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What Are Beef Short Ribs?
Short ribs consist of a piece of meat from the serratus ventralis muscle and a “short” portion of the rib—not the full rib, which, on a cow, is huge. They tend to have a lot of fat and connective tissue, so they’re a popular choice for hands-off, low-and-slow cooking methods, such as braising.
A cow’s 13 ribs are counted from head to tail, with rib No. 1 located in the shoulder, or chuck primal, and rib 13 in the loin, or mid-back. Short ribs come from ribs two through five, found in the chuck and brisket primal cuts, and six through eight, found in the rib and plate cuts. Fatty plate short ribs, the cheapest of the lot, are usually sold together as a slab. Meaty-but-tough chuck and brisket short ribs are moderately priced, while beef back ribs (aka dinosaur ribs) from the rib primal, are the most tender and expensive.
5 Ways to Cook Beef Short Ribs
- Briase: Brown short ribs on the stovetop and then add aromatics (such as onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf), dry red wine (or go wild with white wine or dark beer), and beef stock, then transfer to a low oven to finish cooking slowly. You can also braise short ribs in a slow cooker. Try Chef Thomas Keller’s red wine-braised short ribs (watch him demonstrate the method here).
- Grill: Flanken-style short ribs are especially good for grilling. Marinate short ribs (try soy sauce and brown sugar) for at least two hours, then grill briefly, about 2-5 minutes per side.
- Sous vide: Sear short ribs, then put them in a zip-top bag with a sauce and cook sous vide using an immersion circulator in a water bath for 24 hours.
- Oven-roasted: Cover short ribs in a dry rub and slowly bake in a low-temperature oven.
How to Trim Short Ribs
Boneless short ribs are available at grocery and butcher shops, and will be less fatty than bone-in ribs. The bone has the added advantage of helping the short ribs keep their shape. Plus, it makes for a nice presentation. If you’re buying short ribs as a slab of multiple bones, you can choose to cut them into individual bones. You can also remove the fat cap and tough silverskin beneath the fatcap. (If you leave the fat cap on, make sure to render the fat so that it’s not chewy.) If you plan to gnaw on them, you can also remove the membrane from the exposed side of the bones.
How to Serve Short Ribs
What you serve with beef short ribs depends on how you’re cooking them.
- Serve galbi (Korean grilled short ribs) with white rice, kimchi, and ssamjang, a sause made of doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste), gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), garlic, honey, and scallions.
- Braised short ribs go well with a starch that can soak up the braising liquid, such as mashed potatoes, polenta, couscous, rice, grits, or puréed white beans or celery root.
- Tablitas, popular in Tex-Mex cuisine, consist of ½-inch-thick flanken ribs, often marinated in citrus-based marinade and grilled. Serve with salsa, pickled vegetables, and tortillas.
To drink, Châteauneuf-du-Pape for braised short ribs. Barbecued short ribs pair nicely with Syrah, a Belgian dubbel, or sweet tea.
Korean vs. American BBQ-Style Short Ribs
Barbecued short ribs have supplanted braised as of late, but there’s more than one way to barbecue a rib:
- Korean grilled short ribs, or galbi, are made with flanken-cut ribs marinated in ganjang (Korean soy sauce) and quickly seared.
- Texas-style beef short ribs are made with English-cut short ribs coated in a dry rub and slowly smoked for 4-8 hours.
Juicy Oven-Baked Ribs Recipe
Prep Time1 hr
Total Time5 hr
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ancho chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds English-cut short ribs
- 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, or to taste
- Make the rub: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, garlic powder, chilli powder, paprika, cumin, and salt. Add the oil and mix until a crumbly paste forms. Rub the spice mix all over the ribs and let rest for 1–2 hours at room temperature, or up to overnight in the fridge. If refrigerating the ribs, bring to room temperature before cooking.
- Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange ribs in a single layer on the foil. Top with another piece of foil and crimp the foil sheets together into a packet containing the ribs. Bake for 3 hours, then check on the ribs: They should be fall-off-the-bone tender and the internal temperature should be 203°F at the thickest part. If they’re not ready, bake for another 30-60 minutes.
- When the ribs are tender, remove from the oven and preheat the broiler. Return the ribs to the oven and broil until crisp on the outside, about 5 minutes. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat ribs in barbecue sauce.
Learn more cooking techniques with Chef Thomas Keller here.