Braised Beef Short RibsPosted: 23 November 2010
>When Senor and I bought our 1/8th of a cow, we were presented with quite a few cuts of beef that were new to us. One giant slab, ‘brisket’ I still haven’t quite gotten up the courage to make. I’ve heard that done wrong, brisket and can be dry and gross so I want to make sure that I’m fully prepared when I do make it. Man vs. Food shows brisket a lot and let’s face it, I don’t have an outdoor, oak-smoking barbecue pit in which I can prepare a brisket over 48 hours. I’m going to have to improvise. Another item that confused me was a package of short ribs. I had definitely never had them before and I was nervous about them, so they sat in my freezer from May until November when I finally cooked them up.
It turns out, short ribs aren’t much different than a roast. I looked up a variety of recipes and decided that honey-dijon glazed short ribs would go well with some of our left over macaroni and cheese. I decided that the short ribs would be the perfect maiden voyage for my new 6-quart slow cooker. After looking at cooking tips, I deduced that braising the ribs in the crockpot would be the best way to cook them. They’re traditionally a tougher piece of meat and need the long, slow cooking time to tenderize. After cutting the ribs into pieces, I seared each side of the meat in a skillet with hot butter. After they were seared, I placed them on top of a bed of chopped onions, seasoned them with salt, pepper and garlic, and poured in enough beef broth so that they were almost fully submerged, but not quite.
I read that you could either cook the ribs on low for eight hours or on high for four hours. I don’t always do the best job of planning ahead, so I went with the four-hour cook time. I actually started them on high, turned them down to low for about an hour, and then finished them on high. To be completely honest, I think I probably could have cooked them on low for four hours. They literally fell off the bone. I know that’s good, it means tender, delicious meat. But I sort of wanted to keep them on the bone so I could glaze them in their honey-dijon sauce properly. What I ended up with was more a pile of shredded beef that just sort of flopped around with the onions, bones flying about as I tried to scoop everything out of the braising broth. I still mixed them in the sauce but the glazing wasn’t so much glazing as it was, heating.
I’m not sure if they would have been as delicious if they hadn’t been falling apart all over the place but despite my annoyance at the bones for flying off, I was pretty pleased with the fantastic flavor of the meat. It actually tasted a lot like a chuck roast which makes sense since the two cuts are right next to each other on the cow. Like a chuck roast, the meat also had a lot of fat to it…even though the meat came from a pastured, grass-fed cow which traditionally have A LOT less fat than a grain-feed steer. I’m not sure if there’s a way to trim the fat….I think you’d loose a lot of the tenderness if you did that. I saved the broth that was left from braising and refrigerated it after it cooled. The next day there was a layer of white fat on the top that I tossed out. I ended up using that broth for a batch of French Onion Soup. Yum!
Eventually when we have to buy our next 1/8th of a cow, I will likely try to find another way to cook the short ribs. Possibly with slow-cooking on the grill or in the oven to try out some other options. The honey-dijon glaze was pretty delicious though, and the meat accompanied the leftover mac and cheese really well.
Braised Short Ribs
1-2 lbs short ribs, cut into pieces
2 tbs butter (for searing)
1 carton low-sodium beef broth
1 large onion
Salt, pepper, garlic to taste
Sear the ribs on each side in the hot butter until nicely browned. Place the ribs in your slow cooker on top of onions. Season with salt, pepper and garlic. Pour the beef broth in so that the ribs are just visible above the liquid. Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 7 hours.
When the meat is done, remove it from the broth with a slotted spoon and let it drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
For the glaze, mix 1/2 cup of honey with 1/2 cup honey-djion mustard. Place the meat back in your skillet, pour the glaze over and turn the heat onto medium. If you can, glaze each side of the ribs, turning them to coat evenly. If your meat falls apart like mine did, just flip it around so that all of the little shreds of beef get coated in the glaze. Top the meat with freshly cut green onions.