These ale-braised short ribs are just like you’d get in an English country pub.
Beef And Ale
You can’t find anything more British than the combination of beef with a good hearty ale.
The Brits love their beef and they are fond of a bit of ale too. The flavors combine well here. This is true “gastro pub” food like you’d get in a pub in the English countryside.
Since I haven’t been to a country pub in decades (my late Aunt Sue’s place in Aylesbury), I had to improvise. I actually haven’t been to Britain since 1972 when my sister got married so I had to bring the UK to America with this dish.
One caveat is that the ale produces a distinct flavor with bitter undertones. If you are not fond of that flavor or you’re feeding young children, substitute the ale for a lighter beer or just use all beef stock.
Long Slow Cooking
While this recipe can be adapted to a slow cooker, I prefer to do this in the oven. The reasoning for that is the slight reduction of the liquid. I find that crock pot cooking results in way too much liquid which results in a “steamed” flavor and not a roasted one.
I always choose to cook stews and things such as these short ribs in heavy cast-iron pots. My Le Creuset 7 QT French Oven was the perfect vessel. However, any heavy cast-iron dutch oven will do the job nicely because cast iron provides a steady and even heating.
Short ribs require a rather long cook time for tenderness. You want the meat tender, but not overcooked. I’ve found that approximately 3 hours does the trick here. Plus in the cold weather, I don’t mind running the oven for longer periods of time–obviously! Suffice to say that this isn’t a meal I’d do in mid summer!
Make A Day Ahead
Just like pot roast, this will improve the next day.
Short ribs are fatty. Therefore the resulting gravy will be as well. If you make them the day before, you can remove a lot of that fat.
Just refrigerate the ribs and veggies separately from the juice. Then it’s easy to discard the congealed fat that is on top of the juice.
Watch The Video
- 8-10 meaty beef short ribs
- 1 bottle (12-16 oz) high-quality ale (I used Arrogant Bastard)—see NOTES
- 1 cup beef stock
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup pearl onions (frozen is OK)
- 2 cups carrots, cut in chunks
- 2 lbs small gourmet red potatoes
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme -OR- ½ tsp dried
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil then brown the short ribs on all sides—you may have to do this in batches. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Drain any fat from the pan. Deglaze the pan with the beef stock and add the bay leaf and thyme.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Place the flour to a large bowl and gradually whisk in the ale so there are no lumps. Add the ale/flour mixture to the pan and stir until slightly thickened and put the short ribs back in the pan, cover and place in the oven; cook for 2 hours.
- Add the carrots, potatoes and pearl onions; stir. Bake, covered, for an additional hour or until ribs are tender.
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