I first wanted to try cooking with beef short ribs after having them in a restaurant. I love really good slow cooked meat and they just fell off the bone. So when I came across a recipe in Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen book I knew I had to give them a go. (Her blog of the same name is really beautiful). Getting them from the butchers was a bit more of an effort than I thought. When I described what I wanted, the butcher said there is no demand for this cut of meat. It worried me slightly to hear that. However, I ploughed on and ordered them. For less than €20 I got what seemed like half a cow! It was 8 short ribs which is a lot of meat for the money. I froze half of them and cooked 4, which I think should serve 4 but I’d say closer to 3 people generously.
I stuck pretty much to the recipe and served them with mash. I thought they were delicious but himself hated the faffing involved with cutting the meat from the bone and removing all the fatty tissue. It was a bit off putting going to all the effort and the end result not being perfect. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the leftover meat in the freezer. Then I saw this post on the Pioneer Woman blog and the answer was right there – pulled short ribs! It was a bit of a d’oh moment, I’ve been experimenting with pulled pork recipes so I’m a bit mortified that I didn’t think of it myself.
Since then I’ve recipes using short ribs everywhere. One involved making cottage pie with the meat, I think I’ll give this a go next. I also want to try them in a barbeque sauce. The recipe below is ideally made in advance. To make life easier cook the ribs, allow to cool and place the whole pot in the fridge overnight. This allows the fat to completely solidify so you can remove it easily.
If you are not familiar with beef short ribs see this page on James Whelan Butchers to give you an idea of what you are looking for.
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, makes 4 generous sandwiches.
- 4 beef short ribs at room temperature and trimmed of excess fat
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large red onion chopped
- 100g streaky bacon chopped
- 4 garlic cloves smashed and peeled
- 2 tbsp. tomato puree
- 120ml balsamic vinegar
- 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 110ml Guinness or other stout
- 700ml good quality beef stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 individual baguettes or 1 very large one
- Cheese or mayonnaise to serve – optional
- Season the ribs generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper on all sides.
- Heat a very large casserole dish over a high heat and add the oil. It really does need to be a very big dish to hold the ribs properly.
- When the oil is hot brown the ribs on all six sides. I do this two at a time and make sure you get every side properly browned. This could take 10 to 15 minutes to do properly. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate once they are seared.
- Preheat the oven to 160c/140c fan/gas mark 3.
- Once the ribs are browned turn down the heat to medium and pour off nearly all the oil, leaving about a tablespoon. Add the bacon and onion and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until the onions are soft and the bacon has browned. Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes.
- Add the tomato puree, cook that for a bit before adding the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and stout, scraping up the bits that might be stuck to the bottom of your pan. Don’t use expensive balsamic vinegar, it will be wasted here.
- Return all the ribs to the pot with the meatiest sides face down, if they will fit. If not, stand upwards if your pot is tall enough.
- Add the bay leaves and enough beef stock to cover the ribs. Bring the whole thing to a simmer and then turn off the heat.
- Cover the pot with foil to prevent the meat from drying out and then clamp the lid on tightly before putting it in the oven.
- Leave it in the oven for at least 3 hours or until the meat starts coming away from the bones and it can be easily torn apart with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest. You can eat now but it is best to allow to cool and reheat later.
- You can put the whole pot in the fridge now but to speed up the process I remove as much sauce as possible from the pot and put it into a plastic container and into the fridge. After an hour or two the fat will have risen and solidified. Remove all of this hard fat from the container.
- Pour the remaining sauce through a sieve and into a pan and put it back on the hob to heat and reduce slightly.
- Remove the ribs and shred the meat away from the bone and the fatty tissue. When the sauce has thickened, add the shredded beef and heat through.
- Spoon the beef onto your halved baguette and make sure to spoon plenty of the sauce on top.
- I like to melt some cheese onto the beef, you can add mayo or whatever is your preference.
- If you have any leftover meat you can freeze it in the sauce and it defrosts perfectly.