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Mar 22, 2005 05:13 AM

Short ribs

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I love short ribs, but how do I get around the tough membrane that connect the meat to the bone?

Usually I brown the ribs, braise them in a simple tomato sauce or with red wine, stock and veggies.

The ribs taste great but the membrane is a pain (not for me but the rest of the family). How do restaurants deal with this problem? The recipe in the Balthazar cookbook calls for bone-in ribs. I can't imagine they serve them with the cartilage.

Also - the ribs I find at the supermarket have very little meat on them. Is there a certain cut I should look/ask for?

Thanks again,


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  1. The Baltazar recipe is fantastic - the meat falls off the bones. It may call for cooking the meat longer than a tomato sauce based recipe. At the end of the recipe, there is a description of what to ask your butcher for - you may want to try that. I get mine at Whole Foods. I use red wine instead of port and chicken stock instead of the veal stock called for.

    Try the Chicken Riesling recipe too if you haven't yet - v. crispy skin!

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      The chicken riesling recipe is wonderful!

      Everything I have made from that book has turned out delicious: cassoulet, warm lentils, mustard-crusted salmon, chocolate pots de creme.

      Other favorites you'd rec?

      1. re: Carb Lover

        I know, I've been very pleasantly surprised. Usually restaurant cookbooks are good for inspiration, but not an awful lot more. I've made the spatzle, the sauces for the plateau de fruits de mer, the frisee aux lardons (though I think the dressing is a bit vinegary - last time I switched to red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, and used a little less, and I preferred it).

    2. I don't know if you live near a Costco, but their short ribs are boneless and fantastic! We usually get 2 - 3 meals out of one package.

      I braise mine for 15-20 minutes on the grill until charred, then bake with barbeque sauce for 2 hours (covered) at 350. I turn them over at 1 hour since the bottom becomes charred and this gives an even char to top and bottom. Delicious!

      1. I purchased boneless short ribs at Costco and cooked them long and slow for hours. That gelatinous layer was so unapplealing to me that I came to the conclusion that short ribs, despite their tastiness, just aren't for me--way too labor intensive.

        Because of my personal experience with the sticky-fatty layer, I am hesitant to even order them from a restaurant.

        1. I made my first attempt at short ribs using the Balthazar book, which I generally liked. I believe the recipe specifies for 3-bone, cross-cut pieces, but I bought "beef plate ribs" instead--mostly meat w/ one long bone attached lengthwise. See link for a discussion on buying short ribs.

          Regardless of which cut you used, it's hard for me to imagine anything being tough after 3 hours of braising. The beauty of braising short ribs (or any meat) is that all the cartilage should break down, resulting in a dish that is very unctuous and tender.

          I've eaten cross-cut short ribs a few times at restos and while they have varied in deliciousness, none of them have had anything that resembled a tough membrane.


          2 Replies
          1. re: Carb Lover

            I used the "plate ribs" as well.

            1. re: Carb Lover

              If the moisture level ever falls during the cooking process and the meat dries out, it can not be fixed. Even if you add liquid and cook another 10 hours. That is most likely what happened.