Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grass Fed Short Ribs! Yum!

I braised some Double Check Ranch grass fed, free range, hormone and antibiotic free short ribs yesterday, after marinading them Monday and Tuesday in 1/2 a bottle of Grady's Hot BBQ sauce.  Cut up a Fresh & Easy sweet onion (hard to find organic onions around here), a Trader Joe's organic red bell pepper, and a handful of Fresh & Easy organic portabello mushrooms.  After preparing the veggies for grilling, I dumped all of the left over BBQ sauce from the marinating ziplock bag onto the veggies, along with 4 pads of organic butter (that I picked up at Fresh & Easy Monday afternoon). 

Dr Desert Flower normally doesn't like beef, and said Tuesday morning that she'd "try one" for dinner.  But by 730pm when she got home and I took these off the grill's upper rack, they looked, smelled, and tasted so good, she couldn't resist eating more than one! =)  I had the last 3 pieces for lunch this afternoon, and I think they were MORE tasty and tender today than they were last night.  Being organic free range beef, where the cows actually have to walk around and build some muscle mass - as opposed to just being force fed chemicals and hormones in an industrial food factory - the short ribs were a little tough.  Sharpened steak knives, strong grips, and honed incisors were needed to render the tasty flesh from the bones - and don't forget the floss for afterward too! 

The cooking experiment turned out much better than expected, since this was the first time in my life I had marinated and braised short ribs, but I figured I have watched enough cooking shows that I couldn't get it too wrong.  I'd not even intended to buy short ribs, but they were included in a "1- pound pack" from Double Check that I picked up at the Farmer's Market last month, and they were taking up alot of room in the freezer since then.  Next time, I will marinade longer, and include some alcohol in the marinade to help soften the meat.  DDF has a 3 year old bottle of Southern Comfort that I can't stand the idea of drinking... but might consider using the ethanol within to soften the meat.

Thank you Gradys, Double Check, Fresh & Easy and Trader Joes for making this nearly 100% organic delicious meal possible!


  1. Looks good! I can almost smell them from here. They should get nice and tender from the cooking though, when braising. Try keeping them in the low heat longer, until fork tender, if you don't want to get your steak knives out.

  2. I was not able to do a slow, uniform, tasty, text-book braise. The cuts were very irregular in size - which is UNUSUAL for Double Check. Typically their neighbor the butcher does a precision job/ Some ribs were pinkie width, while others were 2 or 3 thumb widths thick. While I do enjoy Rare, I am leery of raw, especially after having it marinate in a non-alcoholic brew for 36 hours. (Yes, refrigeration would help to slow bacterial growth, but not arrest it entirely), so I used probably too much heat, and only braised for 30 minutes. 2 to 3 hours, top rack, low heat (180F to 220F), would have been better, with repetitive brushing of sauce, I suppose, but time and thickness constraints did not allow that. Double Check's butcher DID leave adequate bone extending from most of the cuts, for the bone to act like a heat sink / conductor, to help cook the ribs "from the inside out", as I've heard many times on various cooking & grilling shows.

    Another issue I run into here in Arizona, is Ultra Low humidity. Things dry out rapidly. That's great for mold control and dry storage, but plays havoc with keeping things moist and juicy when cooking. Frequent re-brushing COULD help to correct for this, but that also involved frequent grill lid lifting, which would deplete any moisture that might've built up under the hood when 6% RH air at 110F blasts back in. Maintaining a high humidity, elevated heat environment, to optimally balance the meat's internal moisture with it's cooking surroundings is a challenge here.

  3. Maybe I misunderstood. Braising normally involves cooking in a covered pan with a bit of liquid. Sounds like you cooked thereon a grill?

  4. You misunderstood because I mislead you. Yes, indirect grilling, on the top shelf of the grill, not covered in a pan in the oven. At 110F ambient, I could not justify heating up my kitchen to braise inside, so I attempted to do it outside on the gas grill, without a pan. Next time, I will use a covered pan outside for sure.

    I FEARED that I'd significantly dry out the meat, but the final result were juicy - tough but juicy. More time would have dried them out more, but probably tenderized more.

    The micro environment of a covered braising pan would solve both moisture loss and heat sinking for slow tenderization, but it would degrade my kitchen/dining/living room comfort by adding significant heat load, and residual lingering black body radiation as well for hours after the cooking was done.

  5. Sounds like you made the right call -- if you have to choose between flavour & tenderness, always go with flavour. A lot of rib places just boil their ribs to make them tender but flavourless, and spackle sauce on at the end to give them flavour.

  6. Thank you Ron.
    After swimming in 105F weather, watching the sunset, drinking rum alone, and then gardening for an hour (the palms and lavender needed trimming), showering, and checking email home all alone, you've brought a smile to this weary & lonely engineer's face.

    Always go with flavor =)

    je suis d'accord.


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