Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs are by far my favorite meal ever. Smooth, loaded with flavor, and fall-off-the-bone fork-tender meat with au jus served over a bed of mashed potatoes or creamy polenta; it just doesn’t get any better.
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Braised Beef Short Ribs
I say it doesn’t get any better than classic Red Wine Braised Short Ribs, but oh it does! Add some leftover cranberry sauce, fresh blackberries, and some cinnamon sticks as key ingredients and you’re sure to have a new favorite. This is a go-to recipe for the fall and winter months using flavors that are known for the season. It’s so hearty and stick-to-your-ribs good!
The process, while long and can seem intimidating, it absolutely worth it and easier than you may think! You’ll wonder how in the world this could be considered a “junk” or “cheap” cut of meat once you dig into this. I really can’t say enough good about this dish. It’s my favorite. If I could only have one thing for the rest of my life, I would make it braised short ribs and have no qualms as the aromas fill my house day in and out. Perhaps we should make a candle…
What are Short Ribs?
Short ribs are not like what you would image pork ribs to look like. Instead, short ribs are taken from the brisket/chuck area of the cow and are the cut, shorter portions of the ribs. When purchasing short ribs at the store, you sometimes cannot even see the ribs except on the very end. Otherwise, it looks like a rectangle of meat with one side covered in a fatty layer, and is about the size of your palm.
How many short ribs to buy?
I can personally eat an entire short rib to myself. Granted this is my favorite meal of all time. Portion wise, most short ribs will serve 2 people. Keep in mind that the weight of each short rib you’re paying for will include the thick bone in the center. The 4-1/2 pounds of short ribs I purchased ended up being 4 short ribs total and fed about 6 of us, including myself who is rather gluttonous when it comes to this dish, my husband, and some growing boys/kiddos.
What is braising?
Braising is the act of searing a meat followed by cooking it low and slow partially submerged in a liquid for hours on end. It’s a labor of love in which you must have patience to enjoy the final outcome. The process itself isn’t hard, it’s the waiting.
Can these be made in a slow-cooker?
Yes they can. If your Dutch oven is being occupied by other goodies, you can certainly use an electric slow-cooker to braise these all day. Just make sure it is large enough to not overly crowd your Crock Pot. You want that even heat distribution and need the meat to get up to a high enough temperature for the collagen to melt.
Tips for Searing Short Ribs
- Start with room temperature meat, or as close as possible. Searing, like in our recipe for Prime Rib, is often the first step to a super flavorful low and slow kind of cooking. For the best, and most even results, bringing your meat to room temperature before starting the cooking process will prevent hot and cold spots within the meat.
- Allow a well seasoned piece of meat to sit for about 30 minutes or longer with salt and pepper. The salt will help to draw out excess moisture as well as penetrate the meat. You can also do this step the night before and then simply pull out the meat to come to room temperature the day you plan to cook.
- When searing a fatty piece of meat like these short ribs, get the Dutch oven “smoking hot” and start with the fat side down. These pieces of meat are going to excrete a great deal of fat during the cooking process, so starting with oil in the Dutch oven to sear really isn’t necessary. This is compared to a quick sear meat like Rib Eye Steak which will need a coat of oil in the cast iron skillet.
- Try not to look. Give your meat longer than you would think. Hearing the sizzle, seeing the smoke – it’s all good signs. The more you check, wiggle, and move your meat, the less of the sear you’re going to get on your meat by interrupting that direct heat.
What wine is best with Short Ribs?
Obviously, red wine is the go-to. It’s in the name. Red wine is best paired with red meats, easy to remember that way. But also to note, always cook with a red wine you would drink. In my opinion there’s no such thing as a “cooking wine”. Those wines are often void of flavor and layers. Pick a bottle at the store that is labeled Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Cabernet Sauvignon. Look for ones that complement your dish. Merlot and Pinot Noir tend to be more on the fruity side which pairs well with this fruit forward dish. But if you have a Cabernet Sauvignon at home, use that. Pairing the dish with a glass on the side to enjoy as you cook or as you eat, will really help you to distinguish the layers of flavor in the overall dish.
What to serve with Braised Short Ribs?
This is a super hearty dish. And though we’ve used vegetables in the stock for braising, you really aren’t going to get enough out of it at the end to serve. So consider serving these short ribs with a roasted vegetable like these Lemon Garlic Green Beans, Pan Fried Sweet Potato Cubes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or a side salad to lighten it up. And of course on a bed of mashed potatoes or polenta. A piece of homemade bread or cornbread is also helpful when soaking up the au jus.
Berry Red Wine Braised Short Ribs Recipe
- measuring spoons and cups
- Cutting board
- 4-1/2 pounds beef short ribs
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1/2 Tablespoon pepper
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 yellow or white onion diced
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 3/4 cup cranberry sauce
- 8 ounces blackberries fresh
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Start by pulling the short ribs from the refrigerator and allowing to come to room temperature for about an hour. Salt and pepper all sides of the short ribs liberally.
- Sear the short ribs 1 or 2 at a time on all sides in a hot Dutch oven on the stovetop. Start with the fat side down so the rendered fat can coat the Dutch oven as it's seared. Each side will take about 5 minutes to sear.
- Remove the seared short ribs and set aside. Remove any excess fat and discard, leaving about 1 Tablespoon of oil/grease in the bottom. Add the celery, carrots, and onion. Sauté about 5 minutes to get color and tenderize.
- Add the tomato paste and cook out for about 2 minutes to remove any raw flavor and thicken around the vegetables.
- Deglaze the pot with red wine and stir. Allow to reduce slightly before adding in cranberry sauce. Stir well to incorporate.
- Add in the beef stock, fresh berries, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Nestle the short ribs into the Dutch oven, doing your best to submerge them within the stock.
- Cover and bake in a 325F oven for about 4-6 hours. You're looking for an internal temperature of at least 195F by an instant read thermometer. This is the temperature at which the fatty and connective tissue will render down and create that smooth, fork-tender feel.
To Create Gravy or Au Jus
- Remove the meat from the Dutch oven and strain the contents. To serve right away with the short ribs, you can add a cornstarch slurry or even simply reduce the liquid by half over heat and pour on top of the meat.