Friday, February 5, 2010

Pork Short Ribs

Pre-note written after I wrote the rest of this post: This is easy. The hardest part will be finding pork short ribs. If you can't find pork or just prefer beef, sub out sherry vinegar for canned, chopped tomatoes and drop the cumin and oregano. All this recipe really entails is putting meat into a hot pan until it is browned and then putting it in a crock pot for 4 to 8 hours...

At the initial time of making this blog I was also cooking up some din-din for the fam. I was able to get my greasy paws on some pork short ribs from Kinnealy Meats out of Boston. (Amazing product list by the way. You want foie gras 5 different ways? Alligator meat? Yup, Kineally.) I am passionate about my short ribs, but so far had only tried out the beef variety. I am also an advocate for all things pork, so it should have been of no surprise that pork short ribs trump the beef!

To begin: sear your meat! Get your stainless pan hot, actually let it get what you think is hot and then go some more. If you flick water onto the pan, it should dance around. If it sticks and boils in a little inferno of angry water... wait. When your water balls dance the dance add your oil and let it get hot as well. If you see smoke you are certainly there. If you don't see smoke, but when you flick water into the oil it erupts and spits... good to go! Place your heavily salted pork short ribs into the pan and brown on all sides. This is the first stage for mine (look at the fat!):

While the meat browns you need to get your mise (a.k.a. other stuff you need for the recipe) ready. For this dish it was garlic cloves, celery, carrots, onion, and thyme.

I took the ribs out of the pan and tossed in the onion, celery, and carrot and sauteed them until the onion was slightly translucent. The ribs had been placed in my crock pot (amazing invention) and I put the semi-cooked veg in with the ribs. To this combo I added a tablespoon on tomato paste, 3 tbs of sherry vinegar, salt and pepper to my own preference, a cup of water, a few dashes of cumin and oregano, (measuring and me don't really get along... unless you count dashes, splashes, and dribbles as actual units of measurement) and half a cup of chicken stock. I think I put a dash of soy sauce (actually tamari) in as well. As a complete side note soy sauce and ketchup (or "sauce american" if you are a fancy pantsy Euro) have amazing adaptability and versatility. I just fulfilled my quota for using words ending in -ility. In general though, you don't want your liquid to come up more than halfway on your braised protein. In this case, braised protein = short ribs in a crock pot.

Cook on high for 4+ hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours to produce a little slice of tender nirvana, a.k.a. pork with pork fat. You might want to add some water/stock if it seems the pot is running really low. Once the requisite time has passed, gently remove the ribs from the pot of crock and keep warm somehow. I usually put them under a tinfoil "tent". Then strain out the solids (carrots, celery, garlic, thyme) and let the emulsion seperate out.

Using a big spoon or ladle remove the top layer which is pure fat, and while tasty, wonderful, and all around awesome... that much fat has no place in your sauce, gravy, au jus, or whatever you want to call it. With the fat layer removed put the remaining cloudy liquid of porcine deliciousness into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Add your choice of thickener (ours here at the Zube household is cornstarch, more explanation of that to follow) and cook "until it coats the back of a spoon". Most cookbooks say that, and to be honest I never really caught their mojo. So I reduce/cook until I think it looks like a sauce and not water. So far, so good.

Throw your ribs onto a plate with whatever else you have wrangled up for din-din, sauce it freely, and feast! We had the short ribs with whipped potatoes and glazed carrots.

Happy eating!

p.s. As this is the first menu/recipe/photo montage I am publishing I am obviously still working out the kinks in formatting, photography, adjectives, prose, recipes, and all around voice. Either way though pork short ribs will rip your face off.


  1. This looks damn good! I might be seeing some pork short ribs in my near future. +1 for crock pot recipes.

  2. This does look quite tasty. And may I commend you on going with the pork short ribs, those little piggies are kind of like lucky charms (magically delicious). Look forward to seeing more.

  3. Love the new blog, Mike! Had a blast reading how you describe cooking and it sent me back to tasty times past. We had some wonderful times of fun and great food growing up.
    Your photos are great as usual.
    Love the simplicity of this recipe and the happy way you described exactly how to tell if the pan is ready.
    We raise our own pigs, so I have plenty of pork to go around in this household. We greatly appreciate every little bit of luscious fat from our "little" 400 pound porkers.
    I really like it that it's a crock recipe too. I need easy with my crazy gang. Who says easy can't be incredible!
    Glad to see you having fun with something you've always been so passionate about!

  4. Manda, I would love to raise my own pigs... and then eat them. It is great that you are able to do that. Between the economics and the control of what goes into the pig (and eventually into you) you are very fortunate. I found a "gourmet pig" for sale online. It was 350 lbs and sold for $3500! Uh, it isn't that tasty. Anywho, you said it perfectly: "Who says easy can't be incredible!" That is a major point of what I am trying to communicate here. Great food is easy.

  5. Hey Cuz! The Mansen gang is going to try this - looks divine!