Beef 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. But 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 beef neck bones and make it into pure tasty bliss you got skills. I describe beef neck bones as poor man’s or hood beef short ribs.
I’m talking cooking, but this is also the same visceral reaction I had the first time I listened to MonoNeon’s “A Place Called Fantasy” album. A true motherfunker, he kills it in a George Clinton, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins kinda way paying homage to the funk forefathers, while bringing in his own great fresh sound. I listened to about three rotations to the album and then decided I needed to make an impromptu neck bones run. I came up with two – this sandwich idea and then a more traditional soul food recipe which for me as a kid was beef neck bones slow simmered in a vinegary based broth. Now, I know beef neck bones aint the most popular meat on the grocery store roster, so feel free to substitute beef short ribs in the recipe.
I used a sous vide to cook the neck bones for these sandwiches, but previously and most frequently use traditional braising method. If cooking sous vide cook in plastic bag with fresh thyme for 20-24 hours at 125 degrees. For slow-cooker option follow the directions in the recipe below. Lastly for a traditional braising approach after browning the beef neck bones, set them aside then quickly saute the onions before adding the braising ingredients along with the neck bones and finishing in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours.
For the more traditional recipe you’ll need to season the beef neck bones with salt, pepper, and garlic then simmer for two hours in your broth. A slow cooker could be used for this recipe as well, but I used a stock pot and simmered on low. For my broth I used a combination of water, vinegar, and onions infused with smokiness from a dried morita chile. The chile adds great flavor, but if you don’t want this super spicy, then remove the chiles once they turn a reddish color and begin to split releasing the seeds into your broth. For good measure i added some pickled cactus during the last ten minutes of cooking. You can find pickled cactus in the hispanic section of any grocery store, but any pickled vegetable is a great addition to the recipe.
Great beats, better eats! Enjoy this braised beef neckbones sandwich!
Beef Neck Bones Sandwich with Caramelized Onions and Beer Sauce
Beef Neck Bones
- 2-1/2 pounds Beef Neck bones
- Salt And Pepper
- Olive Oil For Searing
- 1 whole Medium Onion Finely Diced
- 3 whole Carrots Finely Diced
- 3 cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 cup Red Wine
- 1 cup Beef Broth
- Sliced Fontina or Brie Cheese
- 2 hamburger buns
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- ½ tablespoon Salt
- Sugar optional
- ¼ cup red stripe beer
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
Beef Neck Bones
Rub the outside of the neck bones with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a large skillet over high heat, brown the neck bones on all sides. Transfer neck bones to a slow cooker making sure you get all the juice and brown bits from skillet. Add the stock and wine, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Add carrots, onions and garlic. Continue cooking on low for 4-6 hours. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove bones and chop the beef. It should be easy to pull apart.
Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Heat the pan on medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally.
Depending on how strong your stovetop burner is you may need to reduce the heat to medium low to prevent the onions from burning or drying out.
After 10 minutes, sprinkle some salt over the onions, and if you want, you can add some sugar to help with the caramelization process. If they start to dry, add a little water and stir.
Let cook for 30 minutes to an hour more, stirring every few minutes. As soon as the onions start sticking to the pan, let them stick a little and brown, but then stir them before they burn.
Combine beer and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beer mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup.
Assemble the Sandwich
Top bottom bun with chopped neck bones, onions, and slices of cheese.
Broil in oven at high settings to melt the cheese for five minutes.
Top with sauce and top bun.
For traditional braising method follow these steps:
- Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
- Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Sprinkle all sides of the beef with some salt and pepper then brown on all sides; set aside.
- In the same pot, add the onion (add more oil if needed) and cook until the onion begins to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots, cooking for another 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Add the beef neck bones back to the pot along with the beef stock, bring it to simmer, cover, and put in the oven to braise until fork tender, about 2 1/2 hours