The Best Type Of Beer To Use For Braising Short Ribs, According To A Chef

Tender, fall-off-the-bone short ribs are a restaurant-quality dish you can easily make at home. While the right cut of beef helps determine the final result, the braising liquid is equally important. Beer elevates the taste of beef, but with so many options, it's hard to narrow them down. We spoke to a chef to learn the best beer to use for braising short ribs.

Beer isn't always thought of when braising short ribs, but it's a go-to ingredient for chef Aris Tuazon of 87 Ludlow, an NYC-based Filipino-Spanish tapas restaurant. "Like using wine or stock to braise meat, beer imparts flavor. I like it for the hoppy, barley notes it adds to the final dish," he explains. "I usually go with a pale pilsner, lager, or stout. These beers tend to bring a nice toasted, roasted flavor to the dish." The beers have a medium to full-bodied malted sweetness, with a creamy taste that enhances the meaty flavor of ribs.

When cooking with beer, Tuazon believes it's important to pick a brew that doesn't turn bitter when cooked, like an ale or an IPA would. Above all, opt for a beer that you enjoy drinking. "Using beer to braise short ribs or any meat," he says, "is a lot like using wine — if it's good enough to drink, it's good enough to cook with. So once you find your beer, like a nice malty stout with plenty of roasted flavor, just cook it long and slow like you would any other braise and enjoy."

What flavors should you add when braising short ribs with beer?

When braising short ribs with beer, you can aim for spices that complement the taste of the beer. Tuazon gave malty, creamy recommendations with herbaceous, citrusy hops, so using earthy aromatics that pair well with that palate is always a plus. Oregano and marjoram are especially good picks, as well as coriander and black pepper. Whether you're completing the meal with some creamy polenta or glazed vegetables, a consistent flavor in the short ribs gives the dish versatility.

Beer-braised short ribs can also be paired with bolder spices, especially if they will be eaten with refreshing toppings. Braised beef short rib tacos are cooked with a dark Mexican lager and enhanced with rich spices like cumin and smoky chile peppers. Topped off with white onions, cilantro, and lime, the spices bring a deeper flavor that is then contrasted by the bright garnishes. If you're going with stout, another full-bodied pick, you can choose to offset the vivid flavor with lighter herbs like thyme, parsley, and bay leaves. When the short ribs are simmering away, throw in some carrots and celery for a heartier dish with a sweet, vegetal crunch.