The short rib is a cut that can get very confusing, very quickly. The main culprit is that there are two sections of the steer that you can cut short ribs from, the Chuck (shoulder area) or the plate (down towards the belly area, hence the term “navel short rib”). Both can be done either boneless, or bone-in. When cut from the chuck area, you can produce two cuts – a “Chuck Flap”, or a “Underblade Roast”.
What we’re dealing with here is the Chuck Flap…. But I think we can all agree that the word “flap” doesn’t exactly get you excited about recipe development, so we’ll just stick with the name “Chuck Shortribs.” The Flap is actually the same muscle as Underblade, but is the small tapered end, so while you would have the same amazing marbling, you are dealing with a much thinner cut. For that reason, these tend to work best in scenario where you are not looking for a plate presentation of a single piece per serving. Think of ragus, ravioli filling, etc.
USDA PRIME: These shortribs are graded USDA Prime, the top tier of quality in the US. The Prime grade indicates the highest level of marbling, resulting in increased tenderness and flavor.
HOLSTEIN CATTLE: Our California Reserve Boneless Shortribs are sourced from Holstein Cattle, raised in California predominantly in the SE corner of the state. The size (diameter) of Holstein cuts will be smaller than the Angus.
SHIP FRESH: These boneless shortribs ship fresh, and once they are received they are good for 4-5days in your refrigerator, or 6-7months in the freezer.
UN-AGED: Two reasons why we do not dry age this particular cut – first, because there is very little protective covering that would allow us to dry age these (without enough bone or fat covering the meat, you incur too high of a trim loss when you trim the aged edges off the meat after it has finished dry aging). Secondly, whether thick cut or thin cut, these shortribs are most often paired with sauces or seasonings that are high in flavor, so we would not want to have a scenario where the dry aged flavor is competing with whatever recipe you’re going for!
In terms of cooking, I suggest to either braise or braise, or as an alternative, braise*. That method is what these short ribs are all about. They rank at the top of the Comfort Food list when prepared in this manner. There are a million variations ranging from “Haute Cuisine French” to “Down Home BBQ,” which gives you an idea of the versatility here. The basis of all these recipes is “low and slow.” In any method used, the meat is browned first in a skillet, then moved to a pot containing whatever sauce you have chosen and allowed to simmer slowly for a few hours. Absolute winner hint: This type of entrée (cooked in a sauce) will be better the second or third day after cooking because when left in the sauce, the meat will continue to absorb and be enhanced by the flavor of the sauce. I always make a double batch, freeze half (sauce and all) – then you have a “get out of making dinner free card,” for all you have to do is thaw and heat.
Timing can be variable; in the simplest sense, you just want to cook until the meat is fork tender. You’ll want to make sure that the individual short rib pieces are placed in a single layer in the cooking pot (don’t stack them on top of each other), and whatever sauce you’re using should be almost covering the meat. Figure a good rule of thumb is that if you’re cooking in a 350degree oven, it’ll take about 2 and a half hours.
*Okay, technically you could go a few other directions with these, I’m just biased. These short ribs are of a high enough quality that theoretically you could throw them on a grill, but you would want to go as low of heat as possible, and turn the pieces almost constantly (a quarter turn every 5-6 minutes). In my humble opinion, the amount of effort required to do these on a grill (especially when compared with the simplicity of braising) is simply not worth the end result.
This cut also could work if sliced very thin and cooked very quickly over high heat, in a Korean BBQ style method. You would have to do the slicing on your end (we prep them in larger pieces here), and a good tip for getting as thin of slices as possible is to make your cuts when the meat is halfway frozen.