Where Do Beef Short Ribs Come From on the Cow?

Beef short ribs are a tasty and versatile cut of meat perfect for braising, grilling, or barbecuing. But have you ever wondered exactly where short ribs are located on a cow and what part of the animal they come from? Here is a complete guide to understanding the anatomy of beef short ribs.

Short Ribs Come from 4 Primal Cuts

Beef short ribs can come from one of four primal cuts on the cow:

  • Chuck
  • Plate
  • Rib
  • Brisket

They are named “short ribs” because they contain short segments of the rib bone surrounded by flavorful beef.

Chuck Short Ribs

  • The chuck primal is in the shoulder region.

  • Chuck short ribs come from the serratus ventralis muscle that runs along the animal’s ribcage.

  • This is the preferred location for short ribs because the serratus ventralis is thickest in the chuck. It contains the most marbling and beefy flavor.

  • Chuck short ribs are cut perpendicular to the bone so each rib bone has a thick piece of tender, fatty meat attached.

Plate Short Ribs

  • The beef plate primal is located under the chuck primal on the cow’s underside.

  • Short ribs from the plate have less meat and fat compared to chuck short ribs.

  • They are prismatic in shape rather than the block shape of chuck short ribs.

  • Plate short ribs are more affordable but not as flavorful.

Rib Short Ribs

  • Beef rib short ribs come from the rib primal section along the upper chest.

  • They contain a thinner layer of meat over the bones compared to chuck short ribs.

  • The meat tends to be leaner since the rib section contains less fat.

  • Rib short ribs are not as widely available as other types.

Brisket Short Ribs

  • Brisket short ribs come from the breast primal which is also along the cow’s underbelly.

  • They contain a thin strip of meat between the bones.

  • Brisket ribs have good flavor but can be chewy if not cooked properly.

  • They require long, slow braising to become tender.

Where to Find Short Ribs on the Cow

This chart provides a quick visual overview of where short ribs originate on the cow’s body:

| Primal Cut | Location |
| Chuck | Shoulder region |
| Plate | Underside of chest |
| Rib | Upper ribcage |
| Brisket | Lower chest/breast |

Common Cuts of Short Ribs

There are two main styles that beef short ribs are cut into:

Flanken Cut

  • Flanken style has thin strips of meat between bones sliced across the ribs.

  • Contains 3-5 rib bones per piece.

  • The meat runs perpendicular to the bone.

  • Also called cross-cut or Korean-style short ribs.

English Cut

  • English style short ribs contain a thick square of meat on top of the bone.

  • Can be 4+ inches of meat atop the bone.

  • Cut parallel to the rib bone so meat and bone run in same direction.

  • Also called braising ribs.

Where to Find Short Ribs in the Grocery Store

Look for short ribs in the meat case alongside other beef cuts like roasts and steaks. They may also be found presliced and wrapped in the prepared meats section.

When buying, choose short ribs with bright red meat and white fat cap. Avoid any with dry, brown edges. For best results, ask the butcher for chuck short ribs which have the most flavorful marbling.

How Are Short Ribs Used?

Due to their rich meaty taste, short ribs are ideal for:

  • Braising and stewing
  • Grilling and barbecuing
  • Slow cooking in a smoker or oven
  • Broiling
  • Soups and stews

Their high collagen content makes short ribs perfect for low and slow cooking methods that break down connective tissues.


Knowing exactly where beef short ribs originate from on the cow helps you select the best quality short ribs. While they come from 4 primal cuts, the chuck provides optimal flavor and tenderness. Look for chuck short ribs when purchasing for your next braise, grill, or soup. With proper cooking, these flavorful ribs will become fork tender and juicy.

How to Butcher Short Ribs – where do they come from?


Where do beef short ribs come from on the cow?

Short ribs are a cut of beef taken from the brisket, chuck, plate, or rib areas of beef cattle. They consist of a short portion of the rib bone and the surrounding meat, which varies in thickness.

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

Cut: The back ribs are cut from the upper back of the cow. Short ribs are cut from the lower portion of the rib cage in the front section of the cow. Short ribs are directly beneath the back ribs.

Is beef short rib a good cut?

Chuck Short Ribs A crowd favorite, known for their richness and meatiness. Flavorful, moist and tender when slow-cooked.

What is the closest meat to beef short ribs?

Flavorful, easy-to-prep boneless short ribs aren’t actually cut from the rib section of the cow, as their name implies. They are cut from the chuck, or shoulder, of the animal. For that reason, chuck roast is the best substitute when boneless short ribs are unavailable.

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