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May 31, 2007 06:20 AM

Braised and Grilled Beef short ribs

I am going to be cooking for my father in law for his b-day and he really likes pork ribs. However, to change things up I'd like to try BEEF short ribs but braised for texture then grilled to add a glaze (bbq sauce) and some crispness. I am worried that if I braise before grilling that the meat may to easily break apart and make for a difficult time on the grill. Anybody have any experience with this? Also, what to braise the beef in? Ofcourse, everyone's favorite is red wine but I do not know if this would go well with a traditional bbq glaze. Any suggestions? Keep in mind I'd like to keep with the theme of traditional bbq rib flavor.

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  1. Don't do it.

    You are absolutelty correct that after braising the meat will not stand up to the grill, this is especially true of BEEF short ribs, which are typically NOT grilled or smoked becuase they are not nearly as "structurally sound" as PORK baby backs...

    If you want to make a PORK RIB LOVER really sad give 'em a plate of BEEF RIBS -- not the way to win over your F-I-L!

    It is not impossible to get a little glaze on short ribs and crisp them up, but I have experimented with this and I can tell you that there is no way to get results that would compete with traditional bbq pork ribs.

    If it were me, and for what ever reason I did not want to make pork ribs, I would either get Texas style beef ribs, which will at least hold up to the low & slow traditional bbq techniques OR try for a more Korean BBQ style short rib. Be prepared for your F-I-L to be disappointed -- there is no way that either of these offerings will have the meatiness of pork baby backs.

    Come to think of it, if I really wanted to make my F-I-L happy and I knew that he really likes pork ribs and I did not want to cook them, I would completely avoid the category of meat-with-bones and instead go for some spicy grilled jerk chicken or spicy lamb kabobs -- these tend to have flavors that while 'exotic' still appeal to lovers of traditional BBQ and would not compete with his notions of pork ribs.

    Good Luck!

    4 Replies
    1. re: renov8r

      Thanks alot for the advice. I see your point - stay with the pork ribs for a pork rib lover. This has probably been posted before, but I'll ask here - whats the best type of ribs (spare ribs, baby back, st louis style)?? And best method for fall off the bone ribs?

      1. re: nielubow

        I'm no expert, and I don't have a good charcoal grill, but I'll give you my method. I use the regular spare ribs (I think they have more meat than baby backs). Rub with smoked paprika, salt, pepper and dried thyme. In the oven at 300 degrees F for 4 hours. Take them out, drain off the fat, brush with BBQ sauce and throw on the grill for a few minutes per side, until they have that carmelized look.
        These ribs always come out fall-apart tender with great flavor.
        Now, about that silvery skin on the back that people remove. Truthfully, if you want your ribs to hold together on the grill, leave it on. At least that's my experience. If I take that skin off, the bones literally fall right out of the meat. Leaving the silvery membrane on helps the racks stay together on the grill and doesn't really make the ribs any tougher to eat.

        (PS - I agree with really should feed the man pork ribs if that's what he likes) Good luck!

        1. re: nielubow

          There are whole sites dedicated to holy wars of spare ribs vs loin back ribs. If you are not well versed in the differences the short answer is that the butchering of loin back ribs into baby backs makes for a product that is more uniform, This leads to something that is more compact and cooks more evenly as well as being somewhat less messy at the table.

          At the other end of the spectrum is the full spare rib. A bit of butchering will turn this into a St. Louis cut, a bit more into a Kansas.

          All of them cook the same. You can search for suggestions but the essence is a low , slow smoke enhanced environment will produce the traditional bbq flavor. To aid in the "fall off the bone" tenderness you will probably want to finish them wrapped in foil . Lots of pointers:

          1. re: nielubow

            Baby back ribs are smaller and typically more tender. You can just grill them over indirect heat and they will be tender enough to eat in less than an hour. You can't do this with spare ribs which definitely need low and slow. Spare ribs are bigger and meatier with more chew to it. I think an average rack of babybacks will be about a 1 1/2 - 2 lbs while a spare rib rack will be around 3 lbs.

        2. You could go with galbi (kaibi) - Korean short ribs. They are cut in two different styles.
          The traditional is a 1 to 1 1/2 inch crosscut single rib with the meat butterfly cut around the bone.
          The other is LA style with a three to four bone crosscut (flanken cut) 1/4 inch thick. Both cuts are great for grilling.

          1. I make a "Ribs Filipino" that is always well recieved with pork ribs, braised and then transferred to the oven. The star anise and red pepper flakes in the soy, honey and fresh ginger is a wonderful and different pork rib dish.
            I have made these for several parties at my filipino friends homes and they loved them. There is always a rice cooker going and being refilled during these parties, the ribs go great with jasmine rice.

            1. This is my absolute FAVORITE recipe for ribs. I have made this numerous times to thunderous applause.


              FYI...Red Zinfandel goes well with BBQ sauce.