Guide to Beef Knuckle: Cooking Tips, Health Benefits, and Uses

Beef knuckle is a lean, affordable cut from the hindquarters of the cow, versatile for roasts, stews, and more. It’s rich in collagen and can be used to make flavorful bone broth with numerous health benefits.

Cuts of Beef

Beef knuckle is a lean, affordable cut from the hindquarters of the cow. This sub-primal cut located near the rear of the animal includes the hip and portions of the leg, and typically weighs 12 to 16 pounds. 

Cuts of Beef

Beef knuckle goes by many names, which can be a little confusing. It’s also referred to as the ball of the round, sirloin tip roast, tip center, French roll roast, and round tip.

Because it’s such a large portion of meat, it can be divided into several cuts, hence the various names.

To get technical, the beef knuckle consists of four main muscle groups: the rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and vastus medialis.

Additionally, the term “knuckle” is different from what you might typically think of, since it doesn’t refer to fingers like human knuckles.

Knuckle simply refers to the joint beef bone lined with cartilage, specifically the hip of the cow.

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How Do You Cook Beef Knuckle?

Beef knuckle is a versatile cut of meat that can be used in roasts, stews, kebabs, and grilled steaks. It can also be thinly sliced to use as cold cuts or in Philly cheesesteaks.

Beef knuckle isn’t the most tender cut of meat because it’s low in fat, which means long, slow cooking methods in moist environments are best.

For example, roasting in the oven, smoking for hours on the grill, or letting it sit in a slow cooker all day will yield the best results. Beef knuckle has a meaty, relatively mild flavor, which means it can go well with most ingredients and absorb whatever flavor it’s cooked with. 

One of the most popular ways to cook beef knuckle is to make a braised roast. The braising methods improve tenderness and keep the knuckle from drying out in the oven.

  • Let the beef knuckle thaw to room temperature. This ensures the meat has an even temperature when cooking.
  • Remove the connective tissue and fatty parts with a knife.
  • Coat with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
  • Sear the meat in a pan on the stove until it’s golden brown on both sides (typically 2-3 minutes per side).
  • Place the beef knuckle in a roasting pan with onions, carrots, and peppers.
  • Add up to 1 cup of water (or broth) depending on the size of the roast. 
  • Cook for about 45 minutes (it will need 30 minutes per pound) at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. No need to cover the roast, as you want the meat to brown and crisp on top. The liquid in the pan will help keep the meat moist as it steams. 

The Benefits of Beef Knuckle Bone Broth 

So what is beef knuckle good for? Well, bone broth is a savory, nutrient-rich way to make use of beef knuckle bones. The knuckle bones come from the leg joint, left over after the animal is butchered.

They are rich in gelatin and collagen, and make delicious stock base for soup or stew when slow-cooked in water.

Bone broth has been shown to have numerous health benefits, thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest bone broth can:

  • Support joint health. A 2017 study in the Sports Medicine Journal suggested that consuming gelatin increased the amount of collagen in tissues, which could protect your joins from stress.
  • Aid digestion and gut health. The glutamine supplementation helps heal the intestinal lining, improving nutrient absorption and metabolic functions. 
  • Lead to a better night’s sleep due to the high glycine content
  • Keep you full and satisfied due to the high protein content, helping you lose weight
  • Fight inflammation that leads to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease

You can purchase beef knuckle bone broth at the grocery store or make your own. Making your own bone broth is more affordable, and sometimes bone broth in the store is watered down (it does not have the thick, gelatinous texture when cool).

To make your own bone broth, you’ll need a stockpot (or slow-cooker), roasting pans, and wire mesh strainer.

It’s important to blanch the bones first, then roast them in the oven to maximize flavor along with any vegetables and seasonings you want to add.

Additional ingredients such as carrots, onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, star anise, and apple cider vinegar will enhance the flavor. You’ll then need to boil the bones and reduce to a simmer, sitting for 8-12 hours.

FAQs about Beef Knuckle

What is beef knuckle?

Beef knuckle is a cut of meat that comes from the Round, specifically between the Top Round and Bottom Round. It is a very lean and affordable cut that can be used for various purposes such as roasts, pot roasts, kebabs, stews, and even low-cost steaks. These steaks are typically cut thin and tenderized by cubing them.

What is the toughest beef cut?

The toughest beef cut is arguably the shank, which is located in front of the brisket at the cow’s forearm. This cut is known for its sinewy dryness and is considered to be the cheapest. Due to its lack of popularity, shank is not commonly found in retail stores.

Is knuckle good for stew?

Knuckle is excellent for stew as it becomes incredibly tender when slow-cooked, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Additionally, it can be utilized as a whole roast or sliced into steaks for broiling, frying, and grilling. It is perfect for a pot-roast dinner and any remaining meat can be used for delicious cold beef sandwiches.

Is beef knuckle good for?

Beef knuckle is good for making homemade bone broth as it is rich in collagen. When combined with regular soup bones and marrow bones, beef knuckles create a well-rounded and flavorful grass-fed broth. Additionally, using knuckles in the broth adds a great texture.

What does beef knuckle taste like?

The taste of beef knuckle can be described as bold and beefy, with a relatively tender texture. It is highly favored by butchers and chefs due to its excellent characteristics and affordable price point.

Is beef knuckle a tough meat?

Beef knuckle is known for its toughness, sinewiness, and chewiness due to being cut from the hip of the animal. This area supports a significant portion of the animal’s weight, resulting in well-exercised muscles.

Is beef knuckle the same as sirloin tip?

Beef knuckle is not the same as sirloin tip. Although its name may be misleading, beef knuckle is actually a cut that comes from the Round primal and is located on the front end of the rear leg. It is commonly used for roasts, which are delicious when braised, but can also be cut into steaks or used for Ground Beef. Beef knuckle is also referred to as Knuckle and was previously known as Round Tip.

How do you tenderize beef knuckles?

To tenderize beef knuckles, you can employ various methods. One approach is to pound the meat, which helps to soften and tenderize it, making it more manageable to cut and consume. Another option is to utilize the power of salt, which can enhance the tenderness of the meat. Additionally, marinating the beef knuckles in an acidic solution can also contribute to tenderizing the meat. Another unconventional method is to consider using kiwi, as it contains enzymes that can break down proteins and tenderize the meat. Furthermore, employing precise knife techniques can help to tenderize the beef knuckles. Lastly, slow cooking the meat can result in a tender and flavorful outcome.

How to cook beef knuckle bone?

The beef knuckle bone can be cooked by first roasting the bones in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until they start to brown, to enhance the flavor. Once roasted, add the bones to a stock pot on the stovetop. Set the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least 24 hours to extract all the rich flavors.

Can beef knuckle be cooked like steak?

Beef knuckle can be cooked similarly to steak, as it is a versatile cut of meat that can be used in various dishes such as roasts, stews, kebabs, and grilled steaks. Additionally, it can be thinly sliced for use as cold cuts or in Philly cheesesteaks.

Is beef knuckle a weight-bearing bone?

Beef knuckle is not a weight-bearing bone and should not be given to dogs as it can be too hard on their teeth and jaw. Chunky beef knuckle bones can be enjoyed as an occasional treat, but once the nutritious surrounding cartilage, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments have been consumed, it is recommended to discard the bone.

Are beef knuckle bones good for bone broth?

Beef knuckle bones are excellent for making bone broth as they serve as a fantastic foundation for your stock. To enhance the flavor even further, consider roasting the bones before incorporating them into your stock pot. This will result in a rich and robust Old World beef taste that is truly delightful.

What is the difference between beef knuckle and shank?

The difference between beef knuckle and shank is that the knuckle is best seared or braised and can also be used for stew meat if cooked for a sufficient amount of time to tenderize the connective tissue. On the other hand, the shank (also known as osso buco) is taken from the lower leg area and can be cross-cut into sections and braised. This cut contains a lot of connective tissue and is ideal for slow, moist cooking methods.

Do beef knuckles splinter?

Beef knuckles do not splinter because they are extremely hard and durable, making them an excellent source of entertainment for dogs. These bones are obtained from the upper part of the femur leg joint once the butchering process is complete.

Do beef knuckles have marrow?

Beef knuckles contain marrow along with the added advantage of collagen.

What is another name for beef knuckle?

Another name for beef knuckle is the ball of the round, sirloin tip, round tip, tip center (centre in UK and Ireland), sometimes thick flank, beef ball tip roast, sirloin tip roast, and French roll roast (various names are used worldwide).

What cut of meat is a beef knuckle?

The beef knuckle is a lean cut of meat that is taken from between the top and bottom round portion of cattle. It is sliced for convenient cooking and consumption, making it an exceptionally affordable option.

What part of the cow is beef knuckle?

The beef knuckle is located above the knee joint at the front of the hind leg. It consists of three muscles and is prepared by removing the cap muscle and associated fat from the thick flank. The eye of knuckle is the lean, center weight-bearing muscle with minimal connective tissue.

What is Wagyu knuckle?

Wagyu knuckle is a cut of meat shaped like a sphere and mainly composed of lean meat. In Japan, the knuckle is divided into four parts: the inside knuckle muscle (Marukawa), the center or heart of the knuckle (Shinshin or Marushin), the outside knuckle (Kamenoko), and the tri-tip (Hiuchi or Tomosankaku).

Is beef knuckle tender?

Beef knuckle is a tender cut of meat that is located above the knee joint at the front of the hind legs. Comprised of three muscles, it is a versatile sub-primal cut of beef that is known for its tenderness. The lean, center weight-bearing muscle, known as the eye of the knuckle, has minimal connective tissue, resulting in flavorful and tender beef.

How do you cook knuckle meat?

The process of cooking knuckle meat involves tenderizing the beef using a Jaccard 48-Blade Meat Tenderizer and cutting it into cubes. After that, you should heat up some olive oil in a dutch oven on high flame and brown the cubes. Once the meat is browned, remove it from the pot and proceed to sautee sliced onions until they turn brown. Finally, add black pepper to enhance the flavor.

Is beef knuckle good for slow cooking?

Beef knuckle is excellent for slow cooking. It can be sliced thinly and used for dishes like Beef Stroganoff or stir fry. The knuckle roast, also known as peeled knuckle or sirloin tip roast, is particularly well-suited for slow-cooking methods.

How to cook beef knuckle bones?

To cook beef knuckle bones, start by placing them in a large pot filled with water and vinegar. Allow them to soak for at least one hour. Next, bring the pot to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface using a spoon. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for a minimum of 12 hours, but you can also let it simmer for up to 72 hours for a richer flavor. Once done, use tongs to remove the larger bones and strain the broth.

Red Meat: Good or Bad for You?

There’s a lot of back and forth about whether or not red meat is good for you. So, what’s the verdict?

The reality is, it depends where you get your meat from and how processed it is. The quality of your beef knuckle makes a huge difference in flavor, health benefits, and environmental impact. 

Red meat is high in nutrients and minerals including iron, vitamin B, zinc, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. It is an excellent source of protein and can help strengthen muscles and bones.

However, red meat consumption has made headlines for its risky health consequences, as data shows it’s been linked to high cholesterol.

Additionally, more serious evidence from studies indicate that the methods used to make processed meats can cause carcinogens, making eating red meat a major risk factor for colorectal cancer. 

When consuming red meat, it’s important to choose quality cuts from trusted farmers, so you know you’re getting the best product possible.

Unfortunately, mass produced meat products often mean that the animals are not treated humanely, they are eating poor diets, and it takes a huge toll on the environment

Tips for consuming red meat in a healthy, ethical manner:

  • Choose lean cuts like the beef knuckle (and eat the whole cow, including cuts like neck, cheek & tongue)
  • Avoid processed meats 
  • Look for the Certified USDA Organic label, where cattle are raised on 100% organic grass and a healthy mixture of grass, corn, and corn grain
  • Choose antibiotic and hormone-free products
  • The American Heart Association recommends you consume red meat no more than 1-2 times per week.

As always, choosing a diet high in fiber, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains is the foundation of good nutrition. Eating red meat from trusted sources in balance can be a healthy addition to your diet. 

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