These Braised Beef Short Ribs are so tender you can eat them with a spoon. The sauce has a deep, rich flavor and your house will smell amazing while it’s cooking. Minimal hands-on time with a deep, rich sauce that rivals even the finest restaurants!
I made these braised short ribs again yesterday to rave reviews all around once again. It’s early 2021, it was cold and rainy, and an easy, hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal seemed perfect.
The smell that will fill your house while these are cooking is absolutely heavenly. We all kept commenting how much we were drooling and that we could hardly wait for the short ribs to be finished. I decided to start them about 1pm which made for an early dinner, perfect for this cold and rainy Sunday.
This is the meal to make if you want restaurant-quality food at home without spending all day working in the kitchen. It’s a great choice for everyone from experienced cooks to a novice who wants to do something special for someone. Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, or Christmas are also great choices. It’s an easy way to impress that special someone yet still have plenty of time to do other things throughout the day.
Sundays are made for being lazy, and these braised beef short ribs are kinda like that: low and slow and lazy. Brown them well, toss in a few more ingredients then let them do their thing. No fuss yet they turn out something amazing! It’s basically just mirepoix , some wine, herbs and garlic, all simmered together until the short ribs become meltingly tender.
So tender, in fact, that most of the bones will have completely fallen away from the rib meat. The ones that haven’t will drop off the second the rib is picked up!
What does braised short ribs mean?
What is braising?
To answer that, let’s first talk about what “braising” is. Basically, the meat is seared until it’s well-browned then it’s simmered partially submerged in liquid and slow-cooked until the meat is very tender. Braising is my favorite cooking method during the winter; it’s easy, makes my house smell amazing, and makes a nice big pot of something delicious. Braised beef short ribs are what I make most often, and you’ll know why after the first time you make them, too!
What are short ribs?
Short ribs don’t look like the more common ribs you’re used to. They’re taken from the short portion of the rib bone, and the bone itself is almost indistinguishable from the meat when you’re purchasing. It basically looks like very small-sized rectangular little roasts, and are usually sold two to a package (at least in my area). Each package is roughly 1.5 pounds, so I’ll typically pick up four packages, which comes out to approximately 6 pounds. That’s the perfect amount for our family which will also give us some leftovers.
If you’re cooking for fewer than 4 people, don’t let that dissuade you from making the entire recipe. The leftovers are almost better than when it’s originally served and they freeze well, too.
Are beef-braising ribs the same as short ribs?
“Beef braising ribs”, as well as “fancy cut ribs”, are other names for short ribs. I’ve almost always seen them labeled as short ribs, but if you can’t find them, make sure they’re not labeled as something else. When in doubt, ask your butcher! Sometimes they’ll be able to cut some for you even if they’re not already packaged and put out for display.
Here’s a list of the ingredients you’ll need to make a mean beef short rib. It’s a pretty short list considering the flavor you’ll get! The only chopping to be done is the onions, carrots, and celery.
- beef short ribs
- canola oil
- all-purpose flour
- tomato paste
- red wine
- beef broth or stock (preferably low-sodium)
- a head of garlic
- a big handful of herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary; a few sprigs of each)
- a bay leaf
- salt and pepper
How to make amazing beef short ribs
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Season the ribs with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. It’s really important not to skip this step! Next you’ll brown the short ribs in a little oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat (or hotter depending on your stove; you want it to be screaming hot to get a good sear). Don’t overcrowd your pan as this can make your ribs steam rather than sear. Do it in a few batches if your pot isn’t large enough to ensure that each rib has a small amount of space around it. Remove the ribs and set them aside.
- Add the onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook them for a few minutes until the onions are soft. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom to release any browned bits from searing the meat.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and add the tomato paste. Stir it well and cook a few minutes longer, then return the short ribs and any accumulated juices to the pot. Pour in the wine and beef stock (you can add a small amount first, scrape up any remaining bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, then add the rest). Add all the herbs to pot along with the garlic. Bring it to a boil, cover, and transfer it to the oven.
- All of that goes really quickly and now you can just relax! Cook until the short ribs are tender, about 3 hours (they’re ready when they fall apart when you test them). Transfer the short ribs to a platter or a large serving bowl, and tent them with foil.
- Strain the sauce into a gravy strainer and remove the fat from surface. Place the gravy into a saucepan, bring it to a boil and keep it at a strong simmer until it’s reduced by 1/3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This makes an amazing sauce that’s flavored with the fresh thyme and other herbs, vegetables, garlic, and a richness from the red wine. It’s incredible!
- Serve the ribs over mashed potatoes or creamy polenta and top with gravy. If you’re watching your carb intake, mashed cauliflower is also delicious.
Can these be made in a slow cooker?
You can make these short ribs in the slow cooker! Follow the instructions to the end of step 4, but instead of putting them in the oven you’ll transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Cook on low for at least 5 hours and up to 8, or until they’re falling off the bone. Proceed with the recipe as instructed.
Tips for making Braised Beef Short Ribs
- Don’t skip searing the meat! This is an absolutely crucial step to getting the most flavor out of your short ribs and into your sauce.
- This is one of those rare recipes when I don’t worry too much if my carrots, onions, and celery are all cut to the same size. Normally this is crucial for even cooking, and while I don’t recommend major size differences between them, it’s not a big deal if you chop it all quickly and it’s not perfect.
- Freeze any leftover sauce and serve it over another roast or even grilled steak.
- Don’t be tempted to use dried herbs. Fresh herbs make a big difference in this dish and dried can overpower the sauce.
- Make this short ribs recipe the day before then reheat it just before serving. You can reheat them on the stove over medium-low heat or in the oven, covered, until they’re hot and the sauce is just bubbling, about 20-30 minutes.
What goes with braised beef short ribs?
Here are a few ideas for what to serve with this braised beef short ribs recipe:
- Mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, or over a creamy polenta. We like to reduce our carb intake as much as possible, so usually we’ll go for the mashed cauliflower. I make this in my Instant Pot: two heads of cauliflower and 3/4 cup water for 15 minutes. When it’s finished, drain the water, mash the cauliflower and add heavy cream to your desired consistency. Season it well with salt and pepper.
- The vegetables get strained and discarded, although I usually munch on them while I’m making the sauce as they’re delicious! A separate side dish of vegetables works really well, such as roasted Brussels sprouts or Green Beans Almondine .
- A loaf of crusty bread is perfect for sopping up the rich sauce. Or try this stuffed garlic bread for a special treat.
If you’ve never braised beef short ribs before, you need to go pick some up today. Or this weekend. But definitely soon. They’re the perfect lazy-day weekend meal and they’ll make your house smell amazing!
Just one thing…you’ll need an entire bottle of wine for this short rib recipe. And you won’t be drinking it, but that’s the sacrifice you’ll have to make to get really flavorful meat and a sauce that’s so good it’s drinkable. I promise it will be worth it!
- 6 lbs beef short ribs (give or take, this doesn’t have to be exact)
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bottle of dry red wine
- 32 oz beef stock (preferably low-sodium)
- a head of garlic, the top sliced off to expose the cloves
- a big handful of herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary; a few sprigs of each)
- 1 bay leaf
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Season the ribs with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Brown the short ribs, taking care not to overcrowd your pan (overcrowding will make your ribs steam rather than sear; do in as many batches as necessary to ensure that each rib has a small amount of space around it). Remove the ribs and set them aside.
- Add the onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook them for a few minutes, stirring them occasionally, until the onions are soft. Scrape the bottom to release any browned bits from searing the meat.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and add the tomato paste. Str it well and cook a few minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Return the short ribs and any accumulated juices to the pot. Pour in the wine and beef stock (you can add a small amount first then scrape up any remaining bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, then add the rest). Add all the herbs to pot along with the garlic. Bring it to a boil, cover, and transfer it to the oven.
- Cook until the short ribs are tender, about 3 hours (they’re ready when they fall apart when you test them). Transfer the short ribs to a platter or a large serving bowl, and tent them with foil.
- Strain the sauce into a gravy strainer and remove the fat from surface. Place the gravy into a saucepan, bring it to a boil and keep it at a strong simmer until it's reduced by 1/3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve the ribs over mashed potatoes or creamy polenta and top with gravy. If you're watching your carb intake, mashed cauliflower is also delicious.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1221Total Fat: 81gSaturated Fat: 35gTrans Fat: 5gUnsaturated Fat: 46gCholesterol: 340mgSodium: 547mgCarbohydrates: 16gNet Carbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 91g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It was calculated based on 8 servings and includes all of the ingredients, even the ones that have been discarded after cooking (including the fat from the gravy).