When I fire up the grill, I put everything on it I can find in the fridge. Not because it’s lots of work to build a charcoal fire, but because it’s sacrilege to let that fire burn without infusing its smoky goodness into as much food as possible.
On this same kettle fire, I cooked chicken thighs that were pulled from the bone and used in sandwiches and on salads. I cooked burgers for the boys’ lunch, and I smoked tomatoes, onions, Poblano peppers and pineapple for some sauces and a fruity pico de gallo I was inspired to make.
On the dying embers, I toasted bread to be topped with summer’s new fresh tomatoes and basil. In the case of short ribs, the charcoal grill with Applewood chips was just the second step of five in the long and slow cooking process.
My advice is to grill things that provide satisfaction and sustenance over time. For example, the burgers and chicken could be eaten immediately, the veggies made into salsa for later or to bring to a friend’s house, but the short ribs, they’re always for tomorrow. After they’ve been marinated and grilled, the third step is to bake, covered, in the oven for four to five hours, then to cool and chill, preferably overnight. I then cut off the bone, and finally season and finish with a second round on the grill.
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Grilled Short Ribs
1-1/2 cups peanut oil
1/2 cup lime juice
4 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons minced ginger
1/2 cup naturally brewed soy sauce
3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch long pieces
4 cups chicken broth, or enough to cover the ribs
- Combine the oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger and soy sauce in a large bowl and mix well. Add the short ribs and coat. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to massage the marinade into the meat. Marinades are a matter of taste and can be customized to suit yours. Add sriracha sauce, more garlic, or anything else you want to infuse into the short ribs. Let marinate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Set up the grill and build a charcoal fire. When it’s hot, add soaked Applewood chips and cover the grill. Remove the short ribs from the marinade, removing as much from the surface as possible, and reserve. Place the short ribs around the perimeter of the grill, or away from direct heat. Cover and smoke, turning occasionally, making sure to expose all sided to the heat.
- When the short ribs have gotten enough smoke, this is a judgment call (about 30 minutes), remove and arrange in an ovenproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Add the reserved marinade and enough chicken broth* to cover.
- Put the covered casserole in a preheated 250°F. oven and bake, covered, for 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and move the ribs around ensuring all sides have a chance to be immersed in the liquid. Repeat this process for as many times as desired. The goal is to have very tender ribs. You might need to add more chicken broth throughout the baking. (Total baking time will take 4 to 6 hours; taste at 4 hours to determine if ribs are tender and if not, continue to bake and taste until the desired tenderness is reached.)
- Once you’re pleased with the tenderness, remove from the oven, remove lid and allow to cool for 3 to 4 hours. Once the casserole cools enough to handle with your bare hands, put on the lid and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
- In the morning, put the casserole on a low flame to warm the broth, very carefully remove the ribs and trim off the bones and any connective tissue. They will be very tender so be very careful. Discard the bones as they’ve done their job. At this point you can warm the ribs on a hot grill or in a hot pan.
The broth can be used as sauce or broth for soup. I like to portion it into ice cube trays and freeze it for future use. Whatever you do, realize it’s culinary gold and every bit as important as the short ribs themselves.
*Yes, chicken broth … the reason is that beef broth, in my opinion dominates the other flavors. The purpose of the broth is to provide a lightly flavored liquid for the ribs to slowly cook in.
Serve on a bed of cool, crisp butter lettuce with crispy hot roasted potatoes and a little drizzle of vinaigrette. I like to use the Korean Salad Vinaigrette recipe from our March 1st K-Town Eats post last year.
Makes 4 servings
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