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braised short ribs...trim the fat?

I am going to make braised short ribs for the first time, using a recipe I found on this site...just one question...should I trim the fat on the ribs?

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  1. No! The fat is where the flavour comes from! Cook the short ribs according to the recipe and let it cool then skim the fat off the top. I've found that to be the easiest way to remove the large amount of fat that comes out.

    Good luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: zpatwa

      I agree with not trimming fat, though I don't wait for it to cool, just to separate. I use a very wide spoon to skim much of the fat off the surface (usually almost half and inch deep).

    2. if there is any really really hard fat you can trim it. but the fat is critical in a braise.....

      1. I'm in the minority...I always trim off any easily accessible globs or layers of hardened fat if there is any on the outside of the meat or bone...who wants to eat that???! yuk! However, where there's any fat embedded in the meat itself, I leave it alone because that's the marbling that you need. And, of course, you can always skim off fat from the sauce after the meat has cooked but it grosses me out to see chunks of fat on the outside of the rib meat.

        1. The reason people trim fat is they are not braising the meat, avoiding eating the fat, causing severe smoking, or any of a number of reasons. Braising "trims" the fat wahile it cooks.

          When you sear the meat it will add a nice level of fat to the pan to help with the color and then when it is in the oven for the 3+ hours the fat will release from the meat. Then when you chill over night the fat will congeal on the top of the pot. Before the reheat process it is important to skim as much of the congealed fat off the top of the dish before reheating.

          So the answer to your question is "yes" but the "trimming" does not occur with the raw meat before braising, but with the finished product richt before the reheat.


          2 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            thanks for all the replies. jfood especially since I am using your recipe! bought these on sale and am ready for the three day process...can't wait to try them Tuesday for dinner!

            1. re: noogitlvr

              take your time on the fat removal with a butter knife and spoon. Enjoiy

          2. Trim the Fat?? The answer is NO! If there is enough (excessive) fat on the ribs that you would even consider trimming them...take them back, get a refund, and shop elsewhere! ~~~ Intramuscular fat (marbling) however is very, very desirable...

            Fun! & Enjoy!

            1. No.

              The whole point of using short ribs *is* for the fat. If you want something leaner, then might as well buy a chuck roast or an eye of round.

              1. I am in limbo here...hopefully I can get some advice fast! Made the ribs according to recipe....cooled overnight, removed the fat and just reheated. the "broth" tasted a bit thin...and is thin, the meat is falling off the bone. The meat just needs a bit of salt and pepper...however the sauce needs.....something.....It is on the stove to reduce a bit but was hoping I could get a suggestion???

                7 Replies
                1. re: noogitlvr

                  First, which recipe did you use?

                  Next - are you reducing the sauce after removing the meat? I tend to prefer to do it that way. You can check to see if it needs some salt, and/or add in a little more red wine/port and reduce some more.

                  1. re: noogitlvr

                    Definitely remove the meat, strain the sauce, then cook it down til it covers the back of a spoon, at least.

                    1. re: mcf

                      Used jfoods recipe...straining sauce now...just tastes really sweet. Maybe a bad choice of wine..or maybe I should have omitted the sugar?

                      1. re: noogitlvr

                        Candied beef is a Very Bad Idea, IMO. You could add stock to cut the sugar, reduce it til thicker, then check the seasoning.

                        1. re: mcf

                          good call...added stock to the "gravy" and it already tastes better...but what about the meat...should I add it back to the pan? Thanks in advance...

                          1. re: noogitlvr

                            Once you are happy with the sauce, and about ready to serve, I would add the meat to the sauce and reheat.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              sorry for the late reply, but jfood thinks MMRuth, as always, is spot on.

                  2. I always braise on day one.
                    When finished
                    Pour the liquid into a big jar in the refrigerator over night
                    Remove the congealed fat in the jar on day two
                    On day two reduce that liquid to a sauce and serve with the reheated short ribs
                    My favorite way to reheat them is on a grill outside

                    I find the ribs taste better on day two anyway

                    1. I know I'm totally in the minority here, and you've already made your ribs, but I just have to comment that EVERY recipe I've read for braised short ribs calls for the excess fat to be trimmed.

                      Now hear me out - I love fat. I'm the cook who doesn't trim my steaks of the 1/2" or more of fat all around them since I love the taste of the chargrilled stuff, even tho I know it's not healthy. Short ribs are a whole different game and have sufficient marbling to flavor the dish throughout the meat. The fat the recipes want you to trim off is the stuff on the outside of the meat, not the interior, otherwise, you're ripping apart the meat before it even gets cooked. Mainly it's because to degrease the sauce / gravy while it's hot is a painstaking process. And even waiting until the next day, it's solidfied on the top of the dish and you can spoon it off while still cold, there will still be some solidified fat throughout the sauce, that'll melt down when heated. I have cooked them enough times to know when my sauce is too greasy, or not. It definitely helps the finished product when the ribs are trimmed of the EXCESS fat.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        In total agreement except for the "I love fat" statement, LOL...sure enough, this cut of beef has enough marbling embedded to suffice...anything on the outside is fair game to be trimmed before cooking and should be... I've done this for years and have always had a great end product, with LESS sat fat. And I refuse to even buy short ribs that have a big old hunk of fat on them...why pay good money for crappy fat?

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            of course jfood agrees it depends. if it is a big old hunk it comes of, but if the butcher did a good job of trimming...

                            1. re: jfood

                              I rarely need to trim mine b/c the meat counter at one of my grocery stores always does a great job of trimming them for me.

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                I've also never found short ribs with big external blobs of fat in my stores, just lots of marbling. I probably wouldn't buy them if they had thick external fat.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  Same here, I've never seen short ribs with blobs of fat.