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Nov 16, 2011 09:40 AM

Braised Short Ribs Problem

Made some short ribs last time - cooked at abt 290 for 3-3.5 hours. The ribs were fabulous; however, the problem was the sauce. Originally wine/broth combo came to about 1/3 to 1/2 of the rib surface. A little more liquid appeared later on in cooking process but then towards the end the liquid reduced, and became thicker and opaque in the pot. It was almost like the fat and broth emulsified as it was no longer clear. This meant that it was almost impossible to separate off the fat at the end. This happened the last time, too, and I thought maybe the liquid was just evaporating. I have a good pot - a Staub - and I used both parchment paper and foil this time to ensure I had a good seal. I"m just mystified.... could it be the gel from the bones or something???? This only happens with short ribs, not chuck or pork shoulder.

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  1. I'm not sure what happened, but I will say that that's a long time for that temperature and a parchment cover. I usually use the cover that goes with my coated cast iron, which provides a very strong seal.

    It could be your hunch that the gelatin from the bones are causing the unusual effect, but I would think that it would help to circumvent that by losing less liquid to evaporation.

    4 Replies
    1. re: katecm

      Thanks, katecm. I used the parchment and foil this time because previously when it happened I thought maybe I didn't have a tight enough seal with just the pot lid alone. But it didn't seem to make any difference either way.

      1. re: koolforkatz

        I also use a staub for my short ribs. I'm guessing you need more liquid/broth. I use more than a third to halfway up. I actually cover mine totally. I reduce both the burgundy and the broth beforehand. I don't care if this goes against conventional thoughts on braising. I love the braising liquid, and want as much of it as I can get. This allows me to easily scoop off the fat after it's chilled, and still have a lovely sauce.

        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          Thanks - maybe I'll try a bit more liquid next time. I like the idea of reducing beforehand - I've actually got a recipe somewhere that calls for that. I will try it again - I just love short ribs and braises too much to stop!

      2. re: katecm

        Parchment paper shouldn't have any bearing on time. The parchment paper is just there to slow down the reduction of the braising liquid.

        Just a couple things to think about:

        If the braising liquid is at anything more than a slight simmer, then any fat and impurities will be emulsified into the liquid.

        Make sure you bring the braise SLOWLY to a simmer on the stovetop before placing it in the oven. Doing this slowly will draw out the fat and impurities from the bones and meat, and then you can skim them from the liquid before placing it in the oven for a couple hours. Placing the pot to one side of the burner will also move all the fat and impurities to one side of the pot by creating a convection current, making it easier to skim.

        Consider skimming a couple times while the braise is in the oven as well.

        Personal opinion here, but I think doing a stovetop only braise using liquid to come halfway is okay because you are basting the meat periodically, but in the oven, I would make sure it is covered by liquid.

        Lastly, if you used wine in your braise (and I don't know if you did) I wouldn't use the foil. Wine can be acidic and react with the foil, imparting a metallic flavor to the braise.

      3. for braises i cover the meat most of the way with liquids and generally cook at a lower temp, like 250. it may take 5-6 hours that way, but i never plan to eat it same day. separate out the meat, chill the broth, scrape off the fat and reduce. never had a problem this way.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Great suggestions, ideas. I will definitely try more liquid next time - seems to be general consensus. For the foil, I had parchment paper between it and the ribs so the foil wouldn't have any contact with the food. And the ribs/liquid def didn't have a metallic taste. I only used the foil/paper combo to test whether my pot didn't have a tight enough seal.

          1. re: koolforkatz

            Here are two tips I've used to great success:

            Don't eat them the same day. Let them rest overnight and then skim off the fat. As a bonus, you get that great cooked wine smell twice!

            Cook them over low heat on your stovetop. I never have evaporation issues this way.

            And yes, maybe a touch more liquid so only a bit sticking out.

            Good luck!

        2. I would cover the meat with liquid (broth, veal stock, half wine/stock or whatever you choose) for sure.

          Also use a lot of aromatic veg (carrots, leaks, mushroom, onions and celery) to release flavour and more liquid.

          Cook between 270 to 350, just watch your time.

          I will be making it tomorrow I could take picture on a step by step if you want.

          1. So here what I did:

            1. brown short ribs
            2. Put in veggies (carrots, leeks, garlic, onion, and celery)
            3. Put back short ribs.
            4. Cover with veal stock and beef stock 60/40
            5. cook for 3 hours at 330

            picture below

            2 Replies
            1. re: ukjason

              Thanks for the great visuals. That's almost exactly what I do, except at lower temp. AND probably half the amount of liquid. Next time I will amp up the liquid.

              1. re: ukjason

                i also brown the veggies.

                bring the liquid to a simmer and then lower the heat, either stovetop or in low oven. i definitely cook for many more hours.