I have met the enemy…

…and they are beef short ribs. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to eat short ribs. I’m just a sucker for strange collagen laden, boney meat dishes, braised to perfection and served up with pasta, polenta, potatoes or risotto. I just can’t cook the little buggers worth a damn.

Properly motivated (it doesn’t take much), I can turn out a respectable osso bucco or some nice braised lamb shanks … especially on one of those nice cold winter Sundays … football on TV and a glass of Barolo in my hand. But for the life of me, I can’t seem to get a good short rib dish out of my kitchen.

In the five attempts I can recall (I’m afraid a couple of additional “goes” were washed away with copious amounts of Barolo),  my record stands at 1-3 and 1 … one winner, three poor outcomes and one meh.

Last weekend I “achieved” the meh outcome while attempting a recipe from Mario Batali. I don’t know if I didn’t choose wisely at the meat counter (I was looking for nicely marbled but not hyper fatty ribs) or if the recipe was dodgy but the result was cooked through meat that seemed “tight” and a bunch of semi melted fat — yum!

I thought the recipe was a bit odd for a braise … it called out a 375 degree oven and only 2 hours cooking time (after browning). I’m a big believer in lower and slower for large roasts or fat/connective tissue cuts … allowing time for the fat to melt and the collagen to break down. Maybe a 300-325 degree oven (as low as 275) for 3+ hours depending on the size of the cut.

So am I blaming this on Mario?

No. It really may have been my rib selection rather than the recipe. Even if I did think the recipe was sketchy, I should have adjusted it. And I normally would! That’s just it … beef ribs have big voodoo on me and they got into my head with their booboo yaga and took me down again! They’ve become my food nemesis — I feel like Ahab chasing after … an enormous white short rib.

Look at all of them ... I think they're mocking me!

Never give up … never surrender!

The quest goes on. I will not be denied … but I need another recipe to try. So break out your copy of Short Ribs for Dummies and send me your you favorite “can’t miss short ribs” recipe. Help!!


  • Why’d you switch from Richard to Ahab? You could have worked in “A recipe, a recipe! My kingdom for a recipe!”

    • Anonymous

      Hey Henry … long time! Though the mocking ribs are indeed starting to piss me off, they don’t quite rise to the Shakespearean tragedy level — more a Mevillian malaise!

  • Jim Mac

    mock mock mock

    • Anonymous

      No see … I think we’re getting off on the wrong foot here! 😉

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