Sunday, April 25, 2010

Korean Braised Short Ribs

Braised short ribs over steamed white rice

When I was preparing the food plan for the week, I did it how I always do, by browsing the store ads to see what was on sale and then, when spying something at a lower-than-usual price, looked for a suitable recipe. Beef short ribs were on sale at the local supermercado.  Braised short ribs courtesy of Week of Menus was immediately placed on the food plan.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at the store, ready to make my selection, I realized the short ribs were boneless.  So I turned to the butcher cases and selected three pounds of what was labeled beef bone-in short ribs.  I should've gone with my gut, but I bought them anyway, even though they were simply thick-cut flanken ribs. 

Korean Braised Short Ribs
adapted from Week of Menus

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 lbs of short ribs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c water
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c sesame oil
1/4 c rice wine
1 large onion, cut into chunks
2 carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks
1 potato cut into 2 inch chunks

Place beef into a large pot and cover with cold water. Let the beef sit in the water, about 45 minutes so meat is drained of blood.

Drain water. Section the pieces into three by cutting each meat-ladened bone away from the others (if you bought cross-cut ribs like I did). Slice the pale beef across the grain, cutting into the meat but not through to the bone.

Return the sliced meat into a pot and cover with clean water. Bring the beef and the water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking 45 minutes.

Drain the beef and rub it clean of the foam and dirty bits. Rinse well under cool water.

Place sugar, garlic, and pepper in a clean large pot; add soy sauce, water, sesame oil and rice wine. Heat over medium heat until simmering, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Add beef to the simmering liquid. Cook over medium low heat for 40 minutes or until beef is tender, turning often allowing different pieces of the beef to soak and cook in the liquid.

Stir onion and carrots into the beef mixture. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are fully cooked, about 15 more minutes.

While the flavor of this dish was excellent, the beef was very chewy and quite a disappointment to me. (Note that by this time, I was full of egg rolls).  Rodney however, chawed his way through nearly all of it.  Certainly, the chewiness was due to the cut I purchased and the fact that I inadvertantly didn't cut it across the grain, but rather with the grain, as I cut perpendicular to the bone.

When you shop, be sure to compare true short ribs vs. flanken, or kalbi, style ribs.  You'll see that flanken style, like I bought, are typically sliced thin through bone and three rib bones are present.  This type is already cut against the grain, which is why it is cut thin.  Short ribs are the same ribs, but instead of cutting across multiple ribs, each rib is sectioned into short 2-4" pieces.  When you cut perpendicular to the bone on short ribs, you are cutting across the grain.  If you have a good eye, you can see the natural grain. Unfortunately, I don't consider these things until after I'm finished cooking.  Do yourself a favor and learn from my mistakes!

I'm definitely going to try this again, though with true short rib cuts of beef.

  • beef "short ribs": $14.41/3 lb
  • onion: $0.40
  • carrots: $0.40
  • everything else, SWAG: $1
Total: $16.21.  A disappointing price considering the beef was tough.  While you'd think this would yield 4 or possibly more servings considering it was 3 pounds of beef, bone is heavy and we only got three servings. And if I wasn't already full from egg rolls, we'd only have two!  Anyway, $8.11 per serving.