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Cheese cloth & alternatives?

Tonight I am going to braise short ribs for my big vday meal. I've never done before and the recipe said to bundle the fresh herbs in cheese cloth. Few questions with this - 1) where does one buy cheese cloth? 2) Are there alternative things to use? 3) Can you just wrap the herbs in string?

Also, if i'm letting it sit overnight in fridge, do i remove from the bone tomorrow?

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  1. are you planning on straining the braising liquid and reducing it down to make your sauce? if so, bundling the herbs is unnecessary. regarding the bones, they'll most likely fall out while cooking anyway because the ribs will get so tender.

    1. Just about every large grocery store will have cheesecloth. Look where they have the cooking utensils. Yes, you could also just wrap the in string.

      1. No need for the cheesecloth, it's simply to make the eventual removal of the herbs easier. I normally tie them together with a small piece of string,or fish them out later.
        When making short ribs, I normally do everything that I can to keep the bone attached, mostly so that it looks like a piece of rib on the plate. You do most certainly want to skim off the layer of fat that accumulates on top after cooling though. BTW, I prefer to do most of the braise in a slow oven after you've finished the browning. I find it easier.

        2 Replies
        1. re: koan

          In the short rib recipe I use (Balthazar) it calls for placing the herbs between two pieces of celery and tying that up - easy to fish out.

          1. re: MMRuth

            That's a brilliant idea- I'd heard of that before but had forgotten about it... making mental note again! On a side note, I've also seen people use carrots or celery as a roasting rack, which I also think is pretty clever!

            I have un-filled tea bags that I've used before in a pinch, but I'm assuming if you don't have cheesecloth, you probably don't have tea bags.

        2. could also use a coffee filter and tie that off as well

          1. You could also buy it in a fabric store but I'd go with the coffee filter idea if you have some. You can't buy one small sheet of cheesecloth.