Good Recipe for a Crowd: Beer-Braised Short Ribs

We've made this recipe a couple of times, always to rave reviews. Short ribs aren't on this list of Best Cuts for Braising, but they works fantastically well, cook quickly, and aren't expensive. Here they are (covered in a thick coating of brown sugar, paprika, curry, and cumin) before we browned and braised them. It was too dark to photograph the "after," but we've got Gourmet's shot below...
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We spent a little less than $30 and had enough meat to feed seven or eight people. When we found this recipe, though, the reviews on Epicurious were mixed. The recipe is actually titled "Stout-Braised Short Ribs," and many people mentioned a bitter, unpleasant taste from the strong stout beer. Others loved it.

So we played it safe the first time we made it, compromising with a Yuengling Black & Tan that was half porter and half lighter lager. It was perfect, not bitter at all. When we made the dish again last night, we used Sam Adams Winter Lager and noticed a less robust flavor, but overall the dish was still great.

Short ribs tend to be a little fatty, but they're extremely tender, fall-off-the-bone good when in this type of dish, and it's easy to pick away the meat from the fat while you eat.

The recipe calls for rubbing the ribs with a spice mixture, then letting them sit in the fridge for an hour before browning them and adding all of the other ingredients for the braise. There are a few steps that take a little time, but not much—and once you get them in the oven, they only cook for 2 1/2 hours. In other words, it's a great make-ahead dish, and it can certainly sit in a warm oven for a while after it's cooked, but you can also start dinner in the afternoon and still have everything ready.

Related: Ingredient Spotlight: Cooking with Beer

(Images: Elizabeth Passarella; Romulo Yanes for Gourmet)

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