If you ever want to impress someone, serve them these. It's one of those magical dishes that takes a long time to make. That makes people think it's a lot of work, but this recipe is actually dead simple.
I make this dish for my wife every time I get in trouble or if she's just generally in a bad mood (which is rare, thank goodness). I get to pretend that I've been toiling away for days--when in reality I probably work for about half an hour on the dish.
Making a salad is almost more work.
Honestly, the hardest part about making short ribs is finding short ribs. Unfortunately, they aren't a frequently used cut of meat, which means a lot of grocery stores don't carry them. You may have to call around a bit, but eventually you should be able to get your hands on a few pounds of them.
I always encourage people to buy the best beef they can find and afford. Short ribs are also a very cheap cut of meat so you should be able to get the cream of the crop. The beauties in this post only set me back a few bucks a pound.
If you don't happen to have a crock pot or slow cooker, you can definitely just braise these same ingredients in a Dutch oven. Instead of the slow cooker, cook them (covered) in the oven at 300 degrees for about 4 hours and you should get the same results.
But I'll assume you have a slow cooker for this post.
Check out the full Crock Pot Short Rib recipe
Before you add all the ingredients to the crock pot, you need to brown the ribs to enhance their flavor. Get your ribs and give them a good pinch of salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, add a good drizzle of neutral oil and put the pan over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the ribs and brown on all sides. It should take a few minutes per side.
Meanwhile, prep all your other ingredients. This is really the only chopping you need to do for the recipe. Just roughly slice the onions, celery, and carrots. Don't worry about size. It doesn't matter.
Once your ribs are browned, remove them from the pan, turn the heat down to low, and add the beer to the pan. Use the beer to scrape up any bits of meat stuck to the pan.
In your crockpot, add the veggies, ribs, and spices.
Then pour the beer over the mixture and add enough beef stock (or water in a pinch) to just cover the ribs.
Cover this and cook it on low for 8-9 hours. You know the ribs are done when they almost completely fall apart when you try to pick them up.
For example, these ribs are about halfway done. They were still firm and tough when I picked them up:
Once your ribs have been cooking for about 9 hours (like, when you get home from work), turn off the heat, cover them, and let them cool. Then stick them in the fridge overnight or for a few days.
Letting them sit will do two things:
1) It will make the ribs really flavorful by letting them stew in the sauce for a day or so.
2) It will make it easier to skim off the fat on top of the liquid because it will be solidified.
Now, you don't have to do this. You can definitely skip it and just finish the ribs the same day. If you do that, try to skim off as much fat as you can and then continue with the recipe.
Assuming you do have a day to spare though, when you pull your ribs out they will have a pretty good layer of solidified fat on them. Try to scoop off as much of this fat as you can. You should be able to get most of it.
Then remove the rib pieces and chop them into rib segments. They are a lot easier to chop when they are cold.
Set the ribs aside and pour all the sauce left in the crock pot through a mesh strainer. Throw away all the veggies and any other bits that get caught.
Add the sauce to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Next, in a small bowl, mix together the butter (room temp) and flour to form a paste. Whisk this paste into the simmering sauce, which should start to thicken the sauce a bit.
Continue to simmer for another 15-30 minutes, uncovered, until the sauce reaches the consistency you want.
About five minutes before you want to serve the dish, add all the rib pieces to the simmering sauce to heat them thoroughly.
You could serve these guys over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. I actually served mine over a mashed root vegetable mixture (celery root, parsnip, and turnip).
So there you have it! Crock pot short ribs! It takes a day or two but if you add up the time that you're actually working on the dish, it's probably 30-45 minutes.
As an aside, you could make as many short ribs as your crock pot can hold. I think mine would've maxed out around 4 pounds, but I only made half that.
Give this dish a shot and impress your guests!Nick's love of short ribs is only surpassed by his love of blogging at Macheesmo. For second helpings, also check out his Tablespoon profile.