When done right, red wine braised short ribs can be as delicious as anything. But don’t be fooled into thinking there is some fancy technique behind it. It's actually very, very simple. The technique is called, “braising”, and it’s a technique that can be applied to any tough cut of meat. So pay close attention…if you can tackle this, a world of opportunity opens up in your kitchen. Plus, once you learn this, you could make the Short Rib Grilled Cheese from my food truck that was designed to not be so easy to make at home.
6 Large Boneless Short Ribs (Or 6 Short Ribs with the bones removed)
2 Celery Stalks
6 Cloves of Garlic
2 Bay Leaves
5 Sprigs of Thyme, plus some for garnish
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
3/4 of a Bottle Red Wine, Make sure it tastes good
3 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
1 box of Beef Stock
Salt & Pepper
Flour for Dredging the Meat
Prepare the short ribs a little bit ahead of time for the best results. If long pieces of boneless short ribs, then cut them in half to create a smaller portion so each person gets a nice piece of short rib. Then salt them generously on all sides and let them sit in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours and up to about 6 hours. This is called dry brining. As the salt penetrates the meat, it begins to denature the portions in the meat which results in them contracting less when its cooks which ultimately results to less moisture being forced out of the meat during cooking. So it's going to be salted all the way throughout the meat and should retain more moister than if you just salted it before cooking. But if you are short on time, by all means salt before cooking. Dry brining is just ideal if you have the time.
Dice up the carrots, celery and onion into a medium to small dice, roughly equal sizes. Then smash the garlic and roughly chop that as well.
After the meat has been marinating in that salt, it’s time to let it rest at room temp, 15-20 minutes. Then pat the meat dry with a towel and then season with fresh cracked black pepper. Then dredge all sides of the meat lightly in flour. This will help the meat brown, developing more flavor. Bring everything over to the stove.
On the stove, on medium high heat, in a dutch oven or heavy bottoms pot, add a few tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil and let that get hot. Then begin searing the short ribs on all sides until browned. Do this in batches or you’ll just steam the meat, not sear it. Then set the sears meat off on a plate until we want to add it back to the pot.
Drain out any oil and burnt particles of flour, wipe it out with a paper towel, then add another few tablespoons of oil and add all the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and sauté on medium heat until they start to lightly brown. Then add 3 tablespoons of the tomato paste and stir it up. Get all the vegetables coated and let the tomato paste cook for a minute or two. You need to cook out the raw tomato flavor. This is going to add body and depth of flavor to the sauce.
Once you start to see those dark bits develop on the bottom of the pan (“fond”), add 3/4 of a bottle of red wine and let that reduce by about half and let the alcohol cook off. Then add the bay leaf and the herbs, then add the short ribs back to the pot. Finally, add enough beef stock to almost cover the meat, about 1 quart. Don’t salt it at this point. The sauce will reduce and you’ve added a good amount of salt to the meat and vegetables. So wait to season if it needs any to the end.
Stir it up a bit and bring that up to a boil. Put the lid on and put it in the middle rack of the oven and cook that for about 2 1/2 hours, or until they can be easily pulled apart with a fork. After 2 1/2 hours, if they are clearly tender, take the lid off the pot and then continue to cook, uncovered in the oven for another 20-30 minutes. They help brown the meat again and reduce the sauce enough to thicken it slightly so that we can just serve it up once its all done.
Once the short ribs are done, get them out of the oven, remove the short ribs too a plate and discard the herbs and bay leaf. Skim off as much fat off the top of the sauce as you can. Check and adjust for seasoning if needed. Then add 2-3 tablespoons of cold butter and stir. This is going to bring the sauce together and make it nice and glossy.
Serve with mashed potatoes (see my recipe), topped with a nice piece of short rib and topped with that delicious sauce and a few fresh thyme sprigs.
If you’re smart, you make a few extra short ribs, pull them before add butter to the sauce, shredded the beef and add some of the braising liquid as well as some of the vegetables (as seen in the video) and save that for the next day because next episode I’m showing you how to make the famous Short Rib grilled cheese from my old food truck.
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