Why Braised Short Ribs Are So Much Better At A Restaurant

There's just something about restaurant food that tastes better. Almost anything you order is bound to taste more rich and flavorful, not to mention the seasoning always seems to be on point (that is, unless you dine at one of those bad restaurants that even Gordon Ramsay from "Kitchen Nightmares" can't save).

When a home cook tries to replicate, say, a simple wedge salad or a luxurious boeuf bourguignon at home, there are certain restaurant elements that will probably be missing from the finished dish. Toronto Star states that some of these "chef secrets" include their fearless use of salt, grinding whole spices after toasting them, and the use of 35% whipping cream in soups and sauces.

In other words, chefs aren't afraid of using seasoning or full-fat products to elevate the flavors of a dish. They're also able to purchase rare and/or specialized ingredients like truffles or high-quality caviar, some of which aids in the blend of umami tastes and textures, aka, the "mouthfeel" effect, per Better Food.

Knowing all of this, can you guess why braised short ribs taste so much better at restaurants?

Time + a rich sauce

Let's first start with the element of time. Toronto Star explains that chefs usually spend hours slaving over broths and braises. To replicate those time-consuming efforts, home cooks often rely on slow cookers or pressure cookers. But if you really want to wear that chef's coat, The Kitchn states that braised short ribs take about eight hours on the low setting of a slow cooker or 2 to 2.5 hours in the oven — and this is after browning the meat and simmering the braising liquid.

Speaking of the braising liquid, aka the sauce, Serious Eats notes that this is the key element to making braised short ribs taste restaurant-quality. The resulting sauce should be rich, glossy, and thick, and one that serves as a glaze for the short ribs rather than just a bath for them to soak in.

A combination of stock and dry red wine should be used as the base for the braising liquid, but the real secret lies in ruby port, which should be simmered and reduced in a separate pot. This is added after the short ribs are done cooking, which makes the sauce sweeter, more wine-like, glossier, and more akin to restaurant-worthy braises. Make sure you take the finished meat and veggies out of the pot first, simmer the broth even more to reduce it, and then stir in the port wine reduction.