Read our guide for tips on how to cook a beef joint so it falls apart.


  • 6 meaty beef short ribs (about 3kg/6lb 8oz), see tips
  • 75ml sunflower oil
  • 3 onions, thickly sliced
  • 450ml hoppy American-style craft lager (try Point Amber, available from, or Samuel Adams Boston lager, widely available)
  • 700ml good-quality chicken stock
  • 140g black treacle
  • small bunch thyme
  • 50g burnt oak wood chips, tied in a muslin bag (optional, see tip)
  • 100g ketchup
  • 100g American mustard
  • 75g brown sauce

For the marinade


  • STEP 1

    First, make the marinade. Mix the spices and 3 tbsp salt in a bowl, then stir in the oil to make a paste. Use a knife to make a deep hole in each short rib, then rub the spice mix all over and into the hole, working the flavour into the meat. Place on a tray, cover and chill overnight.

  • STEP 2

    The next day, heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan, tip in the onions and fry until you start to get a deep, rich colour – about 20 mins. Don’t be scared of the colour, this will add amazing savoury sweetness to the dish. Pour in the beer and boil to reduce by half, then add the stock, treacle, thyme and oak chips, if using. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Place the marinated short ribs in your largest roasting tin. Pour over the onion and beer braising liquid, then cover tightly with foil. Transfer to the oven and cook the short ribs for 5 hrs or until really tender.

  • STEP 3

    Once the ribs are cooked, remove and put on a plate to rest and cool. Strain the braising liquid into a saucepan. Once settled, use a ladle to remove the top layer of fat, then set over a high heat. Simmer the sauce until it becomes rich and glossy, then whisk in the ketchup, mustard and brown sauce.

  • STEP 4

    To barbecue the ribs, heat your coals until ashen or set a gas barbecue to medium. Cook the ribs until nicely charred and hot all the way through, then baste with the sauce to finish and cook until sticky. To cook them indoors, heat the grill. Set a wire rack over an oven tray and place the ribs on top. Baste well with the sauce and grill, basting with the sauce a few times, until it forms a charred, sticky crust. Set aside to rest before serving with the onion rings and slaw (see Goes well with).

Tom Kerridge's tips for the perfect beef short ribs:

Choose the right cut of beef

Short ribs have traditionally been an underused cut of beef, but are becoming more fashionable as American barbecue food has really taken off in the UK. Also known as Jacob’s ladder or brisket on the bone, short ribs come as either a single 3-4kg, six-bone piece, or in single- portion individual rib pieces, which is what you need for my recipe. I like them because they have the perfect meat-to-fat ratio. They slow-cook beautifully without drying out, yet the end result isn’t fatty like pork belly.

How to make burnt oak chips

At my restaurant, we dry oak wood chips (available from in a frying pan. Then we take the pan outside, set the chips alight with a blowtorch, then quickly extinguish with the pan lid. At home, it's easier to burn the oak chips on the hob. First open the windows, then heat a frying pan until hot. Tip in the chips, cover and cook over a medium heat, shaking every so often, until smoke starts escaping from the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little. It's best to take the pan outside to stop your kitchen filling with smoke. Lift the lid and let the smoke escape.

Get ahead with your prep

You can marinate the short ribs two days before, and cook them up to the end of step 2 the day before.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, August 2015

Goes well with


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