Use your Instant Pot and this easy recipe to cook Beef Tendon (Gan Bo) in less than half the time it takes to cook on the stove top. Beef tendon is a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine. Added to hearty dishes like Beef Stew (Bo Kho) or Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Bo), beef tendon adds tantalizing richness and crunchy gelatinous texture to many dishes. The conventional method of boiling the tendon takes hours. With the Instant Pot it takes just 30 minutes of pressure cooking time. Like it? Please read on!
What is Tendon?
Fresh beef tendon is sold at at many Asian or Mexican grocery stores. The tendon is often pre-packaged or sold by the piece at the meat counter. Occasionally you can find tendon in the frozen foods section. My local Asian grocery store sells fresh beef tendon for $5.99 per pound. Two medium-sized beef tendons weigh about 1 pound.
Notes on the Instant Pot Beef Tendon (Gan Bo) Recipe, Tips and Tricks
Beef tendon has a strong smell and should be thoroughly washed before cooking. I use salt and distilled white vinegar to wash and deodorize the tendon. After removing from the packaging, rub the tendon with a generous amount of table salt. Then soak the tendon in distilled white vinegar and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Longer is fine too. Rinse the tendon well to remove the salt and vinegar.
The next part of the prepping may be a bit icky, but it’s important to make sure everything is clean for eating: the tendon often has residual hairs and you need to pull them out. If you look closely at the tendon, you’ll see short black hairs. Some are obvious, sticking right out and some are underneath the loose skin.
To remove the hairs, pluck them out using tweezers. (Yes, I have a dedicated pair of kitchen tweezers specifically for this task. No tweezing eyebrows with this one later. 🙂 ) Some of the hairs are embedded deeper into the tissue, so you may have to pull firmly to pluck them out. I typically extract the hairs after soaking in the salt and vinegar solution. This soaking makes the hairs easier to extract.
If this is your first time cooking tendon and you’re not sure how firm and crunchy you’d like it, sample some of it after cooking. If the tendon is too firm, pressure cook for another 15 minutes and check again. My 30-minute pressure cooking time makes a moderately firm tendon with a good amount of crunch. A quick way to check the tendon for doneness is to pierce it with a chopstick or fork. If you can pierce the tendon all the way through in one smooth motion, it’s cooked. If you have to use lots of muscle to pierce the tissue, it’s not cooked enough.
Beef tendon is difficult to cut right after cooking because the heat makes it a slippery jelly. Refrigerating for 30 minutes will firm up the tendon and make it much easier to cut. Dry the tendon by blotting it with a paper towel so it doesn’t slip or slide around during slicing. Always use a sharp knife and a solid cutting surface when slicing the beef tendon.
Instant Pot Beef Tendon / Gan Bo
Instant Pot Beef Tendon / Gan Bo
Use your Instant Pot and this easy recipe to cook beef tendon in less than half the time it takes to cook on the stove top. Beef tendon is a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine. Added to hearty dishes like Beef Stew (Bo Kho) or Beef Pho / Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Bo), beef tendon adds tantalizing richness and crunchy gelatinous texture to many dishes. The conventional method of boiling the tendon takes hours. With the Instant Pot it takes just 30 minutes of pressure cooking time.
- 1 lb beef tendon , approximately 2 pieces
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
Transfer the beef tendons into a large bowl. Sprinkle both sides with salt. Pour in the vinegar and coat the tendons in the solution. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Rinse the tendons with cold water.
Remove any hairs using tweezers. Rinse again with cold water if needed.
Transfer the cleaned tendons into the Instant Pot's inner pot. Add enough hot water to cover the tendons.
Cover with the pressure cooking lid. Set the steam release handle to "Sealing". Cook on High Pressure for 30 minutes and allow for a natural pressure release.
Remove the lid. Transfer the tendons into a bowl of ice water and let soak for 1 minute.
Dry the tendons and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Use a sharp knife to cut the tendons into thin slices or chunks. Add to your favorite dishes.
Refrigerate any remaining portions for up to 1 week. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Notes, Tips & Tricks
- A quick way to check the tendon for doneness is to pierce it with a chopstick or fork. If you can pierce the tendon all the way through, it's cooked. If you have to use lots of muscle to pierce the tissue, it's not cooked enough.
- Use boiling water to reduce the time to pressurize the Instant Pot. It takes approximately 15 minutes to come to pressure.
- Natural pressure release is approximately 15 minutes.
Some wonderful recipes to enjoy with the Instant Pot Beef Tendon recipe:
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