What Are Short Ribs?

Beef short ribs are a cut of beef that comes from the chuck, plate, rib, or brisket section of a cow. They earned their name because they contain “short” pieces of rib bones encased in meat. While they offer less meat than steak, they have more meat than other beef rib varieties. Their high fat content is perfect for slow cooking methods. Thanks to their similar body build, you can purchase bison short ribs as well. Bison short ribs are a sumptuous, game meat alternative to traditional beef short ribs.

Shop All Beef Short Ribs
Chart showing that ribs come from the chuck, plate, brisket, and rib sections of a cow.

Where Do Short Ribs Come From?

The best beef short ribs come from the chuck primal where the marbled serratus ventralis muscle is thickest. Originating near the second rib, serratus ventralis covers most of the cattle’s rib cage but thins as it stretches to the rump.

Short ribs can also come from the brisket, plate, and rib sections. While short ribs from these sections are less expensive, they're also less flavorful.

Cuts of Beef Short Ribs

Butchers cut beef short ribs in two dominant fillets: flanken and English. We also know flanken short ribs as crosscut ribs, kosher ribs, and Korean-style ribs. Chefs may refer to English cut short ribs as braising ribs, barbeque ribs, or fancy cut ribs because of the dense slab of meat perched atop their bones. The English cut has several sub-types. From Texas-style BBQ to fine-dining, butchers know how to cut short ribs into the best style for your cooking application, so tell them what dish you would like to make.

Flanken vs English Style Short Ribs

Two side-by-side photos of flanken cut short ribs and English cut short ribs

Discover the differences between flanken and English style short rib cuts:

  1. Flanken Cut Beef Short Ribs - Flanken-style short ribs have a half-inch thick strip of meat that runs across four to five bones. It is the ideal cut for Korean Kalbi-style short ribs.
  2. English Cut Beef Short Ribs - To create the English cut, butchers sever the ribs and leave a thick piece of meat sitting atop the bones. You can purchase English cut short ribs in racks of four bones or as individual pieces. English cut short ribs are the perfect cut for smoking delicious BBQ.

Types of English Style Short Ribs

There are three types of the English style short ribs:

  • Trimmed English Short Rib Cut: To create the trimmed English short rib cut, butchers remove the exterior fat cover and much of the latissimus dorsi muscle (aka the prime rib cut).
  • Lean English Short Rib Cut: The lean English short rib cut is the same as the trimmed style, but the butcher removes more of the fat layer.
  • Riblets: Riblets are a type of English cut where the butcher slices the bones into individual pieces and then cuts short, 1-2-inch-long sticks topped with a thick round of meat.
  • Boneless English Short Rib Cut: you can purchase English style ribs as boneless slabs between 1-2“ thick and roughly 8” long. To create the boneless cut, butchers remove both the bones and the intercostal meat.

How to Cook Beef Short Ribs

Short ribs served over mashed potatoes in a demi glace sauce topped with a rosemary sprig.

From grilling to smoking, there are many ways to cook beef short ribs. Discover some of the most popular ways to cook beef short ribs below.

How to Cook Boneless Short Ribs

The best way to cook boneless short ribs is by braising them or using sous vide. Both methods tenderize dense short rib meat. Boneless short ribs are easier to portion, cut, and shred than their bone-in counterparts. Bath shredded short ribs in classic French sauces like the demi-glace for a decadent, timeless dish.

Short Rib FAQ

Barbecued short ribs on cutting board

Before you add short ribs to your menu, you may have a few questions about this cut of beef. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions about short ribs below.

Are Short Ribs Beef or Pork?

Traditionally, short ribs are a cut of beef, but you can also purchase bison short ribs. Short ribs comprise the lower 3 to 6 inches of a cow’s rib cage near its breastbone. Pigs don't have short ribs.

What Are Braised Short Ribs?

Braising is the traditional cooking method for beef short ribs. Braising pans allow chefs to employ both dry and moist heat. To braise short ribs, chefs sear the meat and then bake it in a liquid. Chefs often braise short ribs in a mixture of red wine, beef broth, and vinegar.

What Do Short Ribs Look Like?

What short ribs look like depends on their cut. English-style beef short ribs look like single-boned, small, square chunks of meat. Flanken beef short ribs look like long, three-boned strips with generous meat portions between each rib.

How Many Short Ribs Per Person?

The ideal short rib serving size varies by the weight of the short rib pieces and the style they're cut in, but you can estimate that you'll need between one to three short ribs per person. You'll want to serve each person approximately one pound of bone-in short ribs.

Do Short Ribs Have Bones?

Yes, short ribs have bones. Short ribs earned their name because they contain a “short” piece of the rib bone plus its surrounding meat. You may wonder why you’ve seen boneless short ribs at a butcher shop then. Butchers prepare boneless short ribs by removing the rib piece. So, boneless short ribs are something you can buy, not something that exists naturally.

Chuck Roast vs Short Ribs

Gourmands prize beef chuck for its rich, meaty flavor. Since short ribs come from both the chuck and rib cuts, they fuse the dense beefy goodness of the chuck with the luscious marbling of a rib steak.

Beef short ribs are a flavorful, versatile cut of meat that lends itself to many slow cooking applications. Whether you’re grilling ribs for your summer menu, or creating an elegant entree, short ribs will be the crown jewel of the meal.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips|Product Spotlights|By Corrinn McCauley
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.
External Link

You are about to leave the security of WebstaurantStore.com.

We are not responsible for the privacy policy or any content, links or software, or any consequences from your access to or use of the technologies, websites, information and programs made available on this new site.

Do you want to proceed?

Webstaurant TVProduct demonstrations, how-to's, & descriptions ArticlesIn-depth information and tips for running a successful restaurant Buying GuidesTools to help you find the perfect product for your business