There are short ribs and then there are short ribs. One can’t blame the average butcher for trying to sell as much of the animal as possible. But, many go too far and end up harming their own businesses by selling bits of the animal that should really be put to other use. The humble short rib or Jacob’s Ladder is such a cut. The very best of the short ribs comes from high up the ribs, towards the front of the animal. As one goes lower and back, the ribs get thinner, the meat gets likewise and the connective tissue to meat ratio goes up. Having said all that, I was stunned by the quality of the short ribs I used for this recipe.
The story goes that a beef farmer who supplies my butcher also owns a steak restaurant. The restaurant is in Covid 19 lockdown and the meat that he usually reserved for the restaurant is now available to his retailers. Being a valued customer, I got the nod on this cut. So the story goes.
Now, to the meat of this little tale. I decided to cook an oriental style braise to get the best out of the short ribs. The proportions in ingredients list is of my own devising and I am very happy with it.
- Beef Short Rib – 1.5kg (3lb)
- 2 tablespoons of hoi sin sauce
- I tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons of black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 5 cm piece of ginger
First thing to do is to dry fry the Sichuan peppercorns and then grind them in a mortar.
Mix the pepper and the peppercorn mixture and rub it on the top side of the beef.
Chop the garlic and ginger reasonably fine. I like to keep a bit of bite in it. When it cooks, it retains the ability to surprise and give a lovely flavour explosion in your mouth. Put all the wet ingredients into a casserole and stir to combine.
When the mixture is mixed, add the beef and gently spoon some over the top of the beef. The idea is to make the rub a bit sticky so as the garlic and ginger stick to it, like in the next picture.
Place the lid on the casserole and pop it into a 160ºC (320ºF) oven for 5 hours. Then remove it from the oven. Carefully lift out the beef (I had to use a couple of fish slices to stop the bones falling out and the meat falling apart.
Remove the layer of fat from the sauce in the casserole and boil it for a few minutes to thicken it.
Let the beef rest for a few minutes before carving it into nice thick slices.
Don’t forget to pour a generous amount of that sauce over it before eating it with gusto. The sauce is a delight and the whole experience will be memorable. However, it all depends on you getting your hands on some top quality beef short ribs like these. That really is the long and the short of it.