Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 23, 2009 03:49 PM

Short ribs: trimming and cooking times.

I'm really trying to prefect this. I've made one batch of English cut at 350 degrees cooked for 2 hours from the Babbo cook book recipe and they were good but not as fall apart good as I've had them in restaurants. So after browning a new batch I am doing them at 200 degrees and plan to cook them for 5 hours, should this do it? I see some recipes on the internet calling for 12 hours at 200 degrees! They've been in about an hour, should they be at 225 or 250? It's about 4 pounds of ribs, each about a little less than a pound each probably. All this is kind of driving me crazy.

Also on the trimming I have a question, should the silverskin and fat on the top of the ribs be removed? How about on the bottom near the bone? I see some people saying to do it and other not.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Roast and braise at the lowest and slowest your time allows. My preference is at 200 but often my schedule calls for 250.

    And I've of the 'remove the silverskin' and trim camp. The flavor is in the meat and not the fat ans silverskin really never breaks down. The best, of course, is to cook it today, defat, and serve tomorrow.

    7 Replies
    1. re: alwayscooking

      Thanks for the reassurance, I agree they are better the next day, but the batch I made yesterday intending to reheat today after 2 hours at 325 turned out awful, overcooked, gummy, and tough, they were flanken cut and of varying sizes. So I am back to English cut that worked out fairly well last time. We ARE having short ribs tonight one way or another I refuse to be defeated by ribs!

      More questions of short rib obscura:

      Which way should the ribs be turned in the pan? Bone side up? Bone side down? Standing tall? on their side? I have them bone side up right now with the meaty part in the liquid.

      Should they be turned? Once? Every hour? Not at all? If so, what side should I start on and what side should I end with?

      Is it better to brown them in oil olive on the range, or briefly roast them at high temp before starting the braise?

      Is it better for the pan to be fully covered or slightly ajar?

      1. re: rezpeni

        Overwhelmed by questions! I've never thought about short ribs so much!

        I roast the bones in a pan before going in the oven and then put them bone side up in a pot. I deglaze the roasting pan with liquid and add it to the pot. Add the vegetables, herbs and liquids and put it in the low oven with covered with foil and a tight lid.

        No turning.

        Just wait.

        PS JFoods recipe sounds good - I haven't tried it yet but planning to do so soon. Except, I'll use a lower temp!

        1. re: alwayscooking

          Thanks for the pointers. I saw JFoods recipe but 1/2 cup of sugar seems a little crazy I find the braising liquid plenty sweet between the veggies and wine.

          I will not turn. I will wait. 3 hours to go.

            1. re: rezpeni

              hope they turn out as well as you hope. jfood was a little nervous about the sugar as well, but the end result is anything but sweet.

              Let us know how they turn out.

              BTW - what temp and for how long are you trying

              1. re: jfood

                I am going for 5 hours at 200 degrees after browning on the range. A little nervous since I see some recipes calling for 12 hours(!) at 200 , but I am committed now so let's see! Almost there.

              2. re: rezpeni

                Be patient, grasshopper, and you will find great reward!

        2. But you should check out JFood's recipe here on Chowhound.

          1. You definitely have to remove the silverskin on all cuts of ribs. I leave most of the fat on, it bastes the meat while cooking, and just degrease the sauce before serving.

            Also, you may want to try the shank cut, not the english cut, which, if I'm not mistaken, are the smaller, thinner cuts. I would imagine they dry out pretty quickly, and don't break down in the same way b/c of the cut.

            I use a great recipe from Gordon Hammersley's cookbook, Bistro Cooking at Home His restaurant is in Boston & has been there for at least 20 years. They are braised in dark beer with bacon & onions, and they come out fabulous, every time. He recommends 2 bone cut short ribs, which are about 1 1/2 inches thick, but get the biggest meatiest ribs you can, they cook to a better flavor & texture. They are cooked at 350 degrees, for about 2 1/4 hours. Good luck - one of my favorites!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Phurstluv

              I'm not sure of the difference in cut? These are rectangular, about 5 inches long, with about 2 or 2 1/2 inches of meat above the bone. My butcher stocks them as one long rib and I have him cut them in half.

              As for 350 yah I tried that in the Babbo recipe, but some of the connective tissue didn't break down like I've had it in good restaurants, where you can just break it up with your fork.

              1. re: rezpeni

                Those sound like the right cut - with enough meat.

                Last ? first - brown them on the stove in vegetable oil first. And I always keep them covered tightly in a dutch oven while braising.

                Leave them alone, don't turn baste, etc. You're losing a lot of heat every time you open the door & the pot. Leave them alone, trust me. I don't think it matters how they are oriented in the braise, otherwise Gordon would've mentioned it.

                And just check them after 2 1/4 hours. If they're not fork tender yet, give them another 20 minutes or so. It may be something as simple as your oven is a little slow, or off. Hope that helps, and happy eating!

            2. I think most of your questions were answered, just thought I'd throw in my 2c.

              I've seen 'bone-less' short ribs, which look appetizing, but I'd stick to bone-in cuts for this prep. The bones offer up collagen over a long braise, giving the dish that wonderful mouth feel.
              I like serving with the bone prominant on the plate. I don't remove the connective tissue along the bone - this helps keep it connected to the meat. Otherwise, the bone can just slide away from the meat after 2-3 hours of cooking.
              I too brown well in oil on the stove-top. I brown all sides: top, bottom, sides, and ends as best as possible.
              When I get them in the pot for the braise, I make sure they're completely submerged in the cooking liquid. I also don't think it matters how they're positioned, I just happen to place them all bone side down.
              I've done it stove-top as well as in the oven. I prefer the even cooking the oven provides.

              I usually set aside 3 hours of braising at 275.
              I also like doing this with pork shanks, or when blade roast goes on sale.

              2 Replies
              1. re: porker

                Interesting porker, I know what you mean about the bone coming off, that sheet of connective tissue on the bottom does help keep it attached, but the way I've had it served in restaurants that I like best is just a as a rectangular pat on top of mashed something, no bones or rubbery bits just the soft breakable meat that has just a bit of resistance on the outside (which hopefully the browning will help with). On the ones I've made this time I removed the sheet of fat and silver skin from the top exposing the marbled meat on top, and then just pulled what I could off the bottom it pretty much came off in one sheet.

                1. re: rezpeni

                  First, I simply like bones.
                  Boneless ribeye? Fuggetaboutit, give me the steak with the biggest bone. Same with a pork chop. Boneless skinless chicken? Naw, give me bone-in and skin-on. Might not eat the bones or skin, but I appreciate it on the plate.

                  Second, I actually like that connective tissue next to the bone. When done right, great to gnaw on, kinda tendon-like. Even on grilled pork side ribs, I like to tear that stuff off with my teeth and enjoy...
                  So yeah, I like bone-in.

                  As I mentioned, the bones do contribute to this plate's consistency. If you don't want to serve the bones, at least include them in the braising process and remove before plating.

                  Let us know how your dish came out!

              2. Okay time to report back. To my mind this was pretty much perfection or close to it. The meat held up its shape on the outside due to the browning, but with the littlest pressure from the fork just came apart. The connective tissue was all broken down and incredibly soft, the large fat deposits between the meat have melted down and disappeared, the large pieces of the meat on top stayed intact, with two small brothers attached to both sides of the ribs, the bones just fell away when the pieces were lifted from the braising liquid. So from each rib you basically get one large bit and two smaller strips. To me definitely superior to the Babbo method of 2 hours at 375. The connective tissues and fat were far more broken down and luxurious and softer.

                Again this was 4 1 pound English cut ribs, browned in olive oil covered in salt and pepper, with a braise of softened onion, carrot, celery, garlic with thyme, rosemary, parsley, bay leaf, red wine, chicken stock, in a covered pan untouched on the bottom of the oven at 200 degrees for 5 hours. Hope this helps someone who goes looking through the archives in the future like I did!

                Only thing I think would kick this up even higher might be to marinate the meat overnight in the red wine with vegetables, then strain and use the wine as the braising liquid which with reheating the next day would make this a 3 day process, but honestly it was great as is out of the oven.

                Thanks for your help guys!

                10 Replies
                  1. re: rezpeni

                    Some things, like short ribs or some women, you just can't hurry {;-/)

                      1. re: rezpeni

                        Marinating meat before braising will not improve it. If you want to kick things up a bit, do what Daniel Boulud calls for in his legendary short rib recipe -- a lot of reducing!

                        Put two bottles of red wine in a nonreadctive pot. Bring up to simmer or light boil, and light afire until alcohol burns off. Reduce to about half. (pre-reduction)

                        Brown the ribs on all sides, then caramelize the mirepoix (lots of peeled shallots, leeks, garlic, sprigs of thyme, carrots, etc.) in the same pot. Add the ribs back to the pot with the mirepoix, add teh wine, then beef broth up to just 3/4 way up the ribs (do not cover all the way).

                        James McGee says to heat the oven to 275, but leave the lid of the pot slightly off just a crack to let steam escape. You do not want the liquid to boil, and releasing the steam pressure will prevent that (the evaporating liquid will keep the liquid temp just below boiling point.) Daniel Boulud recommends taking the pot out and skimming off the fat a few times during braising. Four hours is adquate. Yo do not want all the collagen to come out of the meat -- as it what gives it its silky texture.

                        When it's done, remove the ribs, then reduce the cooking liquid to about 2 or 3 cups -- reduce reduce reduce! Strain through a sieve and push down on the veggies to extract their juice.

                        I've taken his suggestion and served them on a bed of pureed potato-celery root. Cannot improve on that!

                        1. re: MartinDC

                          "Marinating meat before braising will not improve it."

                          On this jfood will have to strongly disagree.

                          1. re: jfood

                            I don't disagree. I mean you're taking a hunk of meat and cooking it in a highly flavored liquid to the point that it falls apart. There's no need to marinate it. A marinade does not soak all the way into the center of the meat and you're not doing any good by trying to tenderizing it.

                            Tell me this. Why do you marinate it and tell me what you think it adds. Obviously you're going to say "flavor" but I want more than that because I don't think it can add any more flavor that the braising liquid can.

                            1. re: HaagenDazs

                              which weighs more a pound of feathers or a pound of lead?

                              Jfood thinks it adds more flavor and others do not. C'est la vie.

                              If you like without, go for it, but jfood will continue with the process he likes. A beautiful world.

                              1. re: jfood

                                Just for the record Thomas Keller calls for marinating short ribs overnight with the red wine and veggies in his French Laundry cookbook... Don't get me wrong Daniel Boulud is the man but if Thomas Keller says to do something I'm positive there is a good (tasty) reason behind it... Afterall its Thomas Keller dude!

                                1. re: Iamclarkman

                                  ummmm...was this directed at jfood or did you reply to the wrong post? jfood is in the marinade overnight camp.

                        2. re: rezpeni

                          Thanks for the report. I just made the short ribs following a recipe on Epicurious (with parsnips, rosemary, and red wine). The sauce was UNBELIEVABLE... so delicious, but I was disappointed that the meat wasn't more tender. I browned it stove top, then it braised for 2 1/2 hours at 325. At that point, it was falling off the bone, but still too chewy/too much connective tissue remaining. I would definitely try the recipe again, because it was an A++ for flavor, but I also was looking for that break apart with a fork texture. Will try lower and slower next time.