Short ribs are arguably one of the best cuts you could possibly indulge in; they consist of a portion of the rib bone still surrounded by meat of varying thickness. They are often best cooked slowly for maximum flavor and tenderness. And most often when searching how to cook these guys you’ll see them braised, specifically in wine. Short ribs, to me, are one of those cuts best saved for a special occasion. They feel so luxurious to cook and serve, and if not to be dramatic, soul fulfilling to eat. The meat, when cooked properly, is so tender and juicy and the braises are always a flavor bomb no matter what. Here I’ve moved away from the classic wine braised short rib (though those are wonderful) and have landed somewhere between a wine braised short rib and a BBQ braised short rib. The vinegar braise I use here is both sweet & savory, reminiscent of a BBQ sauce while maintaining the brightness you get from the typical wine braise from the apple cider vinegar. It’s just damn good comfort food, to be honest. I wanted to make something that did the cut of meat justice while tasting more like something a grandmother had been serving her family for decades rather than a boogie wine braise or typical BBQ sauce. The key here is all in the recipe: the process of salting the meat ahead of time, browning the meat before cooking, cooking the onions in the beef fat, slow cook time, and the balance of flavors in the sauce all help to create a dish with so many layers of individual flavor that work together to create a harmonious outcome. An outcome, I assure you, that is well worth the time.
For best results, generously salt short ribs the morning of with kosher salt. I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, but any good quality kosher salt will work.
4 lbs beef short ribs (bone in)
4 cups beef broth
1 6 oz can tomato paste
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbs fish sauce
¼ cup honey
1 ½ tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
1 tsp pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 onion, sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for searing
Slurry made from 1 tsp arrowroot or cornstarch + 3 tbs water (optional)
- Heat a large Dutch oven or pan on the stove to a high heat with a thin layer of olive oil. When the pan is hot, take your pre-salted short ribs and sear each one on all sides until they have all formed a brown crust. About 6-8 minutes. Depending on the size of your Dutch oven or pan, you may have to do this in batches if the short ribs are long.
- Remove the short ribs from the pan, lowering the heat to medium, and immediately add your sliced onion. Allow the onion to brown for 5-6 minutes or until they are translucent and have browned. When finished, remove the onions from the pan. Turn the burner off and switch the oven on, preheating to 350 degrees.
- Meanwhile, while the onions cook whisk together the beef broth, tomato paste, fish sauce, apple cider vinegar, and all dry seasonings in a large bowl until the tomato paste and honey are well incorporated. Set aside.
- Next, add your short ribs back into the Dutch oven or into an oven safe dish deep enough to hold the ribs and liquid. Top the ribs with the onions and pour the sauce over the ribs. Toss in some additional fresh thyme sprigs if desired.
- Cover and bake for 1 hour and then remove cover and bake an additional 1-1 ½ hrs. Allow to cool before serving. If using a dutch oven, use the lid to cover. But if you’re using another dish, tent with foil for the 1st hour.
- OPTIONAL: There will be a great deal of liquid remaining in the dish. If you choose to, you may remove the ribs and place the Dutch oven back on the stove top (or transfer to pot if using a different baking dish) and bring to a hard boil along with the slurry of cornstarch or arrowroot. Simmer hard for 15-20 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce. When finished, place the meat back into the sauce. No matter what it will be divine!