Stove Top Short Rib Braise
Is it possible to braise short ribs without an oven? What kind of cookware would be needed? Is there any alternative to the dutch oven?
Also a tried and true delicious recipe would be appreciated. Thanks!
There are a LOT of links to previous discussions on short ribs and braising, including choice of cookware on this very thread page, below our posts.
Yes, you can braise on low heat, though indirect oven heat is preferable.
No oven? No dutch oven? No problem! A deep pan with a fairly tight fitting lid and a VERY low flame (burner setting for electric) will do the job nicely. Here's a couple of points:
You will need about two hours to get a good braise on short ribs, so plan ahead.
NEVER add cold liquid to a braise. The liquid you add, if any, should be at or very near the boiling point (except for wine or other flavoring liquids which are added in small amounts) once the braise has been initiated. If you do add a small amount of liquid that is cooler than the braising lliquid, bring the temperature of the braise up by increasing the burner heat, add the liquid and get things back to a simmer quickly, then reduce the heat.
You need a fairly deep pan, about twice as high on the sides as the height of your ribs, and a lid that is preferably shaped to allow for the condensation to drip back onto the meat as cooking progresses.
One method you could try is to prepare a braising liquid that includes things like chicken or beef stock, bits of fried bacon, onion, garlic, soy sauce, some beer or wine, and spices/herbs of your choice. It's fun to combine different ingredients but don't get too adventurous. Less is more when it comes to building a braising liquid. Cook the braising liquid by bringing it to a slow boil and allowing it to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes before introducing it to the ribs and avoid removing the lid from the braise any more often than necessary.
While the braising liquid is simmering, brown your ribs in a little oil and they should be ready for the liquid when they've browned to your liking. Remove the ribs from the pan, deglaze the pan with the braising liquid, then return the ribs to the pan to cook.
NEVER allow your braise temperature to fall below a slow simmer.
Good luck ... got some rice?
Just one more thing. Remember, you're braising the meat, not boiling it. Don't put more braising liquid in the pan than is necessary to maintain a moist heat (something about 1/4 the depth of the meat layer is plenty - less better) and keep your meat in a single layer in the pan; don't stack it up. If you have a pan that will just hold the meat, snuggly but not squeezed together, it'll work better. You will find some chefs/cooks that suggest using enough liquid to cover the meat; I disagree with that (e.g. what I posted earlier about "braising" vs "boiling")
That said, you don't want to allow the pan to cook down to the point of becoming dry. That'd be a disaster.
For stovetop braising, you should turn the meat over every 30-45 minutes to prevent overcooking the bottom. In oven braising, the higher the level of the liquid, the less turning needed, but turn at least once, to guard against the exposed upper area of the meat getting dried out.