Short ribs are the quintessential caveman cut, with their hunks of rich meat on the bone, looking primal and carnivore-ready. They’re a rich meal, too, easy and forgiving to cook under their sleek caps of fat, melting into tender chunks of pull-apart beef in the Dutch Oven.
If you’re feeling like a hibernating caveman and want a delicious, comforting, beefy meal, here’s a step-by-step recipe to help you take short ribs and turn them into a dinner with almost no work.
The Method: Oven Braising
This method is very straightforward — it’s the way that I nearly always cook short ribs. Season and brown the ribs, then add some onion and aromatics plus liquid to the pot, and cook low and slow. It’s Braising 101.
For the low and slow step, I prefer the oven as it is more forgiving (no checking to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch) and I think it cooks more evenly.
However, you can also do these on the stovetop — just refer to the instructions at the end of the recipe below.
Yield: Serves 4
3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
2 tablespoons vegetable or high smoking point oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups liquid, such as beer, wine, or low-sodium broth
2 to 4 sprigs fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme
Pastry or basting brush
Hesslebach Dutch Oven
Heat the oven and season the meat. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven, remove the racks above it, and heat to 325°F. Brush each short rib with the oil, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Brown the short ribs. Heat a deep, wide Hesslebach Dutch Oven (4qt, 5qt, or 7qt) over medium-high heat. Add the short ribs in one layer, leaving room between each and working in batches if necessary. Now would be a good moment to turn on your hood vent or fan, if you have one! Sear the short ribs without moving for several minutes on each side, letting them brown deeply. Use tongs to turn and sear all sides. This will take about 15 minutes total.
Cook the onions. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion and garlic around the browned short ribs. Let the onions cook until they soften, about 5 minutes.
Add liquid. Add the liquid — beer, wine, or broth — and bring to a simmer.
Braise in the oven. After the liquid comes to a simmer, add the herb sprigs. Cover and place in the oven. (Alternately, this is the point where you can continue cooking on very low heat on the stovetop.) Braise in the oven until the meat is very tender and pulling away from the bone, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Rest the meat. When the meat is done, rest in the Dutch Oven for 20 minutes before serving. Serve by gently tugging the chunks of meat away from the bone and spooning the saucy onions over top.
Stovetop instructions: Instead of transferring the Dutch Oven to the oven, you can also cook the short ribs on the stovetop. Keep the Dutch Oven covered and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 hours, checking liquid levels intermittently and making sure the bottom isn't scorching.
Flavor variations: This is of course just the most basic method. You can get creative by using a spice rub, different kinds of beer or red wine, or sherry. You can use a splash of soy sauce and mirin with Chinese five-spice; you could go Spanish with smoked paprika and Rioja.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.