Rich, hearty and barely clinging to the bone, these beer braised beef short ribs are comforting and absolutely scrumptious! Serve them over mashed potatoes or parmesan polenta for the ultimate slow cooked meal.
This post was first published in October 2020. It has been updated most recently as of September 2021 with new recipe notes, process shots and images.
There are two things I love about these short ribs. One, the flavor is simply outstanding. Two, they are very easy to make. The prep takes about 20 minutes and then it’s hand off while they cook low and slow to absolute perfection in the oven. It’s all about using simple ingredients to build rich flavors.
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What are short ribs?
Short ribs come from the beef chuck part of the animal, and consist of the ends of the ribs near the breastbone. These narrow cuts of beef are shorter than traditional ribs, hence the name! The meat off these bones aren’t tender enough for a good steak, but it has much more flavor.
Braising short ribs low and slow in the oven is one of the best ways to enjoy this ultimate comfort food.
Do I have to use a dutch oven?
To get the best result, yes. Prepping the ingredients by searing off the meat and then cooking down the onions and deglazing the pan is the best way to build rich flavor. With a slow cooker, you typically just add everything to the pot and then let it do the work. With this recipe, we put in a little bit of work up front then let it do its thing. By searing, sautéing and deglazing the pan, we’re packing in the flavor by letting these simple ingredients shine.
If you don’t have a dutch oven, it’s one of the best investments you can make in yourself as a home cook. It’s so versatile for cooking soups, stews, braised meats, even baking bread! It’s the big ol’ heavy bottomed pot you’ll have for the rest of your life. You can never go wrong with classic Le Creuset, but if you’re looking for a more affordable option, Lodge is great too!
There are tons of recipes out there to cut time in half using a pressure cooker as well, but that’s not what we’re doing here. This is one of those chilly weather, slow food Sunday recipes, period. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Let’s get into it.
Just eight simple ingredients is all you need to make this rich and hearty meal.
Short Ribs – Short ribs can easily be found at the butcher counter in most grocery stores. You can use boneless or bone-in. I prefer to use bone-in as the bones add more flavor to the dish as it cooks. Just be sure to get the big thick ones, not the flanken or Korean style.
Beer – Use whatever you kind of good beer you like. I suggest a nice lager style craft beer.
Onions – I recommend using yellow onions. You could also use white.
Carrots – 4-6 big carrots. I usually grab these from the loose bin at the grocery store.
Garlic – Fresh only.
Crushed Tomatoes – I love these jars of crushed tomatoes and order by the case to keep my pantry stocked. I love the jars as many recipes don’t call for a full large size can so it’s easier to store the leftovers this way to use in other recipes!
Dijon Mustard – A little bit adds a lot of flavor.
Fresh Thyme – Tie about half a bunch together and just place it on top of the mixture while cooking. If I don’t have twine, I carefully tie it with some of the tough stems in a few different places so it holds together!
Salt and Pepper – that’s it! The depth of flavor comes from how we prep the rest of the ingredients.
Neutral Oil – The ribs will get seared in a screaming hot skillet to build flavor so I recommend using an oil with a higher smoke point. Canola or vegetable is fine. My go-to is always avocado oil for high temp cooking like this.
This recipe comes together easily with simple ingredients to build complex flavors. Don’t skip any of the steps as each one is crucial to help you achieve tender, succulent, barely clinging to the bone meat in a rich sauce.
Start by setting your short ribs out on the counter for 15-30 minutes to knock the chill off. Pat dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.
While you wait, mince the garlic, chop the carrots into one inch chunks and slice the onions into half inch rings.
Sear the short ribs on all sides
Get a large cast iron skillet screaming hot on high heat and add a little bit of neutral oil. Just enough to coat the bottom.
Sear the short ribs on all sides until brown and crusty. If you try and flip them before they’re ready, they will stick to the pan. The meat will naturally release and be easy to turn once a crust has formed.
Depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to do this step in batches. Do not crowd the pan or you will not get the brown and crusty sear and that is what builds flavor.
Next, use tongs to transfer the seared short ribs to a dutch oven and toss the raw carrots on top of the ribs.
Sauté and deglaze
Lower the heat and in the same cast iron skillet as you seared the short ribs, add in the onion, being sure to separate the rings so they cook evenly. Cook the onions down until they are soft and starting to caramelize, being careful not to burn. Once the onions are caramelized, add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two until it’s fragrant.
Add in the beer, crushed tomatoes and mustard. The beer will foam up a little bit and then subside. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon and scrape up all of the flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, letting the flavors meld. Season with a little more salt and pepper.
Transfer and cook low and slow in the oven
All of the hard work is done! Next you carefully pour the contents of the skillet over the short ribs in the dutch oven and top it with a bundle of fresh thyme. Cover and cook it low and slow in the oven for up to three hours. When it’s done, the bones will be sticking out and the meat will be barely hanging on.
How to serve short ribs
This recipe is the ULTIMATE Sunday dinner. It’s also a fantastic thing to make to impress your date or a dinner party. You can make this ahead and serve it the next day as the flavors are even better! Just skim the fat off of the top and gently reheat portions in a heavy bottom pot.
My favorite ways to serve it are over a bed of garlic mashed potatoes or pictured here with some creamy parmesan polenta. DELICIOUS!
More cozy dutch oven recipes
Dutch Oven Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs
- 3-4 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
- 2 large yellow onions or 3 smaller ones
- 5-6 big carrots cut on the bias into one inch chunks
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 ½ half cups craft beer
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 4-5 sprigs of fresh Thyme tied together in a bundle
- 2-3 tbsp neutral oil for searing avocado, canola or vegetable
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Pat short ribs dry with a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Slice onions into ½ inch thick rings. Peel and slice carrots into 1 inch chunks on the bias. Mince garlic cloves. Set veggies aside.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons avocado oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, until screaming hot. Sear short ribs on all sides until brown crust forms. Do this in batches and transfer them to a large dutch oven as you go. This will take about 7-8 minutes.
- Once the ribs are seared and in the dutch oven, lower the heat on the same skillet and add in the onions. Cooking down until they are browned, but not burned. About 6-8 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic to the onions and cook for about another minute, until fragrant.
- Add beer and crushed tomatoes to the skillet to deglaze the pan. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add in the dijon mustard to the onion mixture and season with another pinch of salt and black pepper. Turn up the heat to medium. Stir and let simmer for 3-4 minutes, giving flavors time to meld. Taste for seasoning.
- Place the raw carrot chunks on top of the seared short ribs in the dutch oven. Carefully pour the contents of the skillet over the short ribs and carrots into the dutch oven.
- Bundle 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme with twine. If you don't have any twine, I use a few extra tough thyme stems to tie it together in several places! Place thyme bundle on top and put the lid on the dutch oven.
- Bake covered with the lid in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours until the meat is just barely clinging to the bone. Turn the ribs in the sauce with tongs about halfway through cooking.
- Remove bundled thyme from the pot and discard.
- Serve the short ribs on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes or creamy parmesan polenta.