We're ditching our galoshes and dodging the cold in favor of a Big Night In all month long. Follow our lead right this way.
Nothing sounds better on a chilly winter night than a hulking plate of braised beef short ribs, luxuriating in each bite of meat that slides off the bone.
Well, except maybe for short ribs that can be ready in less than an hour. News flash: Both are within reach. Meaty, tender, juicy reach.
For this installment of Quick vs. Slow, we tap chef Jason Marcus of Traif and Xixa in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to show us two methods for making the beloved cut of beef. Marcus grew up eating braised short ribs cooked by his Jewish mother, and while some version of short ribs is regularly on the menu at both of his restaurants, he's embraced cooking them in different ways.
He says, "It's a cut that I'm quite quite fond of, and the fact that it's so versatile in the quick and the slow, that's what's so cool about it." He shared two of his dishes from Xixa, where he serves his own eclectic version of Mexican food.
But before we dive into his recipes, a quick note about beef short ribs: how you cook them really depends on how the butcher cuts them. You can cook a thin, "flanken-style" piece cut across the bone really quickly on the grill and get a dish so completely different—but equally delicious—as the meltingly tender slow-braised beef short ribs made from either a whole uncut rib slab or thick "English-cut" pieces.
The first dish Marcus shares uses one of said English-cut pieces, and is inspired by Mexico's long-cooked stews. For his slow-braised beef short ribs with green mole sauce (see the recipe), a whole slab of beef short ribs is covered in a chile powder-and-garlic-spiked liquid and cooked low and slow, then left to sit overnight, so that the meat is extra flavorful and tender when it gets reheated in the green mole sauce. We like the super-tender braise over rice, but at Xixa, Marcus gives it more of a twist by serving the meat with foie gras-truffle salsa, chilmole tortillas, tomatillo and avocado.
Speed is a main ingredient in his thin-cut grilled short ribs (see the recipe). The flavors are inspired by a recent trip to Mexico City, when Marcus ordered a short rib taco and it wasn't the braised meat he was at all expecting—rather, it was a Korean-style cut that had been quickly grilled. Using that same ethos, Marcus marinates his short ribs in chipotle and pineapple, then grills them for mere minutes over high heat. They're then paired with a spicy-sweet pineapple pico de gallo.
Of course, since it's the dead of winter, you don't have to brave the elements at an outdoor grill. You can make them on a grill pan—and serve them with a stack of tortillas directly on your coffee table.
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