Short Ribs

Beef Short RibsWhen someone says short ribs, the first thing that comes to mind is slow-cooked, tender beef in a rich red wine sauce over mashed potatoes…or at least that’s the first thing that comes to our minds. The truth is, any search for a short rib recipe will result in hundreds of tasty possibilities. What’s interesting about that is while they all call for short ribs, the type of short rib required might be different.

All short ribs are cut from the ribs that extend from the back toward the belly. Depending on where it is cut from, it can be three to five inches thick and contains meat interspersed with a lot of muscle, fat, and tendon, which gives it a lot of strong beefy flavor.

To make sure you are getting what you need for the recipe you are using, here is a list of the different types of short ribs available.

English Style
The English style of short rib has a rectangular shape and are cut parallel to the ribs in between each rib, leaving a thick piece of meat sitting on top of one piece of bone. These ribs can be left as is in one long piece or cut into smaller, approximately 2-inch long pieces. Boneless short ribs can sometimes be found, which means that the meat is cut off the bones of an English-cut short rib.

English Style short ribs are best prepared by braising them low and slow until the meat melts in your mouth.

Flanken style short ribs are the ribs most commonly sold in stores. These short ribs are cut across the rib bones so that each slice contains a few pieces of bone. The cut pieces tend to be an inch and a half to two inches thick and, like the English version, are best suited for low and slow braising.

Korean style short ribs are basically Flanken style short ribs that have been cut very thin, usually about 1/2 inch thick. These ribs can be used Korean style to make Kalbi or in a South American style Asado. Whichever flavor you choose, these thin-cut short ribs are prepared best on the grill.

Though this style of short rib is commonly sold in Asian supermarkets, most people will have to ask their butcher to cut these for them.

Here are two of our favorite recipes for preparing short ribs: Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onions and Short Ribs and Red Wine Sauce.  

Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onions is a classic bistro-style braised recipe that I serve with mashed potatoes. It combines Guinness, red onions and bacon. How can you go wrong with that? Don’t you just feel warm and comforted by the mere thought of that combo? Or am I just weird and hungry? I could die happy in a vat of this stuff.

Short Ribs and Red Wine Sauce is perfect for mid-week because it makes use of the crockpot. If you have ever heard the term Sunday Gravy used to describe a slow-simmered meat sauce for pasta, this recipe is a great example—except that it uses a crockpot instead of simmering on the stove. This rich sauce that gets even better after a day in the fridge. You can serve this over pasta or with cheesy polenta. (It’s part of the same post as the Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onion, so just scroll down.)

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