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Dec 27, 2009 10:55 PM

Short ribs too fatty – is there a fix?

I used Mark Bittman's recipe for braising short ribs tonight to pretty disgusting results. After more than two hours braising stovetop at very low heat in beef stock and wine, these ribs are tender but extremely fatty – the fat is visible and chewy within the meat itself. Not a good chewy – a resistant, greasy chewy.

Ribs are resting now and will be refrigerated overnight. They are being served tomorrow night for dinner. I need to reheat – can I extend that reheating into a second braising? Will this fat melt and get softer with time and gentle heat?

I am braising about 4 pounds of bone-in short ribs from Whole Foods. It's good product – I'm just not certain of my technique.

Any help is very welcome!

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  1. I usually braise for longer than that - 3 hours at least. I suspect that allows more of the fat to render. So, I would definitely reheat it and braise for another hour or so - either on the stove top as you have done, or bring to a boil and stick into a 325 degree oven. When I make short ribs, sometimes there is visible fat. I don't like it and don't eat it, my husband does.

    1. Hate to say it, but I don't buy short ribs when there is a visible layer of fat embedded within the meat; to me, it's a travesty to pay good money for big chunks or layers of fat that I cannot trim away without ruining the meat and believe me, I work them over pretty good before seasoning and searing. It's bad enough to pay for it and then cut it away, too; which is why I really only buy them when they are on sale. You may be stuck with that particular layer of fat and should cut it away and discard when the ribs are ready to eat.

      1. "the fat is visible and chewy within the meat itself. Not a good chewy – a resistant, greasy chewy."

        From this excerpt, it sounds like you need a longer braise. Its not uncommon for short rib recipes to call for 3-6 hours of braising. Depends on the temperature and desired final texture. You sound like you would prefer the texture of a longer braise.

        Over a longer braise, the fat should partially melt out of the meat, assuming sufficiently high temperature (I'm assuming you held it at or at least near a simmer, which is fine). At any rate, it shouldn't really be all that chewy.

        Some of the fat is going to stay in the meat even with a longer braise. Its texture should be more innocuous than you describe, but if it bothers you to have it in there, your only real option is to cut it out. Won't look as good as a bone-in short rib, but you could shred the remaining meat and reform and plate however you like.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cowboyardee

          its not the fat that is chewy, its the nearby connective tissue, this will soften and more fat will render with adequate braising. it shoulf be fork tender when done. keep the temp low to avoid toughening.

        2. Definitely a longer braise as others have said, then let it rest chilled overnight and remove most of the fat that floats to the top and solidifies.

          1. Thanks for the advice, all. I got up this morning and basically started the process all over again – onion/celery/carrot in pot, deglaze with wine/stock, boil. In went the ribs and they are happily bubbling away at 325 in the oven. They'll stay there for a couple more hours and hopefully do what they should do.

            Happy New Year!

            1 Reply
            1. re: kdeadline99

              I've read a handful of recipes that finish the short ribs by removing them from the braising liquid and broiling/roasting to get a crispy exterior. This might not be a bad idea with particularly fatty short ribs to provide some textural contrast, and because crispy fat seems more appetizing than soft fat (ie. bacon).