I talk a lot about the fact that if you know the basics of HOW to cook recipes aren't needed. The basics of cooking meat are pretty simple: Good steak is tender already and doesn't need time to cook, rougher cuts of meat take time and preparation. You can use a pressure cooker to speed things up, you can use a slow cooker to remove some of the effort, but the basics remain the basics. Beef short ribs are tough. There is a lot of sinew in the meat, and if you don't cook it down they are a chewy mess. The same is true of any cut of meat close to a bone that moves in the animals skeletal structure.
Short ribs also have a ton of flavor, so they are a personal favorite of mine. They also are usually pretty inexpensive (today they were less per pound than ground beef at Safeway). If I have a busy day I throw them in the crock pot, but if I have the time there is no better way to cook them than a nice slow braise. You can use any liquid to braise meat with, from broth to beer to water. I prefer something that is going to add to the flavor of the meat, so I use beer most often. Coating the meat with seasoned flour allows the flavor of the spices to stay on the meat, and the flour thickens up the braising liquid over the cooking time to make a nice tight topping. I hope you enjoy as much as we did.
Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs
A mix of old style cooking methods and new spice combinations come together to create the perfect fork tender meat for dinner, either to plate with mashed potatoes or to add to your favorite casserole or mac & cheese recipe.
- 3 to 4 lbs Beef short ribs
- 2 Tbs. Olive oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 Tbs. smoked paprika
- 1 Tbs. Chinese 5-spice
- 1 Tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 Tsp. black pepper
- 1 Tsp. sea salt
- 1 bulb fresh fennel
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 bell peppers (Red, Yellow, or Orange)
- 2 ozs Bourbon
- 1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
- 1 bottle (12-16oz) beer or hard cider
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Place heavy oven safe pot or dutch oven on burner over Med-High heat
- Add olive oil
- Put flour, pepper, cayenne, paprika, salt, 5-spice into gallon zip lock bag. Add half the ribs, seal and shake to coat. Remove ribs shaking off excess flour and place in pan.
- Brown on all sides (3-4 minutes each) and remove from pan to platter. Repeat process until all ribs are browned.
- Add all fresh vegetables to pan, salt and pepper, and cook until softened and beginning to brown.
- Deglaze pan with bourbon making sure to scrape up and flour stuck to bottom.
- Add tomatoes and stir to combine with vegetables.
- Return ribs to pan, fattest side up
- Add beer and cover
- Place pan in center rack of oven and cook 3-5 hours, turning meat over halfway through.
When turning, bones may fall away from meat.Do not be tempted to remove, meat will still need more time to cook.You cannot over cook the meat using this method.I cook mine around 4 hours and then remove the top and cook another 30-45 minutes while I prep and cook the mashed potatoes or whatever I plan to put the meat in to reduce the cooking liquid some.You can puree the veggies and liquid or leave them rough to serve over the meat.I prefer the rustic look of the rougher cut, but the choice is yours.Enjoy!