Beef Short Ribs Recipe
Short ribs make an inexpensive, tasty entree, but they're fatty and often tough. A slow-cooker and a little ingenuity can make a big difference.
Short ribs are cheap and tasty, but they have a downside. They’re generally pretty greasy and often tough. Traditional methods of cooking can overcome the toughness, but often just add to the fat content because they require the ribs to be coated in flour, and then browned in oil before baking, and because baking can dry the meat, they’re often served with high-fat gravy.
While nothing can change the essential fatty quality of the ribs, a little shift in the way you approach them can make a world of difference. Skip the flour coating, and the oil, and heat a non-stick skillet over a medium high heat. Brown the ribs, being careful to turn them frequently. This will render some of the fat from the meat immediately. If you find you’re getting a lot of fat in the pan, remove the ribs, pour off the fat and replace ribs to finish browning them. They should be nicely browned on all sides. Don’t skip this step thinking to save time because browning brings out a lot of the flavor in the meat as well as removing some of the fat.
Once you’ve browned the ribs on all sides, drain them on paper towels to get the fat off the surface, and then put them into a crock-pot or slow cooker. Add water just to cover, and some beef bouillon according to package directions depending on how much water you’ve added. Add to the pot sliced onions and the tops of about six celery stalks, leaves and all. Don’t add salt; the bouillon should make the stock salty enough.
Whatever else you add is dependent on your tastes, but I always add tarragon to give it a nice, fresh flavor. A teaspoon of dried tarragon is enough, but if you use fresh – and I prefer fresh – be generous. Lay sprigs across the surface of the meat in the pot. I also like a tablespoon or so of minced garlic and a tablespoon of prepared horseradish because it gives the meat a nice, rich flavor. Beet horseradish is very good in this dish; however if you use any sort of horseradish, skip the pepper. You can always salt and pepper at the table if you find the ribs aren’t seasoned to your taste, but it’s rough to try to compensate for too much seasoning!
Cook the ribs for about five hours on medium, or until the meat separates from the bone. Remove from the stock and serve. The meat will be moist and flavorful, and best of all, it will be tender and not nearly as greasy as baked ribs. You won’t have to drown these in gravy either. And don’t throw out the stock because it’s really excellent. Remove the cooked celery, etc., and strain to remove any bits of vegetable or meat, skim the fat and add cooked noodles, rice, and/or vegetables for some of the best beef soup you’ve ever had.