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How to Make the Best Short Ribs

If you can make stew, you can make tasty, tender short ribs—it’s easy! This is the best way to make them so the meat falls apart.

Short ribs! I love these little hunks of beefy deliciousness. And you will, too, especially once you see how simple it is to make them!

But before we talk about making short ribs, let’s talk about exactly what they are, especially since there are a couple of different kinds out there these days.

English-style ribs are cut parallel to the bone, and then each rib is cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths. The result is stubby little ribs with a 1- to 2-inch-thick hunk of meat attached to each. Being thick hunks of not particularly tender meat, English-style short ribs are best with a long, slow, moist cooking method (more about that in a sec).

Flanken-style ribs are cut across the bone. Essentially, each piece is a cross-section of a rack of ribs, typically about 1/2-inch thick, yielding a 5- or 6-inch long strip of meat studded with circles of rib bone. These have become popular because they’re what’s used in Korean-style barbecue. It’s the same meat as English-style ribs, so it’s still not the most tender, but because the meat is relatively thin, it can do well with a quick cooking method—like grilling.

Long story short, when you make “traditional” short ribs, like the ones in this recipe, you want to ask your butcher for English-style ribs and you want to use a long, slow, moist cooking method. In other words, a braise.

Braising is simply simmering foods in liquid for a long time. It’s essentially what you do when you make stew. And it’s totally what you do when you make pot roast, pork shoulder, or brisket. Technically, you could eat these cuts with a quick cook like you do for a steak or a chop—but you wouldn’t want to, because they’d be tough and chewy. But with a longer cook, time and heat break down the tough stuff (connective tissues), and the result is meltingly tender deliciousness.

So then, if you can boil water, you can braise. And you can make short ribs! Ta-da!


Why cook with water when you can use something more flavorful, like broth or wine? And why not add some seasonings while you’re at it? And why not start by browning your meat, for even more flavor? My recipe is made extra-tasty by doing all those things, but is still essentially nothing more than long-simmered delicious beef parts!

Serve your short ribs over polenta, mashed potatoes, or buttered noodles. I’m sure you’ll love ‘em as much as I do.

Christine :)


How to Make the Best Shortribs

  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


If you can make stew, you can make tasty, tender short ribs—it’s easy! This is the best way to make them so the meat falls apart.


  • 6 to 6 1/2 pounds meaty beef short ribs (see note)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram, or a combination
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil or other high-heat cooking oil
  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth, red wine, or a combination


  1. Put the ribs in a single layer, meaty side up, in one or more non-corrosive containers (glass or ceramic baking dishes, for example, or stainless steel sheet pans).
  2. Mix together the herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on the ribs. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. (If you have the time, you can refrigerate the ribs with the seasoning mixture overnight—this is essentially a dry brine and will greatly improve the ribs in both taste and texture. But it’s entirely optional. If you do refrigerate overnight, take the ribs out of the fridge an hour before you start cooking, to bring them to room temperature.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  4. While the oven heats, in a very large ovenproof skillet, braising pan, or saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of oil.
  5. Working in batches, brown the ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch, adding more oil as needed and returning the browned ribs to the non-corrosive containers.
  6. Pour the drippings off the skillet, then add the broth or wine and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits in the skillet.
  7. Return the ribs and any juices to the skillet (it’s okay if they’re standing on end and/or not in one layer) and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours.
  8. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the ribs to a large, clean plate or platter and cover to keep them warm. Boil the braising liquid on the stovetop until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes.
  9. Serve the ribs with the sauce spooned on top.


  • For this recipe, use English-style ribs—each will be a 2- to 3-inch bone with a thick hunk of meat attached (as opposed to flanken-style ribs, which will be thin strips of meat, each with a few small circles of rib bone). You might have to call your butcher or meat counter and order them in advance.