{recipe} The Best Short Ribs You’ll Ever Eat

After a week of glorious sun and 80+ degree weather, a spate of drizzly, gray, and decidedly autumnal days are upon us. The upside of this dreary weather is that warm, rich, comforting dishes like these short ribs are welcome on the table once again.

I absolutely love flavorful, slow-cooked, melting-off-the-bone short ribs, and have tried several recipes (including the Thomas Keller version, which paled in comparison to these.) This recipe has been adapted, over five years or so, from a recipe that David Chang supplied to the New York Times several years ago, pre-Momofuku fame and fortune. To my mind, they are the best short ribs I have ever eaten.

Although I’m usually not a fussy cook, the end result of a fabulous pot of short ribs is totally worth it. There isn’t a ton of fussing around, but you do have to hang out for about 3 hours while they cook in the oven. You can prepare them most of the way the day before, and finish them the next day before serving. Because they have an Asian-ish flavor, I think they pair best with a side of rice, but mashed potatoes work well too.

A note: if your proportions of apple juice, sake, and mirin are not exact, it’s OK. I usually buy a sake bottle that ends up having a little more than a cup, and a bottle of apple juice that has a little less than 1 1/2 cups. As long as the total of apple juice, sake, and mirin equals roughly 3 1/2 cups, you’ll be OK.

The Best Short Ribs You’ll Ever Eat
serves 8


  • 2 – 3 Tblsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 7 to 8 pounds “English cut” beef short ribs, cut into pieces with one-bone each
  • 1 1/2 cups apple juice (flat or sparkling)
  • 1 cup sake (filtered – not nigori)
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tblsp sesame oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped (you don’t need to peel it)
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350. Season short ribs with salt and pepper.
  • Put oil in a pot that’s 6 quarts or larger and heat over high heat. When the oil is hot, add ribs to brown on one side (you will need to do this in batches.) After 4-5 minutes, turn the ribs to brown on another side. Remove from pot and put on a plate. Repeat with remaining batches of ribs.
  • Meanwhile, put apple juice, sake, mirin, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic in a pot and heat just to a boil. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • When all of the ribs are cooked and out of the pot, add onions and carrots to the pot and cook 3-5 minutes to brown, stirring often.
  • When onions and carrots are browned, add short ribs back to the pot. Pour the liquid over and try to get the ribs completely covered by the liquid. (It’s OK if a few of them are poking above the liquid a bit.) Cover with a lid and put them in the oven. Cook for 2-3 hours, until meat is soft enough to pull easily from the bones.
  • (At this point, you have 3 choices: start the next step right away, wait about an hour so things cool down a bit before you handle them, or put the whole pot in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, and pull it out to finish the dish about 30 minutes before serving. If you choose the latter, you can easily remove the hardened fat layer before proceeding.)
  • Remove the ribs from the pot (I use tongs for this) and remove the bones (they should just fall out easily.) Discard the bones and set the meat aside.
  • Strain the liquid, reserving all of the liquid in a bowl. Discard the solids (or, save them for later–they taste pretty good tossed with pasta the next day.)
  • Return the strained liquid to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the sauce so it thickens a bit, about 20 minutes. Add short ribs back to the liquid to heat through. Serve immediately.

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11 Responses

  1. ginny says:

    this is very similar to Korean galbi marinade..exept we use flanken cut and marinate for several hours, then grill. I will agree that it is hands down the best short rib treatment EVER 🙂

  2. Kristin says:

    Could you use apple cider instead of juice? Would it even matter?

    • Karen says:

      @Kristin – it would totally not matter. I have used cider, even old Martinelli’s sparkling cider, and pear juice and have never noticed a difference!

  3. mjskit says:

    Karen – These short ribs look fantastic! I bought 12 shorts ribs a while back because my husband wanted to smoke them, but now they are just taking up room in the freezer. If he doesn’t get to smoking within the next two weeks, I think I’m going to throw them in the pot with some apple juice, mirin and sake! what a great combinations of flavors!
    BTW – I’ve passed an award on to you!!!! Please check it out at the following link.

  4. Kristin says:

    These really were the best!!! I’m wishing I had made more. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

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