Short ribs aren’t the same as other ribs. I’m not going to get into the technical stuff, but the short ribs are from the area on a steer that would correspond to spare ribs on a pig. Part of what this means is that they’re pretty fatty. The meat is also great on short ribs if cooked right.
There are some quick methods for cooking short ribs, but the best I’ve had were done REALLY slowly, like over an 18 hour period! I don’t take that long to cook a packer brisket!
One of the more traditional methods of cooking short ribs is to braise them, which is basically to sear the meat then cook for a long time in liquid. This keeps the meat moist and gives it time to break down to be good and tender.
I used the basic recipe from Tyler Florence’s Bistro Style Short Ribs as a base for the short ribs I made:
- I used short cut short ribs
- 2 peeled carrots
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 medium onion (I used half of a large onion)
- 1/2 head of garlic, peeled
- San Marzano tomatoes (I used 5 of them)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 cups red wine (I used a Cabernet Savignon)
The first thing I did to season the short ribs with black pepper and a good amount of salt (home cooks usually under-salt). Then I seared the short ribs on the grill. I made sure to sear all sides of the beef ribs. Once nicely seared, I brought the ribs back into the kitchen and turned the big green egg down so it would settle at about 225 degrees F.
I chunked up the onion, celery and carrots, and put them in the food processor with the tomatoes and garlic, using the blade attachment. I processed the mixture until it was pretty smooth, no chunks of anything left. Once that was ready, I put a bit of olive oil in a dutch oven with a tied bundle of thyme and heated the oil for a couple of minutes, then I added the mixture from the food processor and cooked it down for about 10 minutes, until the smell changed to more of a tomato sauce than just a mixture of vegetables.
The bundle of thyme bit was something I got from Anne Burrell. Instead of taking the time to remove all the leaves, cooking the thyme seems to result in the leaves coming off on their own, especially in a longer cook, so I just tied several stems together and threw it in the pot. This really worked, and the thyme was evident. Then I just tossed the whole bundle when it was cooked.
Once the mixture was ready, I added the beef stock and wine and brought it all to a boil, then added the short ribs. then I added boiling water to the mix, until I was sure the short ribs were covered by more than half an inch. I wanted to make sure they were covered because I didn’t want to cover the dutch oven while it was on the smoker. I decided on trying this method to add some smoke to the dish.
I checked the level of the liquid about every hour to make sure the ribs were still covered. What I found out was that the BGE is so good at moisture retention that I didn’t need as much liquid as I had. It didn’t hurt, but it wasn’t necessary.
During the last hour of smoking the braising ribs, I fixed another Tyler Florence recipe, mushroom risotto. It was pretty much the same as most risotto recipes I’ve seen, with the addition of finishing with truffle oil. I won’t go into the recipe here, but the link takes you right to it, and it’s a good recipe (though my wife thought it had a bit too much onion for her).
I let the ribs cook with cherry wood smoke for about 5 hours before checking the tenderness, and they were ready to go then. Braising does seem to cook faster than dry smoking, though dry smoking allows for more fat to render off the meat. The ribs were so tender that they were almost falling apart.
I took a couple cups of the braising liquid and reduced it by half, and I also added a bit of a light roux to thicken it slightly. From there, it was just a matter of plating and serving. We had a great Imagery Winery Petit Verdot… Honestly, if you can get to Sonoma Valley, you have to go to Imagery! I wish Ohio would change their laws back to allow me to be in their wine club again.
So the results of the meal? Great flavors, TENDER beef short ribs, and risotto with lots of mushrooms and a touch of truffle oil, all served with a great wine. Believe me you… Good stuff!