Everyone is familiar with pork spareribs. But little thought is given to the sumptuous beef short rib. Larger, meatier, and more tender than their pork counterpart; beef short ribs are a true delight. There are many methods of preparation, Korean barbecue is a familiar and notable style, but to do these pieces of meat justice, you need to braise, or slow cook them, in a dutch oven. The slow cooking breaks down the muscle and tendon of the meat into something delicious.
At this year’s YWCA Men Who Cook, I’m featuring the braised short rib as my entree. In keeping with the Fred Harvey restaurant theme, beef was common and available during the turn of the century American Southwest. Fred Harvey had the ability to cheaply transport beef from the stockyards of Chicago and Kansas City via the Santa Fe railway, so the restaurants were well supplied with beef. Harvey’s chefs were also classically trained French chefs recruited from fine restaurants on the East Coast. While it may seem out of place to find a French chef in places like Winslow, Arizona in the 1890’s, Fred Harvey knew that top talent would produce a high quality meal for his guests. The technique of braising short ribs can be traced back to the French Provencal dish of Pot-au-Feu. That’s why the short rib is taking center stage in this year’s menu.
Braised Beef Short Ribs
Short ribs are available in a variety of cuts, this recipe calls for Flanken Cut, or cut across the bone.
- 8 whole beef Short Ribs (about 3 lb.)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 Medium onion, diced
- 2 Carrots, diced
- 2 Shallots, diced
- 1 Bottle dark beer (stout or rich amber ale)
- 2 Cups beef broth
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp rosemary
- Salt and pepper ribs, and dredge in flour. Set aside
- In a large dutch oven, cook bacon until fat has rendered. Remove bacon, reserving the fat.
- Raise heat to medium-high and brown ribs on all sides (about 45 seconds per side). Do in two batches so as not to crowd the ribs during browning.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and saute onions, carrots, and shallots. Add extra oil or butter if necessary. About 4 minutes.
- Add beer and broth, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any flavorful bits. Add 1 tsp of salt and pepper to taste. Add ribs and cooked bacon, they should be almost all submerged (add more liquid if needed) and bring to boil. Add rosemary and thyme.
- Place cover on pot and place in a 350 degree oven. Cook for 2 hours and check for doneness. Reduce heat to 325 and cook for another 30-45 minutes. Ribs should be fall off the bone tender and liquid reduced to a thick sauce. Remove from oven, let sit for 20 minutes, and skim fat off the top.
Ribs can be made 1-2 days in advance and refrigerated. This will allow the flavors to mingle and mellow. Remove solid fat off the top and heat in the oven before serving.