Rib of the Week: Guinness-Braised Short Ribs (Plus a Quick Primer on Braising)

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We woke up to more snow this weekend.

It put me in serious cooking mode, so The Angry Chef dug out the car and intrepidly made his way to McKinnon’s, our local butcher shop.

He came home with a couple of bags, including a package of gorgeous beef short ribs.

I quickly set about preparing them in one of my favorite cold-weather ways—by braising them in Guinness stout.

After a little initial prep in the kitchen, you cover your pot tightly, and let the ribs happily simmer away—virtually untended—for a few hours.

It only has a few ingredients, but it yields some of the most deeply flavored, beef-y broth and meat I’ve ever tasted.

Resist the urge to toss more ingredients in the pot, and you’ll see what I mean. The meat itself is super tender and literally falls off the bone.

Serve with roasted root veggies, buttery mashed potatoes, or fluffy, white rice.

Here’s a peek at the snow, then on to the meat!

A quick primer: So just what is braising, anyway?

Braising is low, slow, delicious business.

Braising transforms tougher, cheaper cuts of meat into meltingly tender dishes.

It’s a fabulous way to save a few bucks and still put out a giant, stick-to-your-ribs spread.

Braised meat is seared quickly in fat, then set to cook in a tightly-covered pot over low heat with a little bit of liquid.

Long, slow cooking breaks down the connective tissue in the meat, tenderizing it—and coaxing out rich flavor.

This is why stew meat falls apart after long cooking, but is almost impossibly tough if you just give it a quick sear.

What kind of meat is best for braising?

Tough cuts of meat (which are usually on the cheaper side) are the best candidates for braising. For beef, look for roasts labeled “pot roast.”

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but should give you a good idea of what to look for at the market.

Best cuts of beef and veal for braising

+Short ribs
+Oxtails
+Cheeks
+Shanks (veal shanks…hello, osso buco!)
+Brisket
+Chuck or bottom roast

Best cuts of pork for braising

+Picnic shoulder
+Shank
+Country-style ribs

Best cuts of lamb for braising

+Shank
+Shoulder

Best cuts of poultry for braising

+Chicken leg quarters and thighs
+Duck legs

What kind of equipment do I need for braising?

All you need to pull off a good braise is a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid (to keep your liquids from evaporating).

You can braise meat on top of the stove, or in the oven. Depending on your pot, you can even improvise a good seal with tightly crimped aluminum foil.

I almost always use my 9-quart Le Creuset pot. It’s enameled cast iron, so it retains heat well and distributes it evenly.

Get to the meat, Mouse!

Yep, yep. Here ya go.

The recipe couldn’t be simpler. Just sear the meat on all sides, season it, and let it simmer in a few cans of Guinness for about 3 hours.

It’s not fast, but it is very hands off.

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs

2 1/4 lbs lean beef short ribs (about 5 ribs)
kosher salt
olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
2 cans Guinness stout
freshly cracked black pepper
1 Tbls. garlic powder
3 fresh bay leaves

Serves about 2 for dinner.

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs: Sear the meat on all sides

Start with lean, meaty short ribs.

Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed pot.

Set the heat to medium-high, and put the short ribs in the pot to brown.

Sprinkle them with a little kosher salt.

When the ribs have developed a handsome brown crust, flip them over with a pair of tongs.

Your goal is to sear each side like this.

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs: Add the veggies

When your short ribs are browned on each side, toss in the chopped onion and celery.

Give the pot a stir to distribute them.

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs: Add the stout!

Crack open two cans of Guinness and pour them right into the pot.

Give the pot a stir with a wooden spoon, scraping at the bottom to loosen any browned bits.

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs: Toss in the seasonings

Add the bay leaves to the pot.

Add the black pepper and garlic powder. Stir to combine.

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs: Cover and simmer for 3 hours

Raise the heat to high until the liquid comes to a boil.

When it boils, drop the heat to low. Cover your pot tightly.

Check the pot once after maybe 15 minutes.

Your goal is to keep the liquid at a low bubble. Lower your heat if the stout is still rapidly boiling.

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs: Serve and enjoy!

After about 3 hours, your short ribs should be meltingly tender and falling off the bone, like this:

Depending on how fatty your ribs are, there may be a thick layer of fat on the surface.

Skim this off with a spoon and discard.

For an improv stew, cut the meat into chunks, add a few ladles broth, and toss on a little minced parsley.

Serve and enjoy!

Guinness-Braised Short Ribs

This recipe only has a few ingredients, but it yields some of the most deeply flavored, beef-y broth and meat I’ve ever tasted. Serve with roasted root veggies, buttery mashed potatoes, or fluffy, white rice.

Save Recipe

Ingredients

2 1/4 lbs lean beef short ribs (about 5 ribs)
kosher salt
olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
2 cans Guinness stout
freshly cracked black pepper
1 Tbls. garlic powder
3 fresh bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed pot.
  2. Set the heat to medium-high. When the oil is hot, add the short ribs and sear on all sides.
  3. Toss in the chopped onion and celery. Give the pot a stir to distribute them.
  4. Pour the Guinness into the pot.
  5. Give the pot a stir with a wooden spoon, scraping at the bottom to loosen any browned bits.
  6. Stir in the bay leaves, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  7. Bring the pot to a boil. Once it boils, drop the heat to low. Cover your pot tightly.
  8. Simmer covered for about 3 hours, or until your short ribs are meltingly tender and falling off the bone.
  9. Depending on how fatty your ribs are, there may be a thick layer of fat on the surface. Skim this off with a spoon and discard.
  10. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2009/01/20/rib-of-the-week-guinness-braised-short-ribs-plus-a-quick-primer-on-braising/


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Pictures are gorgeous and inspired me to make this one up. I like a bit more body in the sauce and removed the ribs after searing to give the veg. some color and finished the sautee by browning tomato paste before moving to the braise. I also passed the sauce through a sieve after braising and reduced a bit after adding some froz. pearl onions and baby-cut carrots for about 30 min. Helped thicken it up and boost the flavor some. Served on a nice pool of creamy polenta. Keep up the great work.

  2. Great recipe! I found it via your cast iron test. I loved it and so did the family. I have been slowly picking up the Lodge stuff. The LC is just to much for me. Also, off topic, your Keeshound picture of Dexter is just hilarious. I had a half Kees once from Alaska and he had so much personality! Thanks.

  3. These look so yummy! I also found your site from your cast iron test. I look forward to making them today, as we got just a hint of snow–maybe an 1″–but ribs sound so good! And I love the picture of your Kees in the snow! Our first “child” was a beautiful Kees named Shelby, and seeing yours just brings back great memories.

  4. Plan on trying your recipe with country style ribs instead of the beef. Handsome Keeshond. We also have a Keeshond and she is a joy!

  5. Me, too, came to this site via the cast iron test.
    I just had to bookmark this site – and will most definitely try some of those recipes.
    Also, I just ordered a dutch oven for outdoor cooking and wonder how that’ll turn out with plain wooden fire.
    The pics look so delicously yummy!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

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