How To Braise (Braised Beef Spare Ribs)

It’s time for more cooking basics to take you from a kitchen zero to a kitchen hero!  Today we’re going to learn about braising. Braising is a combination cooking method of dry and wet heat.  Why would you want to do dry and wet?  Well, dry heat cooking does not tenderize meat, buuuuut it does cause searing, which creates that delicious brown coating on your meat that imparts more flavor in the cooking liquid, and wet cooking does tenderize!  It also is commonly confused with poaching meat which is its own monster.  Generally braising is done with fattier or tougher pieces of meat because the slow wet cooking allows fat, collagen, and connective tissue to break down and self baste the meat.  Today we’re going to do something simple, braised beef spare ribs.  Spare ribs are the largest ribs and generally the toughest ribs on the cow, and we’re going to make them fall apart tender.

Juicy Beef Spare Ribs
Juicy Beef Spare Ribs Pulling Away From The Bone!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb – Beef Spare Ribs (about 4 or 5)
  • 2 TBS – Salt
  • 1 TBS – Black Pepper
  • 2 TBS – AP Flour
  • 2 Cups – Beef Stock (no salt)
  • 1/2 Cup – Red Wine
  • 1 TBS – Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 TBS – Soy Sauce
  • 8 – Cloves Garlic, Whole
  • 1/4 Cup – Olive Oil
  • 1 – Bay Leaf

RECIPE

  1. You will need a saute pan and a large pot
  2. Combine the salt, pepper, and AP Flour
  3. Toss ribs in seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, set aside
  4. In the pot, bring the red wine to a boil, add in the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and bay leaf.  Return to boil
  5. Add beef stock, return to boil, lower to simmer, add in bay leaf
  6. In the saute pan add the oil, bring it to medium heat
  7. Add the garlic cloves, cook 2 mins, then rotate the garlic, you want to lightly brown it, cook 2 more mins, drain on paper towel
  8. Place the garlic in the red wine stock mixture
  9. Turn the heat up to medium-high, sear the ribs on ALL sides, 2-3 mins per side until browned (about 10-12 mins total)
  10. Set aside ribs on paper towels to drain slightly, pour out the remaining oil, ladle 1 Cup of the red wine stock mixture into the saute pan and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon, return the liquid to the pot
  11. Add the ribs to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, cook 40-45 mins until the meat is tender

Honestly the meat will probably be pretty tender around 25-30 minutes if you want to check it then, but connective tissues dissolve over different amounts of time at different temperatures so it won’t be too damaging to the integrity of the meat to go a bit longer.  The outcome are flavorful, juicy, fall apart spare ribs.  If you feel like they’re too shloppy you can bake them off at 375 for 5-10 minutes, just until the outside is dry and they’ll firm up a bit.  Also you can reduce your braising liquid and add in a little butter coated in flour(beurre manie) to thicken it if the collagen from the spare ribs doesn’t already.  This is just one example of a braise, there are countless ways you can braise countless different things, and it doesn’t have to be just proteins.  I’ve done some incredible braised leeks where you grill them then lay them out in a pan with a little chicken stock and into the oven then topped with Hollandaise.  So don’t fear, if you see a lot of fat or connective tissue on that big chunk of pork shoulder you’re thinking about cooking, BRAISE IT!

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