What Are Short Ribs of Beef? A Detailed Guide

Short ribs are a beloved and versatile cut of beef that comes from the rib section. With their rich, beefy flavor and tender texture when cooked low and slow, short ribs make for a mouthwatering meal.

In this detailed guide, we will cover everything you need to know about short ribs of beef including:

  • Where short ribs come from on the cow
  • The different cuts and styles of short ribs
  • Flavor profile and texture
  • How to cook short ribs
  • Popular short rib recipes
  • Short rib alternatives

So let’s get started and learn all about these delicious ribs!

Where Do Short Ribs Come From on a Cow?

Short ribs come from the upper rib section of beef cattle, most commonly between the chuck and plate primal cuts. More specifically, they are cut from the ribs closest to the chuck section, numbers 6 through 12.

Because these ribs are smaller and shorter than ribs closer to the loin, they are referred to as “short ribs.” The short ribs contain a good amount of connective tissue and fat which helps keep them moist during cooking.

The Different Cuts and Styles of Short Ribs

There are two main ways that short ribs are cut – English style and flanken style.

English Cut Short Ribs

  • This traditional cut leaves a portion of the bone attached to a thick piece of meat on top.
  • The meat slab sits on top of the rib bone.
  • English cut ribs are best for braising as the bone adds flavor.
  • Boneless English cut ribs are also available.
  • Comes as full racks of 4-6 bones or individual ribs.

Flanken Cut Short Ribs

  • Also known as Korean-style or BBQ short ribs.
  • Cut across the bones into thin strips with 3-4 rib bones in each piece.
  • Flanken style allows for more surface area for crisping and caramelization.
  • Best for grilling or broiling.
  • Typically 1⁄2 to 1 inch thick strips.

Flavor Profile and Texture of Short Ribs

The meat on beef short ribs comes from muscles that don’t get much exercise, so it has great intra-muscular marbling. This marbling provides:

  • Rich, beefy, savory flavor
  • Tender and moist texture when cooked properly
  • Excellent mouthfeel

Short ribs are considered a tough cut of meat due to the connective tissue. However, when cooked low and slow through methods like braising, the collagen melts into gelatin giving short ribs a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

The flavor is further enhanced by the bone which adds meatiness during cooking. The fat also bastes the meat keeping it juicy.

How to Cook Short Ribs

There are several great cooking methods that allow the connective tissue in short ribs to break down into gelatin, resulting in fork-tender meat:


This is the most common way to prepare short ribs. The ribs are seared and then simmered in liquid for 2-3 hours until fall-off-the-bone tender. Use broth, wine, tomatoes, or a combination.


Similar to braising but the short ribs cook in more liquid. Great for stovetop or slow cooker recipes.


Seasoned short ribs roast in the oven at 300-325°F for 2-3 hours. The meat turns incredibly tender.


Flanken style Korean short ribs do well with dry heat. Grill or broil them quickly to get a char while keeping them juicy.

Sous vide

Cooking short ribs in a water bath at 165°F for 24-48 hours breaks down connective tissue perfectly. Finish by searing.

Slow cooker

Low and slow cooking in a slow cooker renders short ribs fork-tender after 6-8 hours on low. Perfect for busy weeknights.

Instant Pot

Prepare delicious braised short ribs in under an hour in the convenience of an Instant Pot.

Popular Short Rib Recipes

Here are some classic and creative ways to use short ribs:

  • Braised short ribs – Traditionally braised in a red wine sauce until fall-off-the-bone tender.

  • BBQ short ribs – Generously sauced and smoked low and slow for finger-licking ribs.

  • Kalbi short ribs – Korean-style marinated grilled short ribs.

  • Short rib ragu – Rich, meaty pasta sauce made from shredded braised short ribs.

  • Short rib chili – All the flavor of classic chili with ultra-tender beef.

  • Short rib tacos – Smoked short rib meat heaped on warm corn tortillas.

  • Short rib hash – Leftover shredded short ribs meet crispy potatoes and peppers.

  • Stuffed short ribs – Short ribs rolled and stuffed with vegetables, cheese, or other fillings.

Alternatives to Short Ribs

While short ribs have a uniquely delicious flavor and texture, here are some suitable alternatives:

  • Boneless short ribs – The same tender meat without the bone. Requires less cooking time.

  • Chuck roast – Well-marbled like short ribs but cut from the shoulder. Braise or slow cook.

  • Beef shank – From the leg, with even more collagen. Make unctuous osso buco.

  • Flank steak – Affordable cut that does well with moist cooking. Slice across the grain.

  • Brisket – Similar marbling and fat. Needs low and slow cooking to get tender.

What are Beef Ribs and What are the Different Styles | The Bearded Butchers


What are beef short ribs good for?

Beef short ribs are the absolute best cut of beef for slow cooking! The most tender and succulent fall apart beef you will ever have, you’d pay top dollar at fine dining restaurants for a plate of these Braised Beef Short Ribs.

What is another name for short rib meat?

They may also be known as barbecue ribs, braising ribs, or fancy cut ribs. A section of short ribs from the plate (ribs six through eight, with their intercostal muscle) is known as a “short plate”. Rib short ribs are almost always sold as a plate.

What cut of meat is a beef short rib?

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.

What’s the difference between beef ribs and beef short ribs?

Short ribs are shorter and flatter while the back ribs are longer and curved. The other difference is in the amount of meat that is on each type of rib. Short ribs will have less meat because they come from the chuck primal which is a tougher section of the cow.

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