I’m not the kind of guy who will post blogs ahead of time for upcoming holidays. I’m not going to cook things days ahead just so I can get in a Valentine’s Day post before Valentine’s Day. I’m just not that kind of guy. Nothing against those that do, more power to you. I just don’t roll that way. But I will post the day after.
     Mrs. G and I aren’t the type of people who go out on Valentine’s Day. Never have. We don’t like the long waits and the crowds and we generally stay clear of any restaurant that offers a special “PrixeFixe” menu for an occasion. (Not saying that we might not go out to eat a few days before or after and just pretend, just not on the actual day) So yesterday I was racking my brain trying to think of something special I could cook up for Mrs. G. Something with some class or elegance, maybe something new that we have never tried, but something I could try on the Big Green Egg. Somehow I stumbled on short ribs and couldn’t shake the idea lose in my head.

3lbs of beef short ribs

      Stumbling my way around the internet I came across a recipe from She Cooks, He Cleans (not a blog I have been following, but one I’m going to look into more now) that I figured I could probably adapt to the Egg.  This is her recipe and I didn’t follow it exactly as I wasn’t using an oven, but I’ll let you know where and how I made changes.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pounds grass-fed beef short ribs (on bones)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • grass-fed beef lard
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4-5 springs of thyme, tied together with kitchen string
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups beef stock
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Season the ribs all over with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of lard in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Brown beef on all sides in batches; place browned ribs in a bowl.
  4. Pour off “used” oil.  Add ~1 tablespoon of olive oil to pan and return to medium-high heat.  Add onions, celery, and carrots.  Cook until softened, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add garlic, bay leaf, tomato paste, and thyme  Cook briefly (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly.  The tomato paste should begin to caramelize, sticking to the pan.
  6. Add wine, beef stock, and balsamic vinegar.  Stir well.
  7. Bring to a boil, then return the ribs and any accumulated liquids to the pot.  Cover and place in oven to braise for around 3 hours or until the ribs are very tender (as in falling-apart-tender). Check on them occasionally to ladle off excess fat and make sure the liquid doesn’t get too low.  You want the liquids to reduce, but not completely!
  8. When the ribs are done, carefully transfer the meat to a platter.
  9. Ladle off extra fat.  Remove the bay leaf and the thyme stems tied with kitchen string.  Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce.  (You can strain the sauce if you’d like a fine texture, but it is not necessary.)  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Return the rib meat to the sauce, reheat on the stove top, and it’s ready to serve!

      So I procured 3 lbs of short ribs from my butcher after work and let me tell you, it is good to get to know your butcher. Don’t be afraid to ask them for certain cuts of meat if you don’t see them out in the store. Mine had to go into the back and get it and cut it right there in front of me after letting me select from the beef ribs he had in stock! I seasoned them up simply with some salt and freshly ground pepper and a light sprinkling of Dizzy Pig’s Cow Lick. They then went on my grill at 350F (you are going to have the grill at 350F for the duration of the cook) to sear and absorb some smoke from cherry wood chips (instead of browning in a dutch oven. No beef lard was used obviously)

Grill short ribs a few minutes per side

      The ribs were grilled for 3 to 4 minutes per side until they browned and had a nice crust.

Grilled Short Ribs

    Once the ribs were done grilling, I removed the grate and inserted the placesetter legs up and my Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven to the Egg to begin heating up. After it was heated up, olive oil was added and the veggies went in.

Veggies in

      Can’t really say how long the veggies took, but cook until softened, stirring occasionally. When they are soft, add the garlic, bay leaf, tomato paste and thyme. Here I changed the recipe a tad by adding in a few sprigs of rosemary that we have growing in our yard.

Carmelizing tomato paste

      Cook briefly, stirring constantly. The tomato paste should begin to carmelize in the dutch oven. At this point, you want to deglaze the pan. I had poured all the beef stock, wine and balsamic vinegar into a measuring cup, so I used this mixture to deglaze.

Deglazing the pan

     Bring to a boil and then add the ribs back into the dutch oven. I did not add a cover at this point as I wanted it to pick up more smoke. You will want the ribs to braise for about 3 hours or until the ribs are falling apart tender.

Adding the ribs

      Check on them occasionally to make sure that the liquid does not get to low. You want it to reduce, but not completely. If needed, add more wine or beef broth. During this process, I had to remove the dutch oven and place the little green feet under the dutch oven to raise it from the direct heat of the placesetter as it begain to boil too fast (although anything you can add as a spacer of about 1/2 to 1 inch will work if you do not have the feet).

Fall off the bone tender

      When the ribs are done, remove them and transfer to a platter. Ladle off any extra fat and then remove the bay leaf and thyme and rosemary stems. She Cooks said to use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. I didn’t have one, but I do have a blender. If you try this, make sure to hold the lid down tightly with a towel since it is hot liquid.

Blending

      Season to taste with salt and pepper. We served them up on top of some creamy polenta we made using parmesan cheese and goat cheese and a side salad (not pictured).

Plated up

      This was an outstanding meal. The ribs were so tender and the flavors from the wine and vegetables was amazing. There was a background hint of smoke that you would not be able to achieve with an oven. Sure, it took a long time (over 4 hours start to finish) to prepare, but it wasn’t labor intensive, most of it was allowing it to braise for 3 hours. Mrs. G said we are going to have to make this again. Can’t get a better compliment than that.

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