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Apr 29, 2008 11:32 AM

What are "short ribs" in the UK?

Title says it all.

I often see mention of them here and have a number of recipes from American cookbooks, but its simply not the name of cut of beef we have in Britain. Looking at photos, it doesnt seem to be a cut that's even readily available so I think would need to explain to the butcher exactly what I needed - unless there is actually a British name for them. Your help please.

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  1. I don't know the name, but in the U.S., one cut of short ribs is called "English cut", which suggests to may that they might be available. Best of luck - it's one of my favorite dishes to cook.

    "Short ribs come in two cuts: English and flanken. English cut, the most common, has a bone section usually 3" to 5" long, 2-6 bones wide, and is 1-2" thick."

    Edit: I also looked in my "All You Need to Know About the British Kitchen", which has a section on cuts of beef, but it doesn't discuss ribs other than prime rib aka wing and fore ribs.

    Another Edit: - I wonder, based on this and some other reading, if short ribs are the shortest ribs in the Fore Rib? - go down to "rib roast" - it talks about removing the "short ribs" from that roast, "half standing rib roast". - refers to them as "flanken style ribs = kosher ribs = brust flanken = flanken short ribs." It refers to them as coming from the flank. And - "short ribs = flanken = chuck short ribs = barbecue ribs = braising ribs = English short ribs"

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      I am thinking spare ribs. I am a Brit in the US although I don't eat pork so don't eat pig ribs but I did used to make beef spare ribs in England and was able to get those at a butcher.

      1. re: smartie

        Are they different from U.S. spare ribs, do you think - which I think of as being used to make BBQ ribs, rather than braised "short ribs"? I've actually never seen pork short ribs - though I've never looked for them. This weekend though, my husband had lamb short ribs at a restaurant.

    2. Good question! I've wondered that for a while. Short ribs certainly aren't as popular on restaurant menus in the UK (I really like them, but braised short rib sometimes seems ubiquitous on a certain kind of mid-range American menu). And you don't really see them in supermarkets or at the butcher's. I think the best way to explain to the butcher is to ask for "thin ribs" or maybe "beef barbeque ribs" or "the fatty ribs at the front above the rib eye"... I don't think you want spare ribs--they are the smaller, less fatty, meaty ribs behind the short ribs.

      1. On the almost certain assumption that Brit butchery won't be wasting this meat, I presume we must take it off the bone and sell it like that. Ruth's mention of "chuck" might be the clue as we definately see cubed chuck sold for stewing, etc.

        I think I may add a pointer to here from the UK board.

        Keep the ideas coming please. The answer is out there.......

        3 Replies
          1. re: greedygirl

            Good link. BTW - the "Argentine style" in photo isn't how I usually see them cut in the U.S.

          2. re: Harters

            Yes, chuck should be the clue, as short ribs in US supermarkets indicate they are beef chuck.

          3. Take a look at this blog from an American in London:


            If you scroll down to the “Meat Course” paragraph, you’ll find this quote:

            “Jon’s specialty over the past few months has been a braised short rib recipe he’s gaga over in Mario Batali’s Babbo cookbook. For my birthday dinner, Jon cooked this short rib recipe for 12. He preordered the short ribs from E. Wood, our local butcher, which required Jon to print off photos of the short rib from the Internet because our English butcher had no idea what a short rib was. Take note, in England, this bit of cow is called fore rib.”

            1. I'm interested in this as well, since I found a recipe for Korean braised short ribs and haven't been able to cook them yet, not knowing what short ribs are here in the UK. Sounds like fore ribs might be the answer. Will keep following the thread.Thanks!

              16 Replies
              1. re: Kagey

                Funnily enough, that's exactly the recipe that prompted my query.

                I don't think the answer is going to be fore rib (as that's what we'd call the roasting joint). I know a butcher through another (non-food) board and have now emailed him to see what he makes of things.

                1. re: Harters

                  You've really got me going now. I will ask my butcher at the weekend.

                  1. re: Harters

                    That is funny. Do let us know what you find out. The sad thing is, I don't even know what they look like in America!

                    1. re: Kagey

                      Would some photos help? Happy to post some links.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Oh yes, please do! Thanks! That will help me in my reignited quest.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Wow, thanks very much for that. They don't look like I expected!

                            1. re: Kagey

                              I think they look like what I guessed - like very very meaty pork spare ribs. But I've definately never seen these on sale anywhere in the UK. I see from one of the links they can be bought boned or bone-in.

                              They are too meaty to be thrown away by the butcher, so they gotta be deboned and sold as something else. They don't look big enough to provide the raw material for sliced of "braising steak" - so I think they must end up being diced into something for casserole/stews - maybe we''ll know it as "diced chuck steak". In which case, we just need a big lump of whatever the butcher chops up.

                              The quest continues............

                              1. re: Harters

                                Next time I go by the butcher, I'm going to ask him how he would tell a butcher to cut them.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  That would be really helpful, MMR.

                                  1. re: Harters

                                    I think that they may be what we buy in the UK as a rolled rib joint. I am not sure that butchers actually cut it down at all. May be wrong, but I have certainly bought rolled rib joints to cut myself. I'd be interested to know if others think this is a possibility.

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      I'll go by tomorrow. This is the butcher, by the way - he's hoot:


                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        Hilarious! I don't think that T-shirt would fit him though.... Strangely, he looks very much like one of the Portuguese butchers in one of my local shops. They could be brothers, apart from the accent....

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          Oh - I've only just viewed this and love it. Where is Schatzi'e based? I want to buy his t-shirt for my three great butchers, attached here.

                                          1. re: Foodlexi

                                            He's in Manhattan - currently on Madison Avenue.

                      2. re: Kagey

                        Also .. the Korean cut is across the bone, in thin strips of meat with round bone segments in between, probably no more than 3/4 inch thick. Braised short ribs will use a longer piece of bone, four to five inches.