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Buying beef short ribs for braising...

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  • Carb Lover Jan 30, 2005 06:39 PM
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All this recent discussion on braised short ribs got me going. Happened to see some in my butcher's case yesterday, so snatched some up knowing that I'd been wanting to try a recipe in my Balthazar book.

I sometimes find buying meat not as straight-forward as I would like. So many dif. cuts w dif. labels depending on the store or region of residence. I happen to live in NorCal. The label inside the glass case read "Beef Short Ribs"; however, when I got home, noticed that the pricetag label read "Beef Plate Ribs." What does that mean?

Consulted Balthazar book (didn't do this beforehand since it was a spontaneous buy), and it notes, "ask the butcher to cut the ribs across the rack, as opposed to along the bone, so there are 3 short bones in every piece." Is there a simple name for this like "cross-cut" or something? Just want to know how to communicate this to my butcher as succinctly as possible.

Inspected my 1.5 lb. piece more closely. Nice marbling, layer of fat that cuts through the middle. Bone on one end but don't see any others; seems to be mostly meat. Either way, I'm sure that braising this baby for 4 hrs. will result in something very unctuous and tasty, but just trying to discern all the variations on "beef short ribs" out there.

BTW, what's a reasonable price for this cut? I paid nearly $4/lb. and given that it's good quality and mostly meat seems like a fair price. I really have no clue though...

Thanks for any info and happy braising!

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  1. The plate is the area of the cow that short ribs come from, along with other cuts such as brisket. It's essentially the "chest" area. I've never seen short ribs labelled as "plate" ribs, but I think they must be the same thing. Cross-cut short ribs are called "flanken."

    That price is on the high end of the typical range here in the Boston area, but not unusual. At the other extreme, I've seen them on sale at around $2. Unfortunately, everyone seems to be figuring out how good they are, and that can't help the price.

    5 Replies
    1. re: FlyFish

      I have been buying them here in Chicago at LaRosita Markets, one of the many locally owned Mexican markets for the sale price of $1.39/lb. And unlike the grocery stores, the butcher will cut the short ribs they you want them cut. Good meat at a great price.

      1. re: jlawrence01

        Another good meat at decent price is beef shank...we don't eat much red meat anymore but they had the meatiest, leanest beef shanks at Publix last week for $2.49/pound and I could not resist....cooked them last night, much like I would cook short ribs...lightly coat with seasoned flour, sear on top of stove...add mirepoix, garlic and herbs, then deglaze with red wine and a little beef stock...simmer for about 3 hours at low temp, covered. Meat literally fell apart -- not as much connective tissue with shanks, either, but I do love the short rib flavor, too. Saw a chef on "The Chefs of Napa Valley" on PBS prepare short ribs on Saturday...I thought it was odd that he did not add any herbs to his ribs.

        1. re: Val

          Back in "the old days" when people slaughtered their own beef (and many in my family still do), people knew that they would have a lot of bones and other odd parts to use up and would plan accordingly. My MIL (in her handwritten cookbook) and her mother (in her handwritten cookbook of favorite recipes) have any number of recipes for shanks, hearts, kidneys, etc. that would use up these parts.

          The critical part is to cook the less tender cuts very slowly ion some kind of liquid.

      2. re: FlyFish

        Where in Boston do you usually buy your short ribs? Thanks!

        1. re: Dax

          I'm actually a bit outside of Boston. I get them, along with most of my other meat, at the Roche Bros. in South Acton.

      3. I have attached a link but there are probably better out there.

        Just google: butcher chart beef

        Link: http://www.grassorganic.com/chart-bee...

        1. f
          farmersdaughter

          I bought some on Saturday (I live in San Francisco--got them at Golden Gate Meats at Ferry Plaza) and they were, as you described, "cross cut" -- each piece of meat was about 8" long, 3" wide, with three short bones running through cross-wise. I paid about $6 per pound (pricey, comared to yours but they were worth it) and there was a good amount of marbling but no huge chunks of fat, and once they were braised, they were marvelous. The fat had melted away, there was no chewy gristle or fat. leaving silky smooth meat that you could cut with a fork.

          The cookbook whose recipe I used said to get "two-bone-cut" short ribs, about 1 1/2" thick and weigh about 8 oz each. It said that these cook to a better flavor and texture than the short ribs you typically see cut into small squares--is that what yours looked like?

          I guess mine were "three-bone-cut" short ribs!

          1 Reply
          1. re: farmersdaughter

            Thanks for describing what you purchased. Mine is about 1.5 lbs. in weight and about 6 X 4 in. in dimension. One long rib runs along the 6 in. side, which is flanked by all meat w/ marbling and layer of fat cutting across. Looks like I got one rib and the flank meat, hence "Beef Flank Ribs." Suppose that I'll lose some flavor with less bones, but hopefully have lots of succulent meat. Am making it tonight, so we'll see...