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braising short ribs: English-cut vs flanken-cut

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I typically braise short ribs using English-cut ribs -- cut parallel to the bone so each piece is a 4x2x2 inch block. This time, I need to order ribs in advance, and though I will do my best to specify English-cut, it's 50-50 that I'll end up with flanken-cut (language issues and poor customer service -- don't ask).

Do flanken-cut ribs -- cut through the bone Korean-style so each piece is a thin strip with 3 or 4 oval slices of rib bone -- behave the same way when braising?

Which cut do you prefer for braising?

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  1. Only cooked the flanken-cut once...I prefer the English-Cut... Out of habit mostly..
    If I remember correctly the flanken-cut cooked up Ok...
    I rarely see the flanken-cut around here...
    Given a choice I would stay with the English-Cut......

    1. I wish we had flanken cuts available in our area. You have to search them out in ethnic markets because in the megamarts it's only English cuts

      It's the same meat and both braise very well. Being that the flanken cut is thinner it may affect the cooking time. The nice thing about braised English style short ribs is the nice rectangle hunk of melt in your mouth meat that makes for nice presentation.

      1. i think it is surely true that most recipes for braised short ribs specify a preference for the english cut--some go so far as to say "not flanken." a very small number treat flanken as the first choice. for the sort of braised ribs that have become pop pop popular in the last 6-8 years, i do go with the majority. on the other hand, you can marinate and grill the flanken--perhaps more successfully. if a big bag of flanken showed up on my doorstep, i'd raise my voice in thanks, mix up a marinade, and check my charcoal supply.

        1. English cut work better for longer braising times. If your flanken cut are still on the bone, I would tenderize them first, (some Koreans rub with a kiwi) before braising, but they won't take as long to cook , and are usually still medium to med well, like bulgogi. Also many are marinated for a while, which will also help tenderize.

          But if you're looking for a hearty dish with hunks of beef in a deep sauce, english cuts are the best. No need to marinade ahead of time, since you'll be braising them for 2 + hours.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            I never see flanken cut at the markets I go to, sure wish I did, I love Filipino ribs, and I have great recipe and would love to make these. Interesting news about the kiwi, never knew that. I do save the English cuts for my John Besh recipe. Ah... soon the weather will be cool, and it's paparadelle and ribs for this gal!

            1. re: chef chicklet

              Do you have any asian supermarkets in your area? Most asian supermarkets I've been to (in California) sell the flanken cut of short ribs. They usually call it "Korean short ribs".

          2. Folks

            A slight tangent if I may - but anyone know where the term "English cut" originates from? Reason for asking is that, generally, we don't have short ribs on offer in the UK.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              Maybe it comes/came from differing styles of butchering...Mediterranean Style or the English style...or one of the umpteen regional variations of these....I really don't know.

              1. re: Harters

                The beef board doesn't call them English style, they are either beef short ribs, or beef flanken style short ribs.

                I think that term may be leftover from when we all had neighborhood butchers. And it was a way to distinguish the cuts, some from the chuck and some from the short plate. And I believe the term flanken was a German term, so to distinguish the two, they called the other cut, "English". Too bad you don't get short ribs in the UK. I can't imagine that chefs like Gordon Ramsay doesn't have access to them? That would be a shame!!

              2. I braised flanken this winter just as I did the regular ones (what everyone here is calling English cut). They were delish, but I do recall taking them out a bit earlier than usual.

                I've never heard of English cut either (live in Canada). I didn't think the English had short ribs and Harters just confirmed that here. Do you think they were around years and years ago and fell out favour, Harters? Just curious.

                4 Replies
                1. re: cinnamon girl

                  It's possible. I have an e-friend who is a butcher and I've mentioned short ribs to him in the past. He hadnt a clue what I was talking about, even when I showed him pictures. IIRC, he said that over here these bits would remain on the main rib bone, when it was sold.

                  They are definitely on my "to eat" list for whenever is our next trip across the pond (hopefully this time next year).

                  1. re: Harters

                    Donald Russell online do a boneless beef rib trim and also a rack of beef ribs. I have eaten both and can vouch that both are damn tasty. The rib trim is fantastic slow braised. The pieces are approx. 6"x1"x2". The rib trim is £6.00 for 450g, they often have it on offer for £4.25ish.
                    It would be worth it if you can't wait until your trip and can't find a butcher to cut it for you.

                    Disclaimer: This is my first post however I have no links to Donald Russell. I browse the boards, I have cooked professionally for over 25 years if I can help a fellow food lover out I may post more often.

                    1. re: PaulaUK

                      Thanks - that would be a rare reasonable pricing from Russell. Last time I bought fillet steaks I needed a second mortgage :-)

                      1. re: PaulaUK

                        Welcome to CH, PaulaUK!

                  2. They pretty much behave the same way, but for convenience and presentation, I prefer the English cut too. However, if the flanken cut is all I can get, I deal with it. Never had to change the recipe.

                    1. Flanken ribs are generally intended to be marinated and then grilled. A marinade of soy sauce, onions, garlic, kiwi, green onions, and sugar is used to flavor and tenderize them. They are then grilled to a medium or medium well. They are tender and very flavorable. Since they are cooked through the grain it works. Whole shortribs couldn't be cooked this way. . .so, therefore, they are braised until tender.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: primebeefisgood

                        You've just described "bul gogi" Korean short ribs and they're mighty tasty!!!

                        1. re: Phurstluv

                          Actually the Korean short rib dish is called Galbi (or Kalbi) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galbi). Bulgogi is boneless beef and may come from many different cuts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgogi). All the Galbi I've had has used flanken cut short ribs but some Korean cooks will use "English" cut ribs and open up the meat as if your were doing a roulade (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kor...)

                        2. re: primebeefisgood

                          Yes they are delicious prepared this way and lucky for me, easier to find. But I wouldn't go so far as saying they're "generally intended" to be cooked this way. Flanken's been around for years and years in Jewish cuisine and it isn't grilled. Isn't "flanken" a German word? It strikes me as possibly part of "middle European" cooking . . . Korean ribs just happen to be more popular now (in North America anyway; can't speak for Germany).

                          1. re: cinnamon girl

                            Flanken are indeed a part of mitteleuropaische cooking. As a kid they were always slow-cooked, in soup, or "beef in the pot" or such. So it was eye-opening for me to find them used for that delicious dish, bulgogi!

                            1. re: sea97horse

                              Thanks seahorse. When I first realized that the Korean ribs were flanken and grilled, I was surprised too. What does "paische" mean?

                              At any rate it's all delicious: their meaty chewiness in Korean cooking and those long slow braises. My mum also used it or shank to make great soups.

                              1. re: cinnamon girl

                                Actually, the Koreans tend to marinate them for a while, and also rub with kiwi, which helps to tenderize them further, hence a quick cooking is necessary as to not overcook, and they still have some chew, but not like a larger short rib, which definitely needs time to be braised to break down the connective tissues.

                                Bul gogi is one of my latest obessions, that I can't get enough of, will probably make some next week, since now I'm craving them, and costco carries a decent brand, now I have two packages. We just grill and eat - real easy!

                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                  thanks for the good info. "Chewiness" was the wrong word . . . I meant the way they gently cling to the bone a bit (as in a proper bbq), as opposed to falling off the bone as in a braise. I also think you get a more meaty - or beefy - taste with the Korean style . . . hence, "meaty chewiness" . . . lol

                                  1. re: cinnamon girl

                                    Right, exactly, and I made them the other night, and my mother-in-law, who's visiting and a gourmet, LOVED them.

                                    And I was manning the grill, not my usual place, and I did about 12 minutes total, turning once, over a med-hi fire. Just wonderful, even my boys devoured them.

                        3. David, would it help if you brought pictures along so you could say "Like this, not like this"?

                          1. I was reading a short rib recipe yesterday that called for Kosher stye short ribs. Anyone know what that means? I think it was in Frank Stitt's Italian cookbook.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MMRuth

                              Would that be flanken . . . as mentioned earlier flanken's long been used in Jewish cooking. Of course they'd still have to go through the same procedure as other meats to be deemed kosher.

                            2. Time to answer my own question. I ended up being able to do a direct comparison since I ended up with a mix of English-cut and flanken-cut ribs. (I requested English-cut in advance, then decided I needed more when I went to pick them up and could get only flanken-cut on the spot.)

                              Roasted 45 minutes and then braised for 3 hours in a soy-Shaoxing-ginger-scallion-star anise-cinnamon-brown sugar mixture, both cuts held their shape but the bones loosened entirely on some pieces of each cut. The English cut were prettier to serve and held together better, but the taste and texture were the same. The nod goes to English cut, but I wouldn't change the recipe at all if only flanken were available.

                              1. English cut and cooked up in my pressure cooker. Flavor is much better than a slow braise. It seems richer and deeper. They are invaluable appliances winter and summer and "greener" to use, using less energy, keeping a kitchen cool in hot weather and the speed and ease cannot be beat. Those of you who may be afraid of blow-ups, get a contemporary version and make sure your gasket is in good condition. UL has made it a condition that a pressure cooker by design, cannot be opened until all pressure is released.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Candy

                                  That's a good point about pressure cookers being "greener" than the oven, Candy. Now I'm thinking of taking the plunge. And like you I don't like to turn the oven on in summer. What's UL?