Beef short ribs cause ecstacy

I’m not a fan of small pieces of meat on the bone. Chopped up duck, chicken wings, ribs, bak kut teh… I’ve never enjoyed chewing modest amounts of meat off bones. For years I ignored a cut of beef – short ribs – believing it would have, well, ribs in it. Duh. In fact, the short rib cut is often sold boneless in Australia, leaving just luscious layers of very flavoursome beef and quite a bit of fat. This cut is the relatively thin layer of meat that covers the outside of the ribs of the animal on the side of the ribcage, beyond the fleshier back areas (with thicker bone) used for cuts such as Scotch fillet (rib-eye) or rib roast.

While I was working on my Where are the Good Meat Books? feature on The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf, I came across a recipe for Korean-style oven-browned short ribs in one of my favourite meat books, The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly. It sounded very tasty, so it was time to get ribbin’. The outcome was nothing short of heaven. Fatty heaven, but heaven nonetheless.

The idea is to braise rib meat with lots of garlic and ginger until tender, then roast the pieces of meat in a hot oven until they crisp a bit. I must admit that, despite making this dish four times, I’ve never done the final step. It’s just too delicious in its braised form that I didn’t bother with the final oven crisping!

You can use bone-in or boneless short ribs. Trim them of excess fat and cut into largeish mouthfuls. Pop them in a good braising pot (cast iron is great). Add lots of ginger, garlic, soy sauce and some brown sugar, spring onions (scallions) and a little vinegar or lemon juice. Add water to cover the ribs. Simmer uncovered until the meat is tender (may take two hours).

Towards the end, you’ll need to stir more frequently as the moisture evaporates and things stick a bit. The amount of fat which renders from the rib meat is considerable and means that you get that lovely rich browning that readers might know from some south-east Asian beef curries/stews. The result is a dish with a deep, aromatic savoury-sweet profile with tender chunks of meat that separates into coarse layers. Rounded off with a little sesame oil at the end of cooking, it’s fantastic.

Serve it in relatively small portions on rice. Small portions? Yes, because everyone will want seconds! I’d recommend accompanying it with clean sweet preserved vegetables (light flavours), or some fresh, lightly cooked snowpeas or buk choy or wilted spinach.

8 thoughts on “Beef short ribs cause ecstacy”

  1. Wow, that looks delicious! I love slow cooked meat, and that looks like it would be perfect for this cold weather.

    xox Sarah

  2. I’m not sure if I bought “boneless” short ribs in the States, but it didn’t have bones either. They’re pretty popular for braising (and appears in Ad Hoc at Home). My family makes a similar dish (and now that I’m the main party cook, *I* make a similar dish), sans ginger, with more sugar and soy, and onions, and finished with sesame oil. Simmered for 3 hours, no oven. Heaven.

  3. I love gnawing on bones, though am not keen on poultry cut through the bones so that they break into shards – and I can’t do it well at home anyway. I’m a little confused about what ‘short ribs’ are is this really just the shorter rib section of the animal? I’m going to ask my butcher for some boneless short ribs and see what he says, because that does look and sound SO good it will be worth him having a laugh at my expense!

  4. There was one time that I braised the short ribs for 6 hours. I braised it in a lot of liquid and spices. And then I used the liquid as part of the base for noodles. I love its heartiness. It is a very understated piece of cut that not many appreciates.

  5. Where did you find raw beef short ribs. I went to the Queen Vic market and only found beef SPARE ribs. I am dying to try short ribs after your post.

  6. I can’t remember where I got the short ribs, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them at Footscray market. You could use very meaty spare ribs.

    Pork would probably work too (if meaty), though the ingredients might need to be toned down a little to let the pork shine through a bit.

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