What it is: Reasonably priced beef cuts that offer rich flavor, short ribs make delectable winter eating.
Where it comes from: Traditional short ribs are meaty, rectangular bones cut from the underside of a steer’s rib cage — from the sternum, or “plate” up toward the shoulder area or “chuck.” You may also see a new cut confusingly termed “boneless country-style short ribs” by the beef industry; these actually have no contact with the ribs at all but consist of similarly shaped pieces of boneless meat cut from the chuck eye roll (which is what butchers call the center portion of the shoulder area usually cut into chuck steaks).
What to do with it: Both real short ribs and the faux boneless “ribs” benefit from long, slow braising to break down tough tissues and tenderize the meat, which yields deep, beefy flavor. At Jerry’s in Winnetka, Chef Bridget Burns gives bone-in short ribs an Asian treatment with a chili-laced rub and fermented black beans.
Jerry’s Asian short ribs
Chef Bridget Burns
“The black beans give it that distinct Asian barbecue flavor,” says Burns. The beans are sold canned at Chinese markets. “We then thicken the braising liquid into a sauce for the ribs which we accompany with sauteed bok choy and wasabi mashed potatoes.”
1/2 cup ancho chili powder
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons fresh cracked pepper
15 double short ribs
4 tablespoons canola oil
6 red onions, diced
1/2 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup Asian fermented black beans, soaked and pureed
1 750 ml bottle dry red wine
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cool water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the the chili powder, salt and pepper and rub the mixture into the short ribs.
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over high heat. Sear the meat until browned on all sides. Don’t move it too much — keep the pan hot. Remove ribs and set aside.
In the same pan, cook the onions, garlic and ginger. Add the red wine, soy sauce, pureed black beans, thyme and bay leaves. Return the meat to the pan and spoon some of the vegetables over the top. Cover and put in the oven for 2 hours, until fork tender.
Discard the bay leaves. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water, whisk into the cooking liquid and bring to boil to thicken. Serve the sauce with ribs. 3 to 4 servings.