Beef short ribs: why they are one of the best British beef cuts
Full of flavour, easy to cook, inexpensive – it’s hardly surprising that beef short ribs are one of the most popular British beef cuts at the moment. And the great thing about them is they are one of the most versatile cuts of beef. Smoked, slow cooked, cooked on the BBQ, your options are endless, and unlike more expensive cuts of meat, such as sirloin steak or beef fillet, it’s hard to get the cooking wrong if you follow a few simple tips.
So, today, we’ll take a look at why short ribs could be the perfect choice for your next meal.
What are beef short ribs?
If you’ve ever been confused by the different types of beef ribs available, you aren’t the only one! Part of the problem is that common cuts can be labelled differently depending on where you shop or even where you live in the country.
Take spare ribs and short ribs. Spare ribs are taken from the cow’s rib section and are most often associated with barbecued beef ribs. And while we know them as ‘spare ribs’, their real name is beef back ribs!
Short ribs are taken from the short plate between the brisket and flank. And contrary to the name, they aren’t always short (they get their name because they are from the short plate) but can be cut to various different sizes and in some cases can be really large.
The bones in short ribs tend to be almost straight and have about 1-2 inches of meat on top, opposed to the meat between the bones you get with spare ribs. And while they are a tougher cut of meat than back ribs, if cooked correctly, they have an amazing beefy flavour.
Are they a healthy option to add to my diet?
While we would never recommend eating short ribs every day, they do provide a good amount of nutrition. With less saturated fat than cooked back ribs, short ribs are rich in vitamins such as B-12 and B-6 as well as also being a good source of zinc and selenium.
Short ribs are also carbohydrate free and high in protein with a 3.5oz serving containing 29g of protein, or more than half of your recommended daily intake. And because they are an animal source of protein, they are a ‘complete source of protein’ providing your body with all the essential amino acids it needs.
Tips for buying quality beef short ribs
If you are want tender beef that melts in the mouth, then the first thing you need to do is ensure you buy a quality piece of meat from a reputable meat supplier. Here are a few things to consider.
- The meat should be well-marbled
- Look out for meaty ribs, which are firmly attached to the bone
- Make sure there is a thin layer of fat
- Avoid anything with a huge amount of surface fat.
At IMS of Smithfield, we only believe in supplying excellent quality meat, which is why our short ribs are sourced from grass-fed Limousin Beef. Exceptionally tender, this beef is full of flavour and its lower fat content than in other beef breeds means it is also lean. If you buy British beef cuts from us, you can be confident they will always be the best.
Cooking methods to ensure your short ribs are tender
As we’ve already mentioned, short ribs can be a bit on the tough side, and the most common reason for this is they haven’t been cooked for long enough. Short ribs have a lot of connective tissue and some fat, but if you undercook it the fat becomes unpleasantly waxy while the connective tissue becomes stringy and tough. The trick is to ensure both the fat and connective tissue melt into the sauce. However, cook for too long and the meat will dry out!
So, if you want your ribs to be tender and melt in the mouth, follow these simple rules:
- Brown the meat on every side until it is deeply golden all over. This helps to keep the juices in as it cooks.
- Braise them slowly in a flavoursome liquid
- Don’t cook them at a very high temperature
- Cook them for a long time – a lot longer than you think.
Recipe ideas for this great British beef cut
One of the great things about short ribs is their versatility. Smoked, slow cooked, BBQ’d – the choice is yours. And once you try them, they will become one of your favourite British beef cuts.
Here are just three of our favourite recipes for you to try at home.
Beef in Barolo
If you love Italian cuisine, then you will love this traditional dish from Piedmont*. Marinated overnight in wine with aromatics, it’s a wonderful dish full of flavour. If you can’t find a bottle of Barolo, choose an alternative from the same region.
*Source: BBC Good Food
Chipotle and coffee barbecued short ribs
Cooked in an either a smoker or barbecue, this unusual recipe* combines coffee and chilli to create something truly delectable. Just remember you need to marinate the short ribs for the full 24 hours, as otherwise it will affect the final texture and moisture of the meat.
*Source: Great British Chefs
Beef ribs with BBQ sauce
If you fancy a more traditional rib recipe, these spicy, sticky ribs are a great option. And if you don’t have a BBQ, don’t worry, you can finish them off in the oven.
*Source: James Martin’s Saturday Kitchen
Planning a post-lockdown get-together?
If you don’t fancy trying beef short ribs, don’t forget as an exceptional meat supplier, our online shop stocks a whole range of quality meat products including other British beef cuts, lamb, chicken and speciality meats such as guinea fowl and venison.
And if you can’t decide what you want, why not treat yourself to one of our meat boxes which will allow you to try a bit of everything. All of IMS of Smithfield’s meat products are available for delivery nationally to all UK mainland households and remember there is free delivery service on any orders over £50.