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Slow Cooked English Short Ribs

Slow Cooked English Short Ribs

There's something undeniably enticing about the aroma of slow-cooked beef wafting through the kitchen. The tender, succulent meat falling off the bone, infused with rich flavors, is a delight to the senses. Among the many cuts of beef that lend themselves beautifully to slow cooking, English short ribs stand out as a true culinary gem. In this post, we will explore the history of English short ribs, share valuable cooking tips, delve into the ingredients that elevate this dish, provide a list of necessary tools, guide you through the step-by-step instructions, suggest variations to explore, and answer common questions. Finally, we'll present you with a full recipe to savor and enjoy.

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History of English Short Ribs: A Taste of Tradition

English short ribs have a long-standing culinary history rooted in the British Isles. These ribs are derived from the forequarter of the animal, specifically the beef chuck, which runs from the neck to the fifth rib. Traditionally, this cut was less expensive and often overlooked, but its richness and flavor have made it a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike. The slow cooking method allows the connective tissues to break down, resulting in tender, juicy meat with an irresistible depth of flavor.

Cooking Tips: The Art of Low and Slow

To achieve the perfect English short ribs, it's crucial to embrace the "low and slow" cooking method. This technique involves cooking the meat at a low temperature over an extended period. This allows the collagen in the meat to dissolve, transforming tough cuts into tender, melt-in-your-mouth masterpieces. Here are a few essential cooking tips to ensure a successful outcome:
  1. Seasoning: Before cooking, season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper. This enhances the flavors and helps form a savory crust during the searing process.
  2. Searing: Searing the short ribs in hot oil before slow cooking is vital. This step caramelizes the surface, creating a depth of flavor and textural contrast. Use a heavy, oven-safe pot for this process.
  3. Aromatics: Onions and garlic are aromatic powerhouses that add complexity to the dish. Sauté diced white onions and minced garlic until softened and fragrant.
  4. Liquid: The combination of beef broth, red wine, and Worcestershire sauce forms the braising liquid. The beef broth adds depth, while red wine imparts a rich, complex flavor. Worcestershire sauce contributes umami notes that enhance the overall taste profile.
  5. Herbs: A sprig of fresh rosemary adds a pleasant herbal aroma and complements the beef's natural flavors. Feel free to experiment with other herbs like thyme or bay leaves for variations.
 Beef Level of Doneness Internal Temperature
125°F (52°C)
Rare: 135°F (57°C)
145°F (63°C)
155°F (68°C)
160°F (71°C)

Note: Slow-cooked English short ribs are typically cooked until they reach an internal temperature of around 190°F (88°C) for fall-off-the-bone tenderness.

Other Tips
  • Allow the short ribs to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This helps redistribute the juices, resulting in a moist and flavorful final product.
  • Skim any excess fat from the braising liquid before serving for a cleaner, more refined dish.
  • Serve the short ribs with the braising liquid as a sauce or reduce the liquid separately to create a concentrated, flavorful glaze.
  • If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can use a slurry made of cornstarch and water to thicken the braising liquid after cooking. Simply mix equal parts cornstarch and water and add it to the simmering liquid until desired thickness is achieved.
  • Experiment with different sides and accompaniments to complement the rich flavors of the short ribs. Creamy mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, or a crisp green salad are excellent choices.
Ingredients: Elevating the Dish

Each ingredient in this recipe serves a specific purpose, contributing to the overall depth and richness of flavors. Let's take a closer look at how they enhance the dish:
  1. English Short Ribs: This cut of beef, derived from the beef chuck, boasts a well-marbled texture and robust flavor, ideal for slow cooking. The collagen in the meat breaks down during the long cooking process, resulting in tender, succulent ribs.
  2. Salt and Black Pepper: These essential seasonings enhance the natural flavors of the meat, while black pepper adds a subtle hint of heat.
  3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Used for searing the short ribs, the olive oil helps create a flavorful crust and prevents sticking.
  4. White Onion and Garlic: The combination of diced white onions and minced garlic forms the aromatic base of the dish. They provide a savory foundation and add depth to the overall flavor profile.
  5. Beef Broth: The beef broth serves as the primary liquid for braising the short ribs. It adds richness and depth to the dish, creating a flavorful base.
  6. Red Wine (optional): Red wine adds complexity and depth of flavor to the braising liquid. Choose a dry red wine that pairs well with beef, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
  7. Worcestershire Sauce: This umami-rich sauce contributes depth and a hint of tanginess to the dish. It enhances the meat's natural flavors and adds complexity to the braising liquid.
  8. Fresh Rosemary: The fragrant sprig of fresh rosemary infuses the dish with herbal notes, enhancing the overall taste experience. Rosemary pairs wonderfully with beef and adds a touch of earthiness.

List of Tools: Equipping Your Kitchen

To successfully prepare slow-cooked English beef short ribs, it's important to have the right tools at hand. Here's a list of essential kitchen tools you'll need:

  1. Heavy, Oven-Safe Pot: Choose a sturdy pot with a tight-fitting lid that can be used on the stovetop and in the oven. This pot will be used for searing the ribs and slow cooking them.
  2. Knife and Cutting Board: A sharp knife and a reliable cutting board are necessary for prepping the onions, garlic, and other ingredients.
  3. Measuring Spoons: Accurate measurements are crucial for achieving the perfect balance of flavors. Keep a set of measuring spoons on hand.
  4. Tongs: Use tongs for flipping and removing the short ribs during the searing process.
  5. Oven Mitts: To protect your hands from heat when transferring the pot to and from the oven, use a reliable pair of oven mitts.
  6. Wooden Spoon or Spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula is essential for stirring and sautéing the onions and garlic without scratching the surface of your pot.
  7. Meat Thermometer: To ensure that the short ribs are cooked to perfection, invest in a reliable meat thermometer. This will help you monitor the internal temperature and achieve the desired level of doneness.
  8. Slotted Spoon: A slotted spoon comes in handy for removing the short ribs from the pot without taking too much of the braising liquid with them.
  9. Serving Platter: When it's time to present your delicious slow-cooked short ribs, a beautiful serving platter adds a touch of elegance to the table.

Now that we have covered the cooking tips, the essential ingredients, and the necessary tools, let's move on to the step-by-step instructions to create mouthwatering slow-cooked English beef short ribs.

How to Make Slow-Cooked English Beef Short Ribs: Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
  2. Season all sides of the short ribs with salt and black pepper, ensuring an even coating.
  3. Heat a heavy, oven-safe pot over high heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and allow it to heat briefly.
  4. Sear the short ribs in the hot oil for about 1 minute per side, or until a golden-brown crust forms. This step helps render the fat and adds a depth of flavor.
  5. Remove the seared short ribs from the pot and set them aside.
  6. In the same pot, add the diced white onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until softened and translucent. If using garlic cloves, add them and sauté for an additional minute.
  7. Pour in the beef broth, red wine (if using), and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  8. Return the seared short ribs to the pot, nestling them into the braising liquid. Place the sprig of fresh rosemary on top.
  9. Cover the pot with the lid and transfer it to the preheated oven.
  10. Allow the short ribs to slow cook for about 2.5 hours, or until the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone.

Once the short ribs are cooked to perfection, remove them from the pot using a slotted spoon and transfer them to a serving platter. Let them rest for a few minutes before serving. You can strain the braising liquid to remove any solids and serve it as a sauce alongside the ribs.

How to Store Slow-Cooked English Beef Short Ribs

If you have any leftovers, you can store them properly for future enjoyment. Allow the cooked short ribs to cool to room temperature before transferring them to an airtight container. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. When ready to enjoy, gently reheat the ribs in a covered baking dish in a preheated oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius) until warmed through.

Variations on the Recipe: Exploring Delicious Options

While the original recipe for slow-cooked English beef short ribs is already a delectable delight, you can explore variations to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Asian-Inspired Ribs: Instead of using red wine, substitute it with soy sauce, ginger, and a touch of honey. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds for an Asian twist.
  2. Smoky Barbecue Ribs: Add smoked paprika, cumin, and a dash of liquid smoke to the braising liquid for a rich, smoky flavor. Finish the ribs on a grill or under the broiler for a caramelized, barbecue-like crust.
  3. Mediterranean-Inspired Ribs: Infuse the dish with Mediterranean flavors by adding dried oregano, thyme, and a splash of balsamic vinegar to the braising liquid. Serve the ribs with a side of roasted vegetables and a fresh tomato salad.
  4. Spicy and Tangy Ribs: For those who enjoy a kick of heat, incorporate a spicy element to the dish. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes to the seasoning mix. Finish the ribs with a tangy glaze made from honey, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar.
  5. Beer-Braised Ribs: Replace the red wine in the braising liquid with a dark beer, such as stout or porter. The malty flavors of the beer add depth and richness to the dish. Serve with roasted potatoes and a side of sautéed greens.

Feel free to get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations to make the dish your own. The beauty of slow-cooked English beef short ribs is that they lend themselves well to a wide range of culinary interpretations.

Questions and Answers

Q: Can I use boneless short ribs for this recipe?
A: Yes, boneless short ribs can be used in this recipe. However, bone-in ribs will provide additional flavor and contribute to a richer broth.

Q: Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?
A: Yes, you can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker. Follow the same steps for searing the short ribs and sautéing the onions and garlic. Then transfer everything to a slow cooker, add the remaining ingredients, and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or until the meat is tender.

Q: What side dishes pair well with slow-cooked English beef short ribs?
A: Creamy mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, buttered noodles, or a fresh green salad make excellent accompaniments to these hearty short ribs. The choice of side dishes depends on your personal preferences and the occasion.

Full Recipe


  • 5 lbs FFF English Short Ribs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion (or 1 teaspoon onion powder)
  • 2 to 3 cloves minced garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Season all sides of the short ribs with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a heavy, oven-safe pot over high heat. Add in olive oil and allow to heat briefly. Sear short ribs in olive oil, about 1 minute per side, to render fat. Remove from pot and set aside.
  3. Add in onion and saute 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Add in garlic and saute 1 minute more.
  4. Pour in beef broth, red wine (if using) and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer. Return short ribs to pan. Place a rosemary sprig on top.
  5. Cover with lid and transfer to preheated oven for about 2.5 hours, until meat is tender.

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