braised beef short ribs

There are two things I cannot stop doing:

1) Singing Rachel’s “Gives You Hell” from the triumphant return of Glee. If I were a Gleek, I would rewind this scene and watch it over and over again, pausing to take in Artie’s cute-as-pie toothy smile. But I’m not a Gleek.

I’m not! I’m not!

2) Dreaming about these braised beef short ribs. As I was reheating some for Husband’s dinner last night, I may have snuck a taste or two. Or eaten half of his meal. Smaller portions for post-surgical patients are recommended, right?

My rendezvous with these crazy delicious short ribs began, as all good things do, with television (ahem…Glee. Case in point). I was channel surfing on a rare lazy saturday afternoon and landed on an episode of America’s Test Kitchen. It’s my new televised culinary crack, and here’s why:

1) I feel like making lists today.

2) It doesn’t have any annoying hosts. I’m not going to name names, but let’s just say that they rhyme with Dachel Day and Fandra Fee.

3) In addition to show you how to make a completely awesome meal start to finish, they also give you a little explanation behind the dish. In this case, host Christopher Kimball (who is also the founder of Cook’s Magazine, fyi), explained the different cuts of meat that are considered “short ribs”, where to get them, how to trim them, and what type of recipes to use them in.

Within two seconds of seeing what they were making in this particular episode, I knew I was destined to do the same. Previously I had only encountered short ribs in restaurants, but after making this incredible entree in my own kitchen, I’ll never go back.

But I didn’t exactly follow the ATK directions to the T. Since I have a neurotic need to alter every recipe that I lay eyes on, I changed it a bit and made it my own. It’s a nervous tick. I’m working on it.

For instance, I began not with onions but with wine. A whole bottle of it. I wanted to make an incredibly rich, flavorful sauce, so I started by reducing the wine by half, and then added a few of their suggested ingredients.

In terms of the meat itself, the ribs were incredibly easy to work with: no muss, no fuss. A tad on the expensive side as far as red meat goes, but I don’t mind paying a bit more for cuts that are this flavorful. ATK recommends using boneless short ribs, but my butcher didn’t carry them and was still going to charge me for the weight of the bones if he trimmed them. I went with it, figuring that the bones would only contribute more flavor the the sauce.

And boy did they ever. I was also suprised at how easy this dish was to make: there’s very little prep involved. Chopping a few veggies here, browning a few ribs there. Make some sauce, stick the whole shebang in the oven and…

…”bam!” To quote Semeril Sagasse. 

Imagine pot roast, but like a million times better.

Damn I’m a good writer. I use such descriptive phrases as “a million times better,” “a bit” and “incredibly easy.” Someone give me a freaking Pulitzer already.

By “a million times better,” I mean that the meat is richer and more intense. The sauce doesn’t only exist to maintain moisture in the meat as it does for a big roast—it also ends up as a wonderfully tasty accouterment, perfect for sopping up with a loaf of crusty bread.

And the meat could not physically be more tender than in this dish. You know sometimes how meat in a roast is tender but dry at the same time? Not here. Not at all. Fork-tender, flavorful meat all the way, baby.

Yum-O. A semi-homemade meal in 30 minutes or less. Oh yeah, babe.

If I ever had hopes of making it on Food Network, they’ve all been shot to shit now.

Television just  makes me look fat anyway.

Make this incredibly easy dish that’s a bit and a million times better than, like, everything else. Oh, and I teach writing classes on thursday evenings. Come and learn from the master.


Braised Beef Short Ribs (based on the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen)

  • 3 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • 1 bottle or 4 cups dry red wine
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 5-6 carrots, peeled and cut into 3″ long pieces
  • 3 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1 packet gelatin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Pour the bottle of red wine into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half.

Preheat oven to 300F and place rack in lower middle position. Slice the short ribs into one-rib pieces and season with salt and pepper. Add one tablespoon of the oil to a large dutch oven and heat on medium-high until the oil shimmers. Brown half of the short ribs on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Repeat with a second tablespoon of oil to brown the remaining ribs. Transfer ribs to a plate.

With dutch oven still over medium-high heat, heat the last tablespoon of oil and add the garlic. Sautee for one minute, stirring constantly. Add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes more. Pour in the reduced wine and deglaze by stirring rapidly, scraping all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour in the beef broth and add the bay leaf, carrots, and ribs. Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 2-2 1/2 hours, or until beef is fork-tender and ribs have separated from the meat.

Remove from oven and using a slotted spoon transfer the meat and carrots to a bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm. Discard bones and bay leaf. Pour the sauce into a small pitcher and place in the fridge until fat has risen to the top, about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the packet of gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Spoon off the fatty layer from the top of the sauce and pour sauce back into pan. Heat on medium-high and stir in the gelatin. Pour sauce over meat and carrots. Serve immediately. Serves 4.


  1. Can I leave the gelatin out? Maybe use flour to thicken the sauce instead?

    • rainyd01 says:

      You could try, but the gelatin give it a nice mouth feel. Flour runs the risk of going gritty.

    • No, don’t. The reason short ribs and other similar cuts of meat are so unctious is that the collagen in the meat, which makes it tough when not thoroughly cooked, melts. This makes the meat tender, and the collagen converts to GELATIN which thickens the sauce in the most delightful way. Can’t think of a better wird than unctious!

      That is why bottom round, when stewed, is tender but dry. No collage. No gelatin. No unctious!

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