20 minutes with olive oil. Dont worry about the internal temperature of the beef at this point.
  • When the beef has a nice colour, you'll need to wrap the beef shank tightly using around 6 sheets of foil. Before you wrap the beef pour 3/4 cup of beef stock over the shank which will help keep it moist. You'll have what will look like a foil boat prior to wrapping it.  I dont use butcher paper for this cut as I find it sweats a lot and it takes even longer to reach my target internal temperature. It all comes down to personal choice.
  • Cook the beef indirectly (opposite to the charcoal) until the internal temperature reaches between 205f (96c) and 210f (99c). (For this recipe, I used a 1.9kg (4 pounds) beef shank which took 6 hours) Then rest the beef for 15 - 20 minutes before shredding or slicing it. It should be fall off the bone tender.
  • Enjoy the sliced or shredded beef in tacos, bao buns, pies or with your favorite sides. It also freezes well placed in a freezer bag.