Much like my previous Picanha post this is more about how to cook an excellent and fairly unknown cut of beef, rather than preparing a full meal. The beef in question is Peter Hannan's Jacob's Ladder, more commonly known as beef short ribs. It is a wonderful cut and cheap as chips, but like most cheaper cuts it needs a bit more time (but not much effort) for the texture and flavour to develop. The ribs are taken from the plate of the cow meaning there is a thick layer of meat with lots of connective tissue and fat. Don't let that put you off though as over time the connective tissue will break down and give a fantastic gelatinous texture with maximum flavour. The fat will also ensure the joint stays moist and we all know about the advantages of cooking meat on the bone. Short ribs are a firm favourite amongst the BBQ community who smoke them low and slow but you need to have a bit of experience, a smoker or at the very least a kettle style BBQ. This method much like our salt baked salmon is a fool proof way of ensuring you get a perfect result every time.
- Beef Short Ribs
- 6 Shallots
- 2 Litres Beef Stock
- Braai Salt 2 Tablespoons (regular salt will also do)
- Cracked Black Pepper 2 Teaspoons
- Horseradish Sauce 3 Tablespoons
- American Style Mustard 3 Tablespoons
- Olive oil 2 Tablespoons
Start by preheating your oven to 220ºc (along with an oven dish), chop the shallots into 1 cm circles and and place in the dish when it has come up to temp. Before seasoning with the Braai Salt and Pepper ensure the meat is at room temperature to ensure even cooking.
Make a bed with the shallots, place the meat on top, pour in the stock then tightly cover with foil and place in the oven. The idea is to cook the ribs for 15 minutes at a very high temp (220ºc) then to reduce the heat to around 120ºc and let it blip away for 2hrs. After 1 hour remove from the oven just to check that enough stock remains in the roasting dish. If you notice the onions starting to catch simply add some boiling water. After 2 hrs if there are a few caramalised onions then all the better, this will make for an excellent gravy.
After 2 hrs remove the meat and let it rest for 15 minutes. Where you take the dish from here is up to you! If you intend to serve the ribs with a gravy then spoon out some of the excess fat from the roasting dish and pour in the flavoursome resting juices. Place the dish on a hob, mix well and bring to a simmer. Judge the consistency by adding water or reducing depending on your preference. To add extra flavour you could add a dollop of horseradish, dijon mustard or even transfer to a blender to produce a luxuriously smooth gravy.
Having said this I didn't bother mainly as i'm not a huge gravy fan, so I went an alternate route. I love American mustard (you know the luminous yellow hotdog type) which I mixed with some horseradish and the pairing was excellent. The tanginess of the American mustard with the background heat of the horseradish complemented the ribs perfectly. I simply served it with some steamed asparagus for a carb free meal.
The ribs are so versatile on how they can be served. They are a perfect alternative to a costly rib roast as an easy, cheap sunday lunch with gravy and mashed potato. You could go mexican style and shred the meat for tacos or fajitas or for a light supper they would be perfect with some homemade creamy coleslaw. So give it a go and experiment a bit.