Short ribs + slow cooker meal… yes please!
This requires a bit of work up front but once it’s in the slow cooker you’re free!
Short ribs are definitely a special occasion meal for us, but they are so full of flavor that it’s worth splurging for from time to time (figure about $5/ pound of meat… 3 pounds feeds 4-6 people). We used 9 pounds for the crowd we were feeding and it worked out just about right for 12 adults and 4 little kiddos. It really depends who’s eating. Hungry eaters = 3/4 pound per person. Lighter eaters = 1/2 pound per person. 🙂
The first question my guest asked me was: What is a SHORT rib anyway? (They thought it sounded kind of rude) 🙂
Short ribs are usually taken from the chuck cut of beef (you’ve probably heard of a “chuck roast”). Chuck is taken from between the neck and shoulder blade of the cow. Usually chuck is an inexpensive cut for a roast or steaks. When the chuck cut is used for short ribs it is cut into small rectangles or squares, each of which contain a piece of the rib bone (hence the “rib” portion of “short ribs”). They MUST be cooked slowly as they are a very tough cut of meat. They end up being fall-apart tender if you do it right and they are SUPER flavorful as they have a good layer of fat in them. You can see an uncooked picture of them below!
Doing some prep really helps out here. Take your short ribs out of the fridge and put them on a large sheet of foil for easy clean up. They need to sit for about 20-25 minutes to take the chill off before you sear them. Sear just means browning meat quickly over high heat. Searing keeps all the juices inside of the meat. Usually the meat is finished off at a lower temperature after the searing is done.
Chop 1 large yellow onion and chop 3 cloves of garlic. You can put these into your slow cooker without the heat on. Add just 1 tsp of salt to these. The recipe calls for two teaspoons but we found this was too salty so we tried it with just one teaspoon. This was much better.
Click on the first picture below to see the close ups of these pictures:
For a “How-to” on chopping onions click here. You can click on the ‘VIDEO’ tab for more help.
Measure out 1 cup of dry white wine (a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio will work) and 1 cup of cooled hot coffee. You will need this ready to go after you sear the meat. Put a large pan over fairly high heat. Season your short ribs with salt and pepper on the side without the bone. After 1-2 minutes add in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and swirl it around the pan to coat it. Sear your meat on ALL six sides. You may have to do this in batches if you can’t fit all your meat in the pan at once. It is better to not crowd the meat so opt for batches if you have to crowd them in to fit them. They will get a better sear if you don’t squish them in. Use a tongs to do the flipping and to remove them when they’re all browned. Put them on a large plate but leave the pan on the burner.
Here’s the pictures:
Pour the 1 cup of wine and 1 cup of coffee to the hot pan. It will smoke and bubble up so be careful! Use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan for a minute or so. Then, leave the mixture over the high heat for about 3 minutes to let it reduce a bit. This will allow some of the water content to evaporate and will leave you with a more flavorful, thicker sauce. It’s an important step! Take it off the heat but leave it in the pan for now.
Put your short ribs into the slow cooker right on top of the onions/garlic mixture. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of chili powder and 1 teaspoon dried oregano right over the short ribs. Pour the reduced sauce over the short ribs (try to pour a little over each one).
Put the cover on and cook it on HIGH for 3 1/2 hours. Then, take the cover off and cook 45 minutes more.
You can take the short ribs out, strain the sauce, and allow the fat to separate if you like. You will need to let it sit for a bit to allow it to separate. Then just scrape the fat off the top and put it in a gravy boat to serve! You can serve the onions in a bowl or just put them down on a platter and put the short ribs on top. If you are making up individual plates just put down a little onion, a couple of short ribs on top, and a drizzle of sauce to finish it off. The sauce makes a great gravy for mashed potatoes if you make them as a side dish!
Here’s the official recipe!