There are short ribs and then there are short ribs. In our vending machines, at any time you might stop by, you’ll likely find three kinds of short ribs. They are all cut from the rib section and are universally delicious. The difference is in how you’ll want to cook them. Don’t let the names confuse you. Here’s a cheat sheet.
First up, there are traditional beef short ribs, which tend to be the most familiar short ribs to home cooks. These are palm-sized cubes, they each contain a little rib bone, and they are fatty in the best way possible. Typically beef short ribs are the sort of thing you slow cook until tender in colder months – or any time the urge strikes you, really. They do well with this method because the muscle is fairly well worked and braising and other low and slow cooking methods break it down and make it tender. Recently, those of us who like to play with our meat have started to experiment with grilling them. And the results are worth it. Want to try? Follow this Bon Appetit recipe.
Next, you might come across Korean-style short ribs aka flanken. We refer to these as thin-cut short ribs. They are cut horizontally from the front of the rib section so that you get long, thin pieces of meat studded with many ribs. It kind of looks like a strip of bacon. They have somewhat less fat than traditional short ribs, but a similar amount of sinew. Still, they don’t need a long and slow cook because we cut them very thin. They’re meant to be cooked quickly. We like them marinated and grilled.
Finally, you could score some boneless Korean-style short ribs. These aren’t bone-in versions with the bones removed. They’re actually not ribs at all. As the ribs get smaller on an animal, the bones disappear and curve, but the muscle remains. As a whole animal butcher shop, we get to choose what to do with that muscle. Sometimes we cut it as stew meat. Sometimes we grind it for ground beef. But we particularly like using it for a boneless Korean-style thin cut rib. It has the same great flavor and chew, and can be prepared the same way, but if you don’t love to nibble on small cross-cut bones, they’re the perfect option.
From time to time we may cut additional types of short ribs. Know that they’re going to be from the rib section and experiment! Look up a recipe and try them out. They might be your new favorites.