I think that beef short ribs is one of the understated cuts of the bovine. Its cheap and it comes with multipurpose bone. Bone-in always makes the meat taste better when cooked, and the little bones also makes a good handle for you to eat with your hands (which in my books, makes any food taste better already).
First, a quick anatomy lesson. There are two types of different cuts of short ribs, the first taken from near the chuck or shoulder of the bovine. The second is near the short plate, just at the underside of the chest. Whichever you see in the supermarket, it should have generally similar characteristics: a good mix of meat and fat, and a fair bit of connective tissue.
My previous tips for choosing steak doesn’t really apply as we’re now concerned about short ribs. There’s no rocket science when it comes to choosing short ribs, but its important that you know how you want to cook it. If you’re going for a braise, then you can afford to pick short ribs that are fairly thick and chunky, as you’ll need the slow cooking to break down the connective tissue. If you’re going for a quick grill, then try and pick short ribs that are uniformly thinner. Uniform is important because given the quick grilling, you’d much prefer if they all cook in around the same time.
For today’s post, I’ll talk more about my favorite way of cooking short ribs – grilling.
When you purchase the short ribs, it should be in a slabs with 4 to 5 bones. Start by cutting them into individual one bone pieces. Then you have two options. For a quick and no-frills method, just lightly oil and season them with salt and pepper, then off to a smoking hot griddle for a few minutes on each side. You should get something like this:
This method is simple and fast, and you will be able to savour all the yummy beefy goodness that the short ribs can deliver. But I have another recipe for those who might not be too hot about the strong taste of beef.
This next recipe is highly inspired by Korean barbeque and it involves a marinade. Start by combining the following ingredients:
6 tsp soya sauce
3 tbs white sugar
2 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs all-purpose flour
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 pinch of salt and black pepper
You should end up with a sticky mess which at that point, you might wonder why you’re insane enough to follow this. Trust me. Dump your short ribs into the marinate, mix well and leave it in the fridge, covered. Marinate for a couple of hours or overnight.
Remove the short ribs from the fridge about half an hour before cooking, to bring the meat closer to room temperature. Heat your griddle pan smoking hot, shake as much of the marinate off as possible then slap them on the grill. Remember that there’s sugar in the marinate, so it will caramelize fast and might burn if you don’t watch them closely. Cooking time is the same as the above, just a couple of minutes on each side. If you got it right, it should look like this:
Notice the deeper color thanks to the soya sauce, and the black bits are due to the caramelization from the sugars.
Remember it’s important to use thin pieces for grilling, cook them fast and most importantly, let them rest before eating and you’ll be fine. Unlike steak, you can afford to turn them a few times while cooking, especially with the latter recipe that contains sugar.
Let me know if you like it, and I could also post a followup on using thicker short rib pieces in a red wine braise.