Beef ribs are tough but flavorful. The best way to tenderize tough cuts is by slow cooking. Slow smoke roasted Barbecue beef ribs are my first choice in warm weather, but when the snowballs fly, braising indoors in a flavorful liquid is the way to go. Regardless of the weather, I like to do both, smoke the meat for an hour or two to pick up some smoky goodness, and then braise it! This is definitely not the classic prep from France where tradition starts the recipe by browning the meat in oil in a pot. Starting it on the smoker gives the final dish a complexity and elegance heretofore unknown.
Braising is a method of cooking in a flavorful liquid low and slow, just like barbecue, so the meat tenderizes and all the flavors meld into a harmonious symphony. The liquid is kept to a low simmer, tiny bubbles, not big ones. When you boil meat at 212°F, the proteins contract and muscle fibers squeeze out their juiciness. Yes, you can make meat dry by cooking it sum=b merged in liquid! But if you simmer at about 190°F, the meat tenderizes and remains juicy.
Beef ribs are a desirable component in a braised dish because they contain so many flavorful elements, fat, connective tissue (collagen that turns to gelatin), marrow, and, of course, beef. Click here to learn more about the different cuts of beef ribs.
Based on a classic French stew from Provence, this recipe fills the house with seductive aromas and, if you prepare it on Saturday, refrigerate it overnight, and serve it on Sunday, the house will smell great for two days straight. Besides, braised meat often tastes better the next day, after all their flavors have intermingled. Some recipes call for boneless ribs, but you should leave the bone in because water is a solvent and will extract some of the marrow adding to the richness of the stew. Also, the meat is held onto the bone by a sleeve of connective tissue that can be tough as leather when cooked with dry heat, but in this prep it remains soft, supple, and eminently edible. Deep, meaty, flavorful, and hearty, this is the ideal winter meal with a rich red wine to be followed by an evening wallowing on the couch with a movie.
This recipe calls for cooking in a heavy pot on the stovetop, but you can easily adapt it for cooking in a slow cooker.
I like to serve this on a bed of egg noodles, but you can use any other pasta, mashed potatoes, polenta, rice, couscous, or serve it straight with a crusty loaf of bread. Try it with a simple salad of chopped lettuce and blue cheese on the side with a big, full-bodied red.
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Serve as: a big red wine, like a French wine from the Rhone region (which is near Provence). Another option is a wine from the US or Australia labeled Syrah or Shiraz. These are the same grape, and a big part of the blend used in the Rhone region.
Published On: 1/2/2017 Last Modified: 3/26/2021