I wrote in a previous article:
“Short ribs are always beef, taken from the brisket/chuck area, and approximately 8” long with either 3 or 4 bones still connected. Your butcher then cuts them into your choice of short ribs. Whole long bone ribs are referred to as English Cut Short Ribs. These ribs are usually cooked by braising them and then slow cooking to break down all the connective tissue. This long and slow process is a great cooking method for the winter – warming your house and filling it with a delicious aroma. This will be another article…”
Well here is that article.
Short ribs, typically not a tender cut of meat, can be “fall off the bone” tender with a little planning and a method called braising. Braising, with French origins, is a method of cooking using high and low heats. The meat is initially seared at a high temperature then finished at low temperature for a long, slow cook. A liquid is usually used to impart that flavor in the meat (like broth). The first step uses high heat to create a crust around the outside giving the meat a roasted, caramelized flavor; and the second step is to ensure tenderness and absorption of the flavor from the liquid it’s cooking in. Slow cooking and a lower temperature breaks down all the tissues to create an incredibly tender and flavorful entrée. Your grandmother probably cooked short ribs a lot as they were a cheaper meat years ago, but as with any other commodity, the demand for great meaty ribs has made short ribs a lot more expensive these days. You’ll find these delicious ribs in upper class restaurants more and more. (Charlie at Adele’s makes a fantastic short rib).
Short ribs are readily available in most places where good meat is sold. When purchasing these ribs look for meaty thick ribs, with a good marbling of fat. All will have a bone, but you want to be sure to have more meat than bone. Ask your butcher to cut these in about 2-3 inch sections as they cook better and absorb more flavor while being cooked. I personally like a red wine and herb flavor on my short ribs as I’ll suggest to you in this recipe, but you can add many of your own personal favorite ingredients, as this is a versatile meat. Try these on a weekend you’re home, it fills your house with wonderful aromas as well as warms your appetite. Enjoy!
Braised Short Ribs
4 Pounds of beef short ribs cut into 2-3 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 yellow onion chopped
3 carrots cut into ½ inch pieces
1 cup red wine. (Dryer is better but any will work)
2 cups beef broth
3 cloves of garlic whole
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 sprigs thyme
In a large pan suitable for the oven (if you don’t have a pan for the oven you can use a baking dish, just make sure you cover tightly with foil) add olive oil and heat over a hot stovetop while seasoning the meat with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, use tongs to carefully place the short ribs in the pan, about 1-2 minutes per side, as all sides need to be seared. Remove meat and add onions into pan, along with carrots and garlic stirring for 2 minutes. Then remove the mixture and reserve for finishing. Add the wine, beef broth and thyme in the pot, stirring and deglazing the pan. Bring to boil. When boil starts, turn off heat and replace the short ribs in pan with a lid on top and place in the oven at 250 degrees for 2 hours. At that time replace the onion, carrot, and garlic mixture in pan around the meat and cook for 1 more hour. Remove from the oven, let rest for 15 minutes and then serve. A base of freshly mashed potatoes goes well with short ribs. Skim off the fat that has risen to the top and serve with sauce ladled over the meat.
David Theiss is owner of Butler Meat Co., serving Carson City for 46 years.