Short Ribs 101: What Are They and How Do You Cook Them?
Very delicious and used for so many dishes, short ribs are one of the most popular cuts of beef. But what are they exactly?
Short ribs are beef ribs, but not all beef ribs are short. They’re a specific cut of beef taken from the rib section of the cow, usually containing multiple bones. They can be taken from the flank, shoulder, and belly.
In this guide, I’ll explain what short ribs are, their history, and how to cook them.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 What Are Short Ribs?
- 2 Where Do Short Ribs Come From?
- 3 Short Ribs Taste: A Deep Dive into the Flavor of Beef Ventralis
- 4 Cuts of Beef Short Ribs
- 5 Understanding the Difference Between Flanken and English Style Short Ribs
- 6 How to Cook Beef Short Ribs
- 7 Short Ribs in Asian Cuisines
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions About Short Ribs
- 9 Conclusion
What Are Short Ribs?
Short ribs are a cut of beef that come from the rib section of the cow. They consist of the meat surrounding the bones, which can vary in size and shape depending on the type of short rib. Short ribs are taken from different areas of the rib section and can contain multiple bones or be broken down into smaller pieces. Despite the name, short ribs are not necessarily shorter than other rib cuts.
The Different Types of Short Ribs
There are two main types of short ribs: English style and flanken style. English style short ribs are taken from the rib section parallel to the bone and are usually about 2-3 inches long. Flanken style short ribs are cut across the bone and are encased in small pieces of bone. They are usually served in a slab that is about 1 inch thick.
The Characteristics of Short Ribs
Short ribs are known for their tenderness and rich, beefy flavor. They offer a deep, indulgent treat that is a favorite of many meat lovers. Short ribs contain a good amount of marbling, which contributes to their tenderness and flavor. Despite their traditional use in slow-cooked dishes, short ribs can also be cooked quickly on the grill or in a pan.
Where to Find Short Ribs
Short ribs can be found at most grocery stores and butcher shops. Make sure to check the area where the beef cuts are displayed. If you’re not sure what to look for, ask the butcher for help. There are also extensive guides available online, including videos and bbqupdated tips to help you get the most out of your short ribs.
Where Do Short Ribs Come From?
Short ribs are a relatively high-fat cut of beef that contains essential amino acids and a range of minerals, including iron, zinc, and selenium. They are also a good source of easily consumed protein. However, short ribs are relatively high in saturated fat, so it is recommended to consume them in moderation to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
As a substitute for short ribs, skirt steak or ground beef can be used. Skirt steak is a little leaner than short ribs, while ground beef contains the same parts of the cow as short ribs but is heavily marbled. The latissimus dorsi, which sits in a seam near the short ribs, can also be removed and used as an extension of the ribeye.
Short Ribs Taste: A Deep Dive into the Flavor of Beef Ventralis
Short ribs are a prime target for those looking to serve a dish that will impress a crowd. The meat’s distinct flavor and tender texture make it a favorite among foodies and meat lovers alike. Despite being a busy muscle that acts as a connector between the shoulder and neck, short ribs can be cooked to perfection with the right recipe. Short ribs are a great alternative to other cuts of beef, such as chuck or ribeye, and offer a unique taste that covers all the basics of a classic beef dish.
For a quick overview of the taste and cooking of short ribs, check out this video: [insert video link].
Cuts of Beef Short Ribs
Beef short ribs consist of several sections, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. Here are the most common cuts of beef short ribs:
- Chuck Short Ribs: This cut comes from the shoulder area of the cow and is known for its meaty and fatty texture. It’s particularly popular in Korean cuisine, where it’s called “galbi.”
- Plate Short Ribs: This cut comes from the cow’s belly area and is also known as “flanken.” It earned this name because it’s cut across the bone into thin pieces, which are then encased in a marinade and grilled. It’s a common cut in Jewish cuisine, where it’s often slow-cooked in a tomato-based sauce.
- English Style Short Ribs: This cut comes from the forequarter of the cow and is identified by its long, narrow strips of meat and bone. It’s a great choice for slow-cooking because it holds up well under constant contact with liquid and higher temperatures. This encourages the metamorphosis of collagen into flavor and moisture, making it fork-tender and delicious.
- Prime Rib Short Ribs: This cut comes from the same area as prime rib and is a boneless version of the English style short ribs. It’s leaner and requires less cooking time than other varieties.
- Untrimmed Short Ribs: This cut consists of the entire rib section and includes both the fatty and lean meat. It’s a cost-effective option and provides excellent flavor when slow-cooked or pressure cooked.
How to Differentiate Between Beef and Pork Short Ribs
Beef and pork short ribs look similar, but there are a few key differences to look out for:
- Length: Beef short ribs are typically longer than pork short ribs.
- Individual Strips: Beef short ribs are sold as individual strips, while pork short ribs are often sold in larger sections.
- Retail Cuts: In the United States, beef short ribs are followed by the word “plate” or “flanken” to specify the cut. Pork short ribs are often sold as “country-style ribs” or “baby back ribs.”
- Eastern vs. British Cuts: In the UK, the equivalent of beef short ribs is sold as “Jacob’s Ladder,” while in Eastern Europe, it’s sold as “costine, pancia, costillas cortas, or côtes de plat.”
It can be frustrating to accidentally buy the wrong kind of short ribs, but with these tips, you’ll be able to differentiate between beef and pork short ribs with ease.
Understanding the Difference Between Flanken and English Style Short Ribs
Flanken short ribs are a type of beef short rib that is cut across the bone, creating thin, roughly 1-inch wide strips that are interspersed with strong, white intercostal meat. This type of cut is popular in Korean and Jewish cuisine and is often used in barbecue dishes. Flanken short ribs are also known as “Korean-style” short ribs.
What is the Difference Between Flanken and English Style Short Ribs?
The main difference between flanken and English style short ribs is the way they are cut. Flanken short ribs are cut across the bone, while English style short ribs are cut parallel to the bone. This results in a different appearance and texture for each type of rib.
Flanken short ribs are thin and roughly 1-inch wide, with generous portions of meat and bone. They are ideal for quickly grilling or barbecuing and are often topped with a flavorful marinade or sauce. English style short ribs, on the other hand, are larger and thicker, with a more impressive appearance. They are ideal for slow-cooking dishes, such as stews and braises, and can be easily separated into individual riblets or slices.
Another difference between flanken and English style short ribs is the ratio of meat to bone. Flanken short ribs have a higher ratio of meat to bone, making them a great choice for those who want a more meaty dish. English style short ribs, on the other hand, have a higher ratio of bone to meat, making them a good choice for those who want a more substantial and hearty dish.
Which Type of Short Rib Should You Buy?
The type of short rib you should buy depends on the desired dish and cooking method. If you are going for a barbecue or Asian-style dish, ask for flanken short ribs. If you are planning to slow-cook your short ribs, order English style short ribs. It is also important to check the appearance of the ribs before buying. Make sure the meat is evenly distributed and the bones are not ragged or torn apart.
In recent years, the popularity of short ribs has seen prices increase fairly, causing some to spend more than they sense. However, there are ways to buy the right short ribs without breaking the bank. Consider buying smaller, thinner cuts of meat or hybrid cuts that combine different sections of the cow. And always have faith in your mind and picture the desired dish before going to the butcher.
How to Cook Beef Short Ribs
Before you start making this classic comfort food dish, there are a few things you need to do to prepare the beef short ribs:
- Tie the ribs with kitchen twine to keep them from falling apart during cooking.
- Season the ribs with salt and pepper, and if you want, add some herbs like bay leaf for extra flavor.
- Trim off any excess fat from the ribs. Too much fat can make the dish greasy.
Using a Slow Cooker or Crockpot
If you don’t have a large Dutch oven or prefer a simpler method, you can also cook beef short ribs in a slow cooker or crockpot. Here’s how:
- Season the ribs and sear them in a pan as described above.
- Place the seared ribs in the slow cooker or crockpot and add the prepared vegetables, herbs, and any other seasonings you like.
- Pour in enough liquid (like beef or chicken stock, red wine, or a combination) to reach about halfway up the sides of the ribs.
- Turn the heat to high and let the ribs cook for several hours until they’re tender and easily fall off the bone.
- Remove the ribs from the slow cooker or crockpot and strain the liquid into a separate pot.
- Reduce the liquid over medium heat until it’s thickened to your liking. If it’s too thin, you may need to add a thickening agent like cornstarch.
- Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Serve the ribs with the thickened sauce and your favorite sides like mashed potatoes or fresh vegetables.
Braised beef short ribs are unbelievably delicious and take comfort food to a whole new level. With a little bit of time and care, you can make a dish that’s sure to become one of your favorite things to eat.
Short Ribs in Asian Cuisines
Marinating short ribs is a common practice in Asian cuisines. This mixture of flavoring ingredients allows the ribs to be tenderized and infused with flavor before cooking. Salting the ribs in advance allows the mixture to permeate the inside of the meat, resulting in a more flavorful dish. Kevin, a food blogger, uses a spiced marinade to create tender and delicious short ribs that are perfect for a holiday main dish.
Asian-Inspired Short Rib Recipe
Here’s a recipe for Asian-inspired short ribs that will have your guests thinking you spent hours slaving away in the kitchen:
- 3 pounds beef short ribs, cut crosswise
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- Additional sesame seeds for garnish
1. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and cornstarch.
2. Add the short ribs to the bowl and toss to coat.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce and water.
4. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the short ribs and cook until browned on all sides.
5. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the short ribs and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender.
7. Garnish with additional sesame seeds and serve with rice.
Other Asian Short Rib Dishes
Short ribs are a versatile ingredient in Asian cuisines. Here are some other dishes to try:
- Short Rib Mango Salad
- Pork Fried Rice with Short Ribs
- Tandoori Short Rib Pizza
- Tandoori Short Ribs
Frequently Asked Questions About Short Ribs
Short ribs and brisket come from different sections of the cow. Brisket is located in the chest area, while short ribs come from the rib section. Brisket is a tough cut of meat that requires slow cooking to become tender, while short ribs are already tender and can be cooked quickly.
What grades of beef are short ribs available in?
Short ribs can come in a range of quality grades, from select to prime. Select is the lowest grade, while prime is the highest. The grade of the beef will affect the price, with higher grades costing more.
How much do short ribs cost?
The price of short ribs can vary depending on the grade of beef and where you buy them from. On average, short ribs can cost anywhere from $5 to $15 per pound.
What is the best way to cook short ribs?
Short ribs are a versatile cut of meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways, including braising, grilling, and smoking. The key is to ensure that the meat is cooked low and slow, ensuring that it becomes tender and flavorful.
What makes short ribs unique?
Short ribs are unique because they contain both meat and bones, offering excellent value for money. They also come in a range of cuts, from English-style to flanken-style, providing plenty of choice for the fussy eater. Short ribs also have a primal, primeval feel to them, and are frequently referred to as “gigantic” or “snake river” ribs due to their size.
Are short ribs worth the wait?
Short ribs are definitely worth the wait. While they may take longer to cook than other cuts of meat, the end result is always delicious. Short ribs are known for their insane marbling and rich flavor, making them an exquisite addition to any meal.
How can I ensure that I am buying quality short ribs?
To ensure that you are buying quality short ribs, it is important to buy from a reputable butcher or meat market. Ask your local butcher about the origins and ethos of the meat they sell, and check for detailed pictures and descriptions of the cuts. You can also confirm the quality of the meat by checking the grade of beef.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about short ribs. They’re a great choice for a meal with friends or family, and you can cook them in a variety of ways.
So don’t be afraid to give them a try! I hope this guide has been helpful and you’re ready to take the plunge!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.