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Short ribs - Niman Ranch?

azhotdish Feb 6, 2007 11:18 AM

Hi all - I'm planning a menu for my parent's wedding anniversary and have decided on doing braised short ribs. I'm looking for quality short ribs and have some doubts as to the type I'll find at the local supermarket (located in the PHX metro area). That said, does anyone have experience using Niman Ranch short ribs? Are they worth the premium? I know this is a subjective question and I'm looking for subjective feedback. Also, any tips would be helpful when cooking them, this will be a first. Thanks in advance!

  1. o
    OldTimer Feb 6, 2007 12:37 PM

    I wouldn't waste money on Niman Ranch short ribs...if your local PHX Costco carries boneless short ribs, you can't miss. Some cuts just don't justify the high price. Cook them (after browning) in red wine and beef broth, with 10-15 garlic cloves. Some use a mirepwah (sp) for added flavor. Cook 2-3 hours at 300 degrees. I have used many brands of short ribs, and Costco is the best.

    1. Ruth Lafler Feb 6, 2007 12:46 PM

      Mirepoix. Costco meats are generally good quality, since they are choice grade instead of the "select" grade supermarkets carry. Niman is ungraded, I believe. I've cooked with Niman short ribs and they came out well, but I don't have any basis of comparison, so I can't say whether they were worth the premium.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        mellycooks Feb 7, 2007 01:39 PM

        If the OP is braising the shortribs, the bones are an important part of the equation since they add flavor, body and unctuous-ness. If you do go bone-less be sure to throw in some oxtails or similar cut.

      2. azhotdish Feb 7, 2007 09:18 AM

        Anyone else care to comment? Thx for the Costco tip - I'm gonna have to head there this week and check out what they have.

        1. b
          ben61820 Feb 7, 2007 09:38 AM

          have nothing to say bout costco meats but i can only say to beware that Niman ranch's beef is NOT 100% grass-fed. their website seems to make a big deal of their pasturing and grass-feeding, etc. but they are not 100% and if you read the fine print even on their own site you will see that they are finished with grain. just so you know, yknow?

          2 Replies
          1. re: ben61820
            JudiAU Feb 7, 2007 12:57 PM

            I would add that Niman Ranch is well known for the fact that its animals are raised slowly on grass and then finished on corn. They don't try and hide it and don't say they raise 100% grass fed. Personally, I think this is what makes their meat superior to many other labels and this is why their meat is widely used in better restaurants. Much of 100% grass fed beef remains inconsisent and poorly marbled.

            1. re: JudiAU
              Ruth Lafler Feb 7, 2007 02:01 PM

              Agreed. I've tried very highly touted (and expensive!) grass-fed beef on several occasions and always been disappointed by both the taste and the texture.

              On the other hand, my butcher is stocking some Kobe-style sirloin that's worth every penny! If I want the health benefits of grass-fed, I buy buffalo.

          2. n
            ngardet Feb 7, 2007 12:33 PM

            I have only had good experiences with Costco meat.

            1. k
              KRS Feb 7, 2007 01:03 PM

              For an extra-special occasion, go with the Niman. It really does taste better. Also, you get extra flavor by braising short ribs with the bones in.

              Use a Le Creuset pot if you have one, only a little larger than the meat, and use beef broth for all the liquid. Just 1/2" is plenty, as more comes out of the meat. Heat the broth to boiling on the stovetop and then put the covered pot in the oven preheated to 325. After half an hour, if the liquid is more than barely trembling, turn the heat down to 300.

              Mirepoix (carrot/onion/celery) dilutes the flavor and makes the sauce taste like stock. If you must, toss some in during the sauce reduction process. If you use stock as the braising liquid, they're already in it. However, sweet-tasting spices -- a cinnamon stick or a few star anise -- can add a mysterious tang. For my next short ribs, I think I'll add a few drops of vanilla extract at the end.

              Any braise improves a LOT by the following day. Refrigerate the meat and liquid separately and remove the fat and bones the next morning.

              The sauce benefits from a substantial reduction.

              Serve with rice, orzo, cous-cous or some other starch that your guests can use to sop up every drop of the heavenly liquid.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KRS
                azhotdish Feb 7, 2007 01:55 PM

                I bought a Le Creuset dutch oven just for the occasion! Thanks for the tips, KRS.

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