Braised beef short ribs are astonishingly easy to make, cooked low and slow in pomegranate balsamic sauce until fall apart tender and dripping with flavor!
These braised short ribs will have your whole family drooling! They are juicy, succulent, rich and flavorful and deceptively easy to make even though they look like (and taste!) like the best fine dining has to offer. To make, simply sear the beef short ribs, sauté onions carrots and celery, add your braising liquid and herbs, then bake until tender while your home fills with the rich aroma of anticipation. What you will especially love is that this short ribs recipe tastes even better the next day! This allows you to easily remove the fat (no greasy short ribs!) and just reheat on the stove for 15 minutes AKA an ideal company or holiday dinner. Serve your short ribs over some garlic mashed potatoes and you have one of the easiest gourmet comfort foods you’ll ever make!
Short Ribs recipe
If you have never made (or sunk your teeth into) short ribs – now is the time! While they might seem intimidating to make, they are actually one of the easiest, juiciest, most succulent, hearty, classic comfort foods IN THE WORLD – and the oven does most of the work! Here’s the breakdown of this luxuriously simple braised short ribs recipe:
TENDER Short ribs. Beef short ribs are more succulent and juicy than other slow cooking cuts of beef, even my beloved chuck roast! Their rich marbling creates a self-basting effect as it breaks down and drips over the meat, resulting in the juiciest beef you ever tasted with rich, beefy flavor that literally melts in your mouth.
FLAVOR. While the beef short ribs themselves are deeply flavorful from their seared caramelized crust and self basting marbling, they get cooked low and slow in a pomegranate balsamic sauce that is to live for. It’s sweet, tangy, spiked with herbs and creates a deeply complex flavor profile that is subtle at the same time.
EASY. While braised short ribs looks and sounds elegant, they are SO EASY! After your initial prep of searing the ribs and sautéing the veggies – the beef short ribs are on hands-off oven cruise control. Serve with some crockpot mashed potatoes and easy salad and dinner is served!
CROWD PLEASER. Although this braised short ribs recipe is unbelievably easy and cozy enough for weeknights, it looks and sounds elegant enough for Christmas, holidays, company or Sunday dinner. The pomegranate balsamic sauce adds an especially delectable WOW factor.
Less Expensive. You will be charged top dollar for an entrée of beef short ribs at any restaurant – but you can feed the entire family for the same price!
Make Ahead. This beef short ribs recipe tastes even better the next day! The flavors intensify, the vegetables become sweeter and it only takes 15 minutes to reheat. Making ahead is also a huge plus if you’ve been turned off by greasy short ribs. The next day, you can easy skim off the solidified fat – for all the flavor without the fat.
WHAT are short ribs?
Beef short ribs aren’t common every day fair because they are more expensive than chicken, but let me assure you, they are a protein you want to become acquainted with. Here are the deets:
WHAT do short ribs taste like?
You are probably familiar with pork spare ribs which are commonly eaten with barbecue sauce. Short ribs are the beef equivalent – but WAY meatier and juicier. They boast the rich marbling of ribeye steaks with the deep beef flavor and fall-apart characteristics of chuck roast – which means they are even MORE flavorful and tender than chuck roast. Just think the juiciest, most melt-in-your-mouth tender chuck roast – and you have beef short ribs.
Where do short ribs come from?
“Short ribs come from the beef chuck portion of a beef animal. They are the five (5) short ribs from the chuck section that are too small to be used for good steaks. So, in short, short ribs are just that: short ribs.” (Lake Geneva Country Meats).
What do short ribs look like?
There are two major types of cuts of short ribs. The “flanken” is cut across the bone to create 1-2” square blocks and the “English” in which the ribs are cut parallel to the bone to create 3-6” rectangular blocks. We want English ribs for this braised short rib recipe, although sometimes packages come with a combination, which is just fine. Short ribs are also sometimes sold as a rack rather than pre-cut ribs. In this case, simply cut in between the bones to separate the ribs.
Either pre-cut short ribs or a rack of short ribs should be easy to find in the meat section of your grocery store. You can also ask your butcher for long-cut beef short ribs on the bone.
Short ribs also come in a variety of sizes. For this braised short rib recipe, you will likely need two packages of short ribs, so try and select two packages with similar sizes of ribs. When I was selecting my ribs, there were some packages with much smaller ribs and some with larger ribs. I selected two packages with larger ribs so there would be a greater meat to bone ratio AKA meatier ribs. This also meant my ribs took closer to 4 hours to cook, whereas the smaller ribs would have taken closer to two hours to cook.
Can Short Ribs be Boneless?
Yes, beef short ribs can be boneless. Boneless short ribs are when the rib meat is separated from the bone. For the BEST beef short ribs recipe, however, please do not use boneless short ribs – use bone-IN short ribs. The bone acts as a conductor to ensure more evenly baked and tender ribs.
Do you trim short ribs before braising?
Short ribs usually come with quite a bit of fat – both marbling within and layers on the outside. While you can potentially trim the outside fat, it can be difficult and I prefer not to since the fat insulates the meat and is a huge factor in keeping it moist while cooking.
The downside of beef short ribs fatty outside is that the fat melts off while braising, leaving the liquid with a layer of fat. You can either strain the fat off the top of the liquid or my favorite method is to refrigerate the ribs overnight and scrape off the solidified fat the next day, reheat and serve. This makes for a super convenient make ahead dinner AND the beef short ribs recipe taste even better the next day.
WHAT IS BRAISING?
My favorite way to cook short ribs is to braise them in the oven. Braising allows a less tender cut of beef such as roast, brisket, ribs, etc. to become ridiculously tender. While you can braise beef short ribs in the slow cooker, braising them in the oven makes them extra flavorful because the short ribs caramelize while they bake.
Braising is the combination of searing the ribs to create a flavorful crust and to protect the meat from drying out, and then cooking low and slow in a covered pot with liquid. Cooking short ribs low and slow breaks the down the collagen which turns into gelatin tenderizing the meat so it’s fall apart tender and bursting with rich flavor. The beef further releases its juices into the broth, which we will use to pour over the short ribs, adding yet another layer of flavor.
What is the Difference Between Braising and Stewing?
Braising and stewing are very similar, but have a few distinct differences. In braising, large cuts of beef are cooked in the least amount of liquid to submerge the beef. In stewing, small cuts of beef are cooked in larger amounts of liquid and completely submerged, and are usually cooked with similar sized vegetables.
INGREDIENTS FOR SHORT RIBS RECIPE
This braised beef short ribs recipe starts with simple ingredients in perfect proportions. You will need:
- Short ribs: use bone-IN short ribs with rich marbling. Try and choose packages of ribs similar in size.
- Oil: use a high smoking point oil such as vegetable oil to sear the short ribs and not olive oil.
- Pomegranate juice: can be found with the unrefrigerated juices at your grocery store – be sure to ask someone if you can’t find it. There are also some brands that are refrigerated.
- Balsamic vinegar: use quality balsamic vinegar for the best flavor.
- Brown sugar: balances the tanginess of the pomegranate juice and the balsamic vinegar.
- Beef Broth: use low sodium beef broth so we can control the salt level.
- Liquid smoke: adds a subtle, smoky flavor. Liquid smoke should easily be found at your grocery store located next to the barbecue sauces.
- Kosher salt: the large grains of kosher salt distribute easily and cling well to the meat’s surfaces as opposed to table salt. If you only have table salt, you will want to use half of the amount or your beef short ribs will be too salty.
- Dijon mustard: adds a slight tanginess to awaken the earthy flavors.
- Seasonings: chili powder, dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley, dried rosemary, paprika, dried thyme, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and bay leaves. I know it sounds like a lot going on, but the seasoning bake and meld together to create a balanced, complex, alluring flavor profile.
- Onion: use one diced yellow onion. When a recipe doesn’t specify a specific onion, use yellow onion.
- Carrots and celery: chop them into 1/4 -1/2” pieces. You don’t need to be exact.
- Garlic: sautéed fresh garlic infuses the braising liquid and therefore the short ribs with garlicky goodness.
HOW DO YOU SEASON BEEF SHORT RIBS recipe?
Braised short ribs are flavored three ways: 1) with a rub, 2) with vegetables, and 3) with the braising liquid.
- THE RUB: It is important to generously season beef short ribs before they are seared to create a flavorful crust. The short ribs are simply seasoned with kosher and pepper which gets rubbed into the meat and then caramelized with the meat to become one.
- THE VEGETABLES. Braised short ribs are often cooked with chopped onions, celery and carrots. These three vegetables when sautéed with olive oil/butter are known as a “mirepoix,” and provide a richness and depth of flavor that can’t be achieved any other way. You can chop all your veggies in advance or you can even buy mirepoix by the jar and keep it in your refrigerator.
- THE BRAISING LIQUID. I’ve taken a unique spin on the braising liquid and instead of just using beef broth, we’re using mostly pomegranate juice spiked with beef broth, balsamic, Dijon and a plethora of hand-picked dried seasoning. The resulting braising liquid is savory, sweet and tangy and layered with flavor. The resulting short ribs are savory, sweet and tangy and layered with flavor.
HOW TO COOK SHORT RIBS
STEP 1: SEASON SHORT RIBS
Pat short ribs dry with paper towels so the seasonings will stick. Sprinkle short ribs evenly all over with kosher salt and pepper and rub in. Allow to rest while you chop your onions, celery, carrots and garlic to further tenderize the meat.
STEP 2: SEAR SHORT RIBS
Working in two batches, sear the short ribs on all sides to develop flavor and to seal in the juices. You don’t want to try and squeeze them all in one batch or they will be too close together and steam instead of sear. Make sure you use vegetable oil because we need an oil with a high smoking point – don’t substitute olive oil. Make sure you brown the short ribs on all sides until deeply golden. You can use tongs or two forks to rotate the ribs.
STEP 3: SAUTE VEGETABLES
Scrape out any black bits from the pan (if there are any) but leave the golden bits, because golden bits = flavor! Add additional oil to the pan if needed to equal 1 tablespoon; alternatively, drain extra grease to equal 1 tablespoon. Cook the carrots, onions and celery for 4 minutes; add garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
STEP 4: ADD BRAISING LIQUID INGREDIENTS
Add pomegranate juice, beef broth, balsamic, brown sugar, Dijon and seasonings and give them a good stir, scraping up any flavorful bit on the bottom of the pan. Add seared ribs to the pot, bone-side up. The meat should be mostly submerged, if not, top the ribs off with water.
STEP 5: BAKE
Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake for 2 ½- 4 hours (depending on size of ribs) or until the short ribs are literally fall apart tender.
How do I skim the fat?
Once the braised beef short ribs are done cooking, they will have a noticeable amount of fat – but don’t be deterred! The significant amount of fat is one of the reasons I like to make short ribs in advance – by placing the pot in the refrigerator overnight, the fat hardens and so you can easily remove ALL the fat. If overnight prep isn’t an option, then I have another winning solution.
To remove the fat:
- First, use a slotted spoon to remove the short ribs and vegetables to a serving plate and tightly cover with foil.
- Transfer the braising liquid to a small saucepan. A smaller, deeper pan makes it easier to skim fat by creating deep layers vs. shallow layers.
- Refrigerate the saucepan for 15 minutes to help the fat more clearly separate from the liquid. Fat naturally rises to the top and cold will expedite this process. During these 15 minutes, I like to mash my potatoes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the saucepan from the refrigerator and gently tilt the pan to one side, being careful not to slosh the liquid or the fat and juices will combine again.
- Now the juices and fat should be accumulated in a corner, with the clearish-orange fat on the top and the juices on the bottom. Shallowly dip a large spoon into the puddle, just deep enough to allow the fat to spill into the spoon. Skim the fat into a can or other perishable container until only the braising liquid remains. Make sure to keep the pan tilted the entire time so the fat layer and braising liquid stay separate.
HOW TO MAKE THE DRIPPINGS INTO A SAUCE:
After degreasing the braising liquid, we are left with deeply flavorful juices that make a delectable pan sauce. You can either serve the liquid straight out of the saucepan (after warming for just a few minutes because the pan has been refrigerated) OR you can simmer the liquid to reduce to make a sauce – both are delicious, it just comes down to personal preference.
To make pan sauce:
- Bring the liquid to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Simmer until the liquid reduces to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Keep in mind that the longer the liquid reduces, the sweeter it will become due to the balsamic vinegar reducing.
- To serve, arrange two short ribs on a bed of mashed potatoes or polenta along with cooking vegetables. Drizzle with pomegranate braising sauce.
DO YOU HAVE TO BROWN THE SHORT RIBS BEFORE COOKING?
You should always sear any type of meat before cooking, especially short ribs because they are richly marbles with fat. I know searing the ribs might seem like a turn-off, but it really only takes 10 minutes and is an essential step for tender, flavorful short ribs every time.
Searing the ribs renders some of the fat and develops complex caramelized flavor and a deeply golden crust. You can’t fake this rich flavor any other way. Searing the beef short ribs also helps protect them from drying out during the long cooking process by sealing in the juices.
HOW LONG TO COOK SHORT RIBS IN THE OVEN?
Cooking short ribs in the oven takes between 2 ½ to 4 hours at 325 degrees F. I suggest checking your short ribs on the earlier end of the cooking spectrum but don’t be alarmed if it takes another 1-2 hours. If your short ribs are not tender when you check them, then be patient and cook on, they just need more time for the proteins to break down.
There are many factors when it comes to cooking times – the size and thickness of your short ribs, the shape/size of your pot, and the material of your pot. When selecting beef short ribs for this post, I selected larger short ribs so they took closer to four hours; if I had selected the packages of smaller short ribs; they would have taken closer to two hours to cook.
WHY IS MY BEEF SHORT RIBS RECIPE TOUGH?
Properly cooked short ribs will NEVER be tough. If your beef short ribs are tough, then it just means they were not cooked long enough – which is easy to remedy! If your short ribs are tough, continue to cook at 325 degrees F for an additional 1-2 hours. Cook your short ribs until the largest rib easily shreds with a fork. See below on how to make the most tender short ribs.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN BEEF SHORT RIBS ARE DONE?
There is no technical way to know when short ribs are done – but there is an easy way! You can tell when the braised short ribs are done because they will easily shred with a fork and will literally fall off the bone. I literally only had 2 short ribs still connected to the bone by the time I was done cooking. If the meat isn’t easily pulling away, then it is not done and you need to continue to cook until it is fall apart tender.
HOW DO I MAKE TENDER SHORT RIBS?
There are 5 factors to create the most tender braised short ribs:
- Use bone-in short ribs. Set yourself up for success by using bone-IN short ribs. The bone act as a conductor and protects the short ribs from overcooking and helps the ribs cook more evenly resulting in juicer short ribs. The bone also has some fat around it that makes it deeply more flavorful and more moist than boneless short ribs.
- Use well-marbled short ribs. Choose short ribs that are fresh, bright in color and contain a lot of marbling because marbling = flavor and tenderness. As the fat melts and breaks down, it drips over the meat, creating a self-basting effect resulting in the juiciest short ribs you ever tasted!
- Kosher salt. Seasoning the short ribs with kosher salt changes the structure of the muscle proteins, opening them up so they can retain more of their own juices.
- Sear the short ribs. Aggressively searing the short ribs creates the Maillard reaction resulting in rich, deep, complex flavor and prevents the surface of the ribs from becoming dehydrated. Take care to sear the short ribs in batches so they develop a deeply caramelized crust and don’t just steam.
- Cooking for long enough. Many people become frustrated when they check their short ribs and they are not tender. If this is the case, the short ribs simply need more time to cook and tenderize, even 30 more minutes can make the world of difference between “okay” short ribs and a melt-in-your-mouth tender short ribs. So, if you’re ribs aren’t literally fall apart tender, be patient and roast on!
HELPFUL TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST SHORT RIBS RECIPE
Here’s a recap of some tips and tricks for flawless, fall apart flavorful braised short ribs:
- Comfortable fit. You can use a 3-4 pounds beef short ribs, but don’t use more than can comfortably squeeze into your Dutch oven in a single layer.
- Choose larger short ribs. If you have the choice between packages of smaller short ribs or packages of larger short ribs, choose the larger short ribs because they are meatier.
- Uniform size. If there are only two packages of smaller short ribs, choose those over mix-matched sizes. You want relatively uniform short ribs so they cook evenly.
- Pat short ribs dry. Pat the ribs very dry or the seasonings will not stick properly.
- Season in advance. I learned from a chef demonstration that you always want to let seasonings rest on protein, whether it’s short ribs, pork, chicken or fish. This resting time allows the seasonings to penetrate the protein and enhance the flavor and the salt will further tenderize the meat. It also and helps the seasonings stick to the protein instead of sliding off once the protein hits the pan. You can use the resting time to chop the veggies and whisk together the braising liquid with seasonings.
- Sear ribs. Aggressively sear the short ribs so they are deeply golden. Don’t skip this step or they won’t be as flavorful or juicy.
- Don’t burn ribs. Monitor the temperature while searing the ribs to prevent those flavorful bits in the pan from burning. You want to be able to use the golden bits (and not black) to brown the vegetables with.
- Use a hot pan. When searing, a hot pan is not to be confused with “high heat.” Instead, don’t add the short ribs until the oil is shimmering hot.
- Bone side up. Place the short ribs meat side down and the bones/ribs facing up in the braising liquid. This will prevent the meat from drying out.
- Submerge short ribs. Top the short ribs off with water so the meat is submerged in liquid. It is okay if the top bone portions are not covered.
How Many Short Ribs Per Person?
Calculating how many short ribs per person depends on the size of the ribs/how the ribs are cut, so the best way to calculate how many ribs per person is by the pound. I would figure about one pound of bone-in short ribs per person. Although this might seem like a lot, once you remove the fat and bone, the amount of meat reduces significantly.
One pound of short ribs comes out to 2-3 short ribs per person, depending on how meaty your short ribs are. Of course, you also need to take into consideration how big of eaters you are serving.
To serve, I suggest placing a generous amount of potatoes, polenta or grits in a serving dish, placing 2-3 short ribs on the potatoes then drizzling with braising liquid.
MAKE AHEAD SHORT RIBS RECIPE
You can make the braised beef short ribs ahead two ways: 1) by prepping the short ribs up to the point of baking OR baking, and reheating. Here’s how:
How to prep ahead and bake later:
- Prepare the short ribs by searing the ribs, sautéing the vegetables and adding the braising liquid to the Dutch oven.
- Transfer the Dutch oven to the refrigerator until ready to bake (up to 24 hours.)
- When ready to bake, let sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, then cook according to recipe directions.
How to bake first and reheat:
This is my preferred method to prepare short ribs because it allows you to easily scrape off all of the solidified fat before you reheat the short ribs and you don’t have to guess about the cooking time – simply bake until tender, refrigerate, then reheat.
- Follow recipe according to directions, baking until short ribs are fall apart tender.
- Let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- When ready reheat, scrape off the hardened fat from the top of the meat.
- Cover, and cook over medium-heat for 15 minutes or until warmed through.
HOW DO I STORE BEEF SHORT RIBS RECIPE?
Let braised short ribs cool to room temperature, then either cover and store the entire pot in the refrigerator or transfer to a smaller airtight container, including all of the veggies and braising liquid to keep the short ribs moist. Store short ribs for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
HOW DO I REHEAT BEEF SHORT RIBS?
Braised beef short ribs reheat beautifully! You can reheat them in the microwave, stove or crockpot.
- Microwave: For smaller batches or individual servings, transfer short ribs and some of the veggies/braising liquid to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel. Microwave for 90 seconds, then continue to microwave for 20-second intervals, if needed.
- Stove: Alternatively, you can reheat large batches on the stove over medium heat, for approximately 15 minutes or until warmed through.
- Crockpot: You may also transfer the short ribs and braising liquid/veggies to the slow cooker and cook over low heat for 45 minutes or until warmed through.
CAN I FREEZE SHORT RIBS RECIPE?
The short ribs themselves freeze beautifully, but the carrots/celery will soften and can even turn mushy when defrosted. You can either freeze the short ribs just with the liquid strained from the veggies, or puree the veggies with the liquid.
To freeze short ribs recipe:
- Let beef short ribs cool completely.
- Transfer beef to an air-tight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag along with the liquid and optional carrots/celery. You can also portion into many smaller container/bags.
- Squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn.
- Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
- When ready to eat, thaw short ribs in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheat in the slow cooker, microwave or stove per aforementioned directions.
WHAT GOES WELL WITH BRAISED SHORT RIBS RECIPE?
These beef short ribs pair fabulously well with my Company Mashed Potatoes (as pictured) as well as cheesy grits or creamy polenta. It is also delicious with:
- Breads: go as simple as store bought French bread or amp it up with homemade Garlic Bread, Cheesy Pull Apart Pesto Bread, Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks, Award Winning Sweet Moist Cornbread or Soft and Fluffy Dinner Rolls.
- Green Salad: my Cucumber Tomato Salad with Italian Dressing is crisp and refreshing as well as my Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch or sweeter Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad or Strawberry Spinach Salad. During the winter months, both my Apple Salad with Apple Poppy Seed Vinaigrette and Fall Salad with Pomegranate Dressing are spectacular.
- Fruit: sweet, refreshing fruit pairs beautifully with the robust, short ribs. Creamy Grape Salad, Berry Salad in Mascarpone, Cranberry Pomegranate Ambrosia Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad or Winter Fruit Salad are all winners.
- Pasta Salads: are always a fabulous, refreshing addition and I love that they are also prepped ahead of time. Some of my favorites to serve with short ribs recipe include: Creamy Bacon Pea Pasta Salad with Lemon Chive Dressing. Salad and Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad.
- Comfort food: Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Beans with Brown Sugar and Bacon, Slow Cooker Creamed Corn for the win!
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