So this post really should be titled “Don’t forget to photograph the sauce”. That is as close to an admission of stupidity as I am going to get. You will note one or two pouring shots further down. One of peppercorns and one of smoked paprika. The sharp eyed amongst you will notice that they are both poured into the same pan and they are both going into the pan empty. The truth is, I was playing around with a couple of lighting approaches. I wanted to be able to really freeze the stuff mid-air. A blur in a pour is a failure. So, I spent about an hour getting the two shots, picking peppercorns off the floor and out from under the fridge as well as cleaning the oven dish repeatedly. I think I got there in the end. However, I should have spent my time thinking about what I was doing. I was preparing Smoked Bourbon Beef Short Ribs and that needs a sauce. It had one. It was delicious. But, I don’t have a picture to prove it. Damn!
But before we get into the pouring stuff, I had better talk a bit about the recipe. My butcher friend has had access to some really impressive short ribs of late. This is a side benefit of the lockdown. They would normally go straight to the restaurant trade. I have been taking advantage. So I decided to prepare Smoked Bourbon Beef Short Ribs as the thought of it makes my mouth water.
Ingredients for the cooking
- One rack (about 3 kilo) of beef short ribs (Jacob’s Ladder)
- 2 tablespoons of good quality honey
- 4 tablespoons of Bourbon
- 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
- 750ml (pint and a half) of great beef stock
For the barbecue baste
- 1 tablespoon of good quality honey
- 2 tablespoons of Bourbon
Though most of the cooking is done in the oven, you will need the barbecue and a way of smoking too.
Grind the peppercorns (I didn’t do this before spending an hour and a half photographing the “perfect pour”). Add them and the paprika to a high sided roasting pan with a lid. Add the bourbon and honey. Stir to combine. Pour it into a plastic bag (a big Ziplock will do fine). Add the beef. Leave this in the fridge overnight, turning every now and again.
Take it out of the bag and return it to the roasting pan. Add the beef stock. Put on the lid and roast it at 150ºC (300ºF) for four and a half hours.
At the end of this process, it will be very tender, it will smell great and it will need to be lifted gently from the roasting tin to the barbecue. Remember t reserve the cooking juices. That is the sauce.
Prepare the barbecue smoker (I used a smoker box with maple chips). Having got the barbecue hot enough for the wood to smoke, turn the heat down to minimum and place the beef on the coolest part of the barbecue. It is cooked and only needs about half an hour of smoking. Mix the baste honey and bourbon together and paint on to the beef as it smokes.
Let the meat rest. While it is resting, separate the cooking fat from the rest of the marinade ingredients. Reduce the marinade to thicken it. Carve the beef and serve it with the sauce that I didn’t photograph. The beef should be “fall off the bone” tender and smokey. The sauce should be sweet and umami.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Just before I go, here are the couple of pouring shots that took all that time.
The lessons in this are simple. Spend a bit more time thinking about the recipe and a little (a lot) less time trying to get the perfect shot and everything will be a bit better (except the pouring shots).