Sweet and Sour Beef Short Ribs

Another visit to Suika Snack Bar spawned this creation.  When we entered the restaurant, what I noticed was the many tables that were being delivered a large beef short rib standing alone on a plate with just a scallion garnish.  Must order.  When it came, Stella's eyes widened, and with knife and form in hand, she dug right in.  I had just one bite and it was delicious.  I reminded me of David Chang's oxtail I had tried to recreate a couple of years ago.  I'm going to give this a similar treatment and hope it can measure up to Suika's short rib.

8 short ribs - about 4 pounds
1 onion, cut into large pieces
1/2 garlic head, cut in half crosswise
2 cups Simply apple juice
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

A word about the short ribs.  At Suika, they served a whole short rib, that is one that is one long rib.  At the store, the butcher has usually cut that in half and so you get a shorter rib, like the ones I'm using today.  I have bought short ribs in the long form before.  If you ask the butcher, they may have them in the back where they have not cut them up yet.  The long ones are good for serving as a single item, small dish, like Suika did.  But for us tonight, the shorter ones are easier to manage from a cooking perspective and since presentation does not matter as much, might as well make life a little easier.

In a large heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat.  Brown the short ribs in batches, so not to crowd the pot.  Set them aside on a dish after browning.  Once all of the ribs are browned, remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onion and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.  
Deglaze the pot with the apple juice and then the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a  boil.
Return the ribs to the pot.  I put the meatier side down.  Cover the pot and turn heat to low.  Simmer for about 75-90 minutes, until ribs are tender, but not completely falling off the bone.
Remove the ribs from the pot to a dish.  Cover with foil so the ribs do not dry out.
Strain the sauce to remove the onion and garlic.  Remove the fat from the sauce.  I use a fat separator.  Or you can use a spoon to skim the fat off the top.
Return the sauce to the pot and boil until reduced to about 1 cup.  The sauce should be thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon.  

Fill a heavy skillet with about 1/4 inch of oil.  I chose to go with this method of frying rather than deep frying.  Less mess, less grease, and just to see if it makes a difference.
Heat the oil over medium to medium high heat, until it reaches 325f.
Uncover the short ribs and pat dry with paper towels.  This will help with oil splatter, but you should use one of those splatter guards as there will be splatter, so be careful.
Fry the ribs on all sides until they are lightly crispy, or just firmed up a bit on the exterior.  Do this in batches and remove the ribs to a paper towel lined dish to soak up and residual oil.
Toss the ribs in the pot of sauce before serving.  Serve extra sauce on the side.
For the garnish, very thinly slice scallions / green onions lengthwise.  Cut them into the size of 3-4" long strands of angel hair pasta.  Soak them in cold water and they will curl up.
I love a good short rib!


  1. oh they look oishi! I suspect Suika, like so much of Japanese cooking, adds more sweetness/sugar.


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