Over the years I have experimented with different ways to make short ribs, stepping away from the traditional red wine braise with a lot of onions, carrots, herbs, etc. I have made some with white wine and mustard; "Asian-style" with star anise and soy sauce; even just a couple of cans of Coke and peppercorns. All turned out fantastic.
But, if someone had handed me a container of apple cider and a few short ribs and said, "trust me, these will be some of the best short ribs you have ever had," I would never have believed them.
Until this past week...when Fellow Foodie decided to get "crazy" with some leftover apple cider, garlic, and a bunch of aromatics. As I had never attempted before, he decided to go more of the sweet/savory route, infusing the not-all-so-common-with-beef flavor agents, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
This was complete "uncharted territory" for me. Cinnamon and nutmeg...with beef? And apple cider too? Half of me was thinking, "What IS he thinking?" and the other half of me was focused on how this could be the next best recipe of all time.
And, I have to say, this IS now one of my top three short rib dishes I have EVER HAD. All of the flavors are reminiscent of Fall and Winter months, and the sweetness from the apple cider slightly caramelizes on the beef, creating a wonderful, flavorful crust. All of the other ingredients just seem to fall into place during the overnight marinade and the final braising process. This is a must try recipe before February is over. It would be best served with some yummy mashed potatoes or parsnips and roasted baby carrots.
Hats off to Fellow Foodie and his untraditional approach to the short rib. My current obsession for this fabulous dish is forever indebted in your unbelievable creativity.
- 12-16 beef short ribs, "short cut" or 8-10 regular cut beef short ribs
- 1 gallon apple juice or apple cider
- 1/2 C honey
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 1/4 C whole black peppercorns
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1tsp ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients and pour over short ribs; marinate overnight in a large bag, pot, bowl, or baking vessel.
Next day: preheat oven to 350F.
When ready, remove short ribs from marinade and pat dry (save marinade - do not discard); season generously with salt and pepper.
Place a roasting pan over two stove burners (or do this in batches in a saute pan) and turn heat on to high; add olive oil to lightly coat bottom of pan and begin adding each short rib; brown on each side (about 4 minutes a side) until all ribs are browned.
Add reserved marinade to the pan and bring to a boil on stove top; once boiling, remove roasting pan from stove and tent with foil; place pan in oven* for about 4-6 hours, checking often**.
* This recipe can be done in a crock pot/slow cooker or on the stove top as well. Make sure to brown off the ribs first in either case.
**NOTE: "checking often" refers to watching if the temperature is too high or too low. If the liquid is bubbling any more than a simmer, turn the oven temperature down to 325F. If there is no rolling bubbles in the liquid, turn the oven up to 375F.
And, after waiting those 4-6 hours, the ribs are extremely tender and smell AH-MAZING.
Remove the ribs from the pan and allow to cool slightly before serving, if you can wait.
The aromas of apple, cinnamon, and garlic are intoxicating when taking a bite of these luscious short ribs. The "crunchy" outside of the rib, flavored with the essence of brown sugar and cider, are texture-ly heaven-ly with the moist, tender, slow cooked goodness of the meat closest to the bone. I can honestly say I am addicted to these ribs, and I think I can say the same for our dinner guests that night too as not one plate came back with any food on it. And the leftovers are even more divine.
The creation of these ribs led to more culinary creativity that night, and perhaps a grilled cheese with these short ribs, sliced apples, and a melted sharp cheddar cheese will end up on this blog soon. Until then, enjoy this wonderful recipe. Cheers and enjoy!