Friday, June 4, 2010

Cowboy-Braised Short Ribs with Baked Black Beans and Cornbread

There really is nothing better than a well braised short rib so when I order from Thundering Hooves I always make sure that I get a few. It is also a good idea to eat your favorite cuts when you've cut your consumption of red meat. Eat what you like!

My mother has a fantastic recipe for short ribs that I've made many times that has a tomato based sauce with lots of onions and served over mashed potatoes. I have also braised my short ribs in wine and those have all turned out exceptionally tasty. But I was inspired to try something new and entirely mine this time around.

Our neighbor in the Methow Valley operates his own back-country packers outfit and has a herd of about 50 horses right below our humble cabin. He is required to cook for his guests in old cowboy fashion and it's usually all about the meat. Our own camping experiences have allowed me to experiment with cooking over a fire and it can be romantic for some and dirty for others.

I love doing a steak with a good rub and I found an excellent combination that included ground coffee, brown sugar, paprika, pepper, salt, etc. I called it my cowboy rub and it tastes beautifully over a fire or on a grill. I decided to try similar flavors in a short rib recipe - coffee, barbecue sauce, etc .

The results were sensational and could be easily transferable to a real camping situation. In fact, I would suggest you cook them a day ahead, remove the rendered fat from the surface of the sauce after it has cooled, and then reheat over the campfire. Preparing short ribs a day ahead for the purposed of removing the fat is common practice.


6 short ribs (about 4lbs)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 T olive oil or 2 T rendered bacon fat (I used the 2 slices of cooked bacon in my baked black beans!)

2 onions thickly sliced

2 carrots sliced

2 celery stocks chopped

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 cup of your favorite bbq sauce (here is where you can add your own take - sweeter, hotter, etc.)

2 cups brewed coffee

1 cup beef broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat oil in large dutch oven (cast iron preferred). Season the short ribs with salt & pepper. Brown ribs in dutch oven on all sides over medium-high heat. Remove ribs, set aside, then add onion, carrots, celery to hot pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Put ribs back in pan and add barbecue sauce, coffee and beef broth. Cover pan and place in oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until falling off the bone tender. At this point you can cool for serving the next day or you can skim the excess fat off the surface of the sauce. If you'd like a thicker sauce you can remove the ribs, stir in 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with cold water, when thickened put ribs back in sauce. Can be served with baked beans and cornbread.

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