The Long and the Short of Oriental Short Ribs

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.

The dry frying brings out the flavours and makes it easy to grind.

Mix the pepper and the peppercorn mixture and rub it on the top side of the beef.

That really is one fine piece of beef short rib.

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.

I couldn’t resist another pouring shot. This is the light soy sauce.

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.

The garlic and ginger add a lot to this dish.

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.

There is a good layer of fat that needs to be removed.

Let the beef rest for a few minutes before carving it into nice thick slices.

This really was a tasty as it looked.

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.

This is a real treat. That sauce!


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Latest comments
  • Restaurant-quality beef hasn’t filtered down the food chain yet here, but I was very excited to see a news article on the local news to the effect that prime quality tuna that normally gets sent south to Brisbane and Sydney restaurants is becoming available in supermarkets . Woo hoo, confit tuna, here I come! I shall eagerly anticipate the same happening with meat…

      • A good time to pack your freezer, perhaps…

  • I don’t think I have ever seen short ribs of that quality before. I guess that, in these parts, the bits from that far forward are getting included in roasts.

  • Conor, your photography just gets better and better. The resolution is fantastic, and there’s a lovely bokeh between the light soy sauce stream and the meat (what an amazing piece of beef!). Please remind me, do you fire the flash head(s) with a hand-held trigger? If not, how? The dish itself looks superb. I know I have Jacob’s ladder in the garage freezer, so I’m going there right now to get it out. By the way, I haven’t used black vinegar before. Would balsamic work?

  • I’ve never seen this cut. Looks delicious.

  • Oh Lordie, Conor – you may have rather impossible climate in Ireland but you surely grow beautiful meat !! Methinks Kate in North Queensland is way more fortunate than I south of Sydney ! Sent your post to my occasional (read: expensive !) butcher . . . his language was not able to be printed . . . 🙂 ! Meanwhile love your spicing using a lot of hoi sin and Sichuan peppercorns myself. Shall try and enjoy as soon as I can . . . best . . .

  • Showed your post to my husband who went to Ireland and Scotland while I suffered in a certain tent…. He absolutely loved everything about his trip and we had dreamed of going back together this Summer… it is not going to be… oh, well

    he loved your pouring shots, and said I need to do some in my blog – see what you did? (sigh)

  • i love your fab photos Conor. we are able to get lots of really good produce at the moment, that normally goes to restaurants and cafes. it was quite eye-opening to see what we usually miss out on:) Enjoy your ribs! cheers sherry

  • I’ve never seen short ribs that thick before! Now I need to order them from a reputable source, as opposed to my local grocery store. So thanks for that bit of information. I love what you did here. Fabulous ingredients.

  • I’ve got short ribs in the freezer (certainly nothing like yours but will do) and this will be a new taste sensation, I’m sure.

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