Slow Cooker Short Ribs are melt-in-your-mouth tender! Flavor-packed beef in a rich red wine sauce makes a super easy dinner recipe perfect for Sunday Supper!
At this time of year, lots of people are feeling the cold. Of course ‘cold’ varies depending on where you are. Here in the Northeast, our winters can be long, but at least we have comfort food to help get us through. And ideas like these slow cooker short ribs are perfect whether you need comfort food or just a meal you can set and forget.
What are beef short ribs?
The name gives you a clue – short ribs are pieces of meat on the rib bone. The name ‘short’ is generally considered to be because they are parts of the rib rather than full bones.
There are two main cuts:
- Flanken where the bones are cut into short 1-2 inch lengths. Sometimes a few cross-sections of big are left in a strip, or they are in separate chunks as I have used here.
- English-style where larger pieces of bone are left in and the meat is cut parallel to the bone.
Why do you have to sear the short ribs in a skillet first?
Searing the meat before the longer cook is all about building flavor. When you sear the short ribs in a skillet, the outside of the meat caramelizes slightly. This then builds into a fuller-flavored dish as the flavor releases into the cooking liquid in the slow cooker.
Are short ribs tender?
Short ribs are not naturally tender meat, they need a little help to get that way. A long braise is the way to go to break down the connective tissue. They are one of the groups of meat cuts that really benefit from a long, slow cook to break them down and tenderize them. Many cuts on the bone really come into their own when braised, like braised lamb shanks, as well as cheaper cuts like slow cooker beef tips and gravy.
Short ribs can also be cooked over high heat for a relatively short time, but in most cases, they would be marinated first. An example is the Korean dish kalbi.
How to make Slow Cooker Short Ribs
These short ribs come together in just a few steps:
- Season the short ribs all over with salt and pepper.
- Dice the onion, carrot, and celery.
- Heat some oil in a skillet and sear the ribs on all sides in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan.
- As they are done, remove the ribs to the slow cooker.
- Put the onion, carrot, and celery in the skillet and cook a couple of minutes to soften.
- Add the garlic then after a minute add the wine and deglaze the pan.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, broth, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.
- Pour the sauce over the short ribs, cover and turn on low for 6-8 hours.
How to serve slow cooker short ribs
These short ribs are cooked in a flavorful mix that you don’t want to just throw away. The best way to enjoy them is with something that can mop up that wonderful gravy. Mashed potatoes, like our Irish mashed potatoes, are the perfect accompaniment, or mashed cauliflower if you are looking for a lower-carb option.
Alongside, some green vegetables such as green beans work really well. Or try some Catalan-style sauteed Swiss chard for something slightly different.
These slow cooker short ribs are easy to prepare and packed with flavor. Tender meat, oh so delicious and wonderfully comforting any night of the week.
**** PIN SLOW COOKER SHORT RIBS to save for later ****
Slow Cooker Short Ribs are melt-in-your-mouth tender, flavor-packed beef in a rich red wine sauce. A super EASY DINNER RECIPE perfect for Sunday Supper!
- 2.25 lb short ribs (6 pieces) approx weight (see note 1)
- 1/4 tsp salt approx
- 1/4 tsp pepper aprox
- 1/2 onion
- 1 rib celery
- 1 carrot medium
- 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil or other flavorless oil
- 1 clove garlic crushed or finely diced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
Pat the short ribs dry, if needed, and sprinkle them all over with salt and pepper.
Finely dice the onion, celery and carrot.
Warm half of the oil in a skillet over a medium-high heat and sear the short ribs on all sides in two batches so you don't overcrowd the skillet.
Put the short ribs in the slow cooker once browned, in one layer with the bone on the top as far as possible.
Add the onion, celery and carrot to the skillet along with the remaining oil. Reduce the heat slightly, as needed, so the vegetables don't burn.
Cook the vegetables for a couple minutes then add the garlic, cook a minute more then add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any browning from the skillet.
As it starts to simmer, add the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, broth, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer then pour over the short ribs.
Turn the slow cooker on low and cook for 6 - 8 hours.
Serve the short ribs (suggest on top of mashed potatoes) with some of the sauce poured over. If you prefer, you can remove the short ribs to keep warm and thicken the sauce first, either by blending the vegetables into the sauce or by removing some to a pan and adding a slurry of 1tsp corn starch plus 1tsp water and stirring over a medium-low heat until it thickens.
- For maximum flavor and tenderness we recommend Certified Angus Beef® brand beef short ribs
The Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.