Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 3, 2009 03:57 AM

Can I use a big pot or deep skillet instead of a dutch oven to make short ribs?

Reading some of the recipes recently posted for short ribs gave me the idea to try cooking them for the first time. However, I don't have a Dutch oven as I'm not much of a cook, hence my question. Can I use a pot or maybe a deep skillet instead?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. you want the shortribs to be at least halfway submerged in the liquid with a tight-fitting lid on your vessel. those are the parameters. braises are very forgiving.

    1. The simple answer is yes, but more accurately would depend on how the short ribs will be cut, large sized or thin (flanken style). You need a vessel that allows the braising liquid to cover the short ribs. If you have a deep sided lasagna pan, a casserole dish or a roasting pan.....all would work fine. If they do not come with covers, you need to cover tightly with foil.

      Most commercial kitchens make this type of dish in large roasting pan or brazier pans. A dutch oven is thicker and heavier, which translates to better and more consistent heat, which means less chance for burning.....more so for use on stove tops. Oven baking rarely has issues with burning @ moderate temperatures.

      You could use a disposable deep sided foil pan if you want to as well.....the kind they sell in supermarkets for turkey roasting, rectangular or oval, depending on the amount of short ribs you will be making. If this is the route you take, I suggest doubling up on the pans or using a sturdy sheet pan underneath.

      3 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        I don't recommend braising your short ribs in a disposable pan, the pans burn easily, especially when you need to have the temp at least medium high to get a good crust. You could sear the meat in a skillet then add it to the disposable pan with your liquid for the oven.

        1. re: Cherylptw


          You brown in the skillet, deglaze, then transfer and braise in the foil pan.......I tend to give people the benefit of doubt to basic cooking methods. You could definitely braise with the foil pans in the oven, but browning/searing the short ribs is not possible.

      2. Without having seen your recipe, I have to say that short ribs are best when braised in the oven, so will your deep pot fit? How deep is the skillet? What's it made from? Does it have a lid? Is it oven-worthy? As long as everything fits, ribs, stock, vegetables; you could even use a roasting pan with foil for a lid in a pinch. A dutch oven is optimal for long slow braising but your skillet sounds like a possibility.

        1. Is this the recipe?

          If it is, then I wouldn't use foil as a cover, as the long cooking time will cause the aluminum to react with the acid in the wine (and the salt, to an extent).

          I do a 35 minute lasagna with a foil cover and occasionally I have issue with reactivity with that. I definitely wouldn't cover something acidic that's going to cook for more than two hours with foil.

          With the wine in this, I probably wouldn't cook this in seasoned cast iron either- neither a seasoned dutch oven nor a skillet. The author doesn't specify, but I'd be willing to bet that they're using an enamel coated Le Creuset style dutch oven.

          When you're working with tomatoes, wine or other acids you really want to avoid reactive materials like aluminum or seasoned iron.

          If you don't have enameled covered iron, stainless steel is your best bet, although it won't distribute the heat quite as well. To help regulate the temperature a bit, you might want to put a cookie sheet on the shelf underneath the pot. The cookie sheet will insulate the bottom of the pot from some of the radiant heat and the food should cook more evenly.

          10 Replies
          1. re: scott123

            Put a piece of parchment paper under the foil to prevent reactivity. This also keeps any cheese from sticking to the foil.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Parchment paper under the foil.... sounds good!

            2. re: scott123

              After reading all the replies, I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even realize that the short ribs would/could/should be cooked in the oven...I just assumed they get cooked on the stove top. (this is the loosey goosey recipe I was going to use: Dredged in flour, s&p, browned in oil or lard in a dutch oven, then covered about halfway with broth or stock and a few good sloshes of decent red wine. Throw in a couple of bay leaves and a quartered onion and cook low and slow for several hours until tender). I definitely can't put my pots in the oven but the skillet is ok up to 400+ degrees but has a lid with a hole for steam to escape which obviously then wouldn't be akin to a tight fitting lid as noted above. I do have several of the aluminum lasagna pans, as well as a roasting pan with a lid, but that would be too big to use. So, in light of everyone's replies, I'm thinking my best bet would be to try to borrow a dutch oven to try the recipe and if it's a success, buy one for myself. I just hate to load up on kitchenware with the limited storage space that I have especially when I don't cook that often. Thanks all for the advice.

              1. re: zook

                generally short ribs start stove top and then are moved to the oven for the braising. that is, one browns the meat and cooks down selected veggies --and likely the wine--stove top and then pitches the covered works into a slow oven. it is best, i think, if you use the same vessel all the way thru. this argues against a supermarket disposable pan. if that's the way you have to go, get all the goody out of the pan you browned in before swapping vessels. deglaze, then dump.

                1. re: zook


                  Welcome to the world of braising where "bad" cuts of meat become the glory of low and slow. Jfood loves braises and has 10-20 pounds of short ribs frozen in individual portions in the freezer.

                  A few points on this post:

                  - jfood always does his braises in the oven
                  - Braises NEVER go to 400 degrees. Save yourself trouble and just throw the ingredients out before you start. 300 degrees maximum.
                  - As long as the vessel can accompany the meats plus the liquid covering as completely as possible, at 275-300 degrees a store bought throw-away may be OK for your first attempt. Please be careful with something to support it though
                  - That recipe does not sound all that good. It sounds like a low beef stew versus a short rib braise. A few sloshes of wine sounds way too light. jfood uses wine:stock at a 3:2 ratio. 50:50 is as low as he would recommend. Likewise a bay leaf and half an onion in that recipe sounds, well, not that creative or flavorful.

                  Good luck and let the boards know how you did.

                  1. re: jfood

                    Zook, before you get started, you might want to look at the thread devoted to Jfood's fine recipe, to which he modestly refrained from linking:

                    1. re: greygarious

                      When I first read JFood's recipe when it was originally posted, I thought it overwhelming and too much time and effort, but now, after further consideration, will give it a go. Just have to find those three days to get started on it. Thanks again to all for the help with this project. I will definitely report back after the attempt is made :-)

                      1. re: zook

                        You don't really need three days. You can marinate them early in the day and remove them when you are ready to start cooking. I don't think it needs to marinate the entire 12 hours. If you are looking at doing it over a weekend, you can marinate them Saturday morning and cook in the afternoon. The next day, all you have to do is remove the fat, heat it up, reduce the sauce and prepare the sides. It's not as much work as it looks.

                  2. re: zook

                    If I were you I'd just braise on the stovetop using one of your pots or pans.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      I usually do braises on the stovetop, less frequently in the oven. It depends on how much attention I want to give it, as for some reason, I feel the need to check on pots that are on the stovetop more often. The even heating of the oven makes it nearly foolproof.

                2. You can definitely use your roasting pan, assuming it's not too large for the amount of ribs you're braising. I often use a roasting pan when I'm braising a whole brisket in the oven. Instead of using the roasting pan cover, just cover your roasting pan with heavy duty foil. It'll be just fine.