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Beef Short Rib Ragu

Cooks in 4 hours Difficulty Medium

Beef Short Rib Ragu

Recipe by thesal28_wpCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium



I know, I know. You looked at the length of the ingredient list for this dish and groaned. It is a bit lengthy, but most of the ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. And trust me, the results are worth the effort. Beef Short Rib Ragu is the stuff of Slow Sunday afternoon dreams. The aroma of the beef cooking in the herbs and port wine is intoxicating. It will make an ordinary weekend seem celebratory and the lucky ones who get to share this meal will feel like they are in some exclusive club (because they are).

Short ribs are one of those cuts of meat that are unnecessarily intimidating. Unlike steaks or roasting cuts, they are practically impossible to ruin. After a quick sear, you will cook them low and slow until they practically fall off the bone. The hardest part is defatting the braising liquid, but armed with my method for removing fat from pan juices, you can’t go wrong! For the braising liquid, I prefer a combination of ruby Port wine and red wine. The Port wine adds a little sweetness which I absolutely adore. Yes, you can make them without Port wine, and use regular red wine (I do this when I’m out of Port wine), but I like the kiss of sweetness. It is also possible to braise the short ribs entirely in beef stock if you have no wine. The sauce will be lighter in color, but still very flavorful. If you do this, I suggest adding 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp of soy sauce to your beef stock.

Once the short ribs are done braising, you will shred the meat, defat the braising liquid, and add the meat and the liquid to your simple tomato sauce. The result is nothing short of heavenly!

Now for the big question – what to serve the Short Rib Ragu with? Pasta is a no brainer, as is gnocchi, but it is lovely on top of polenta, risotto or even spaghetti squash, for a lighter option.

Also: You may be confused about the addition of soy sauce at the end as this is a very Italian feeling dish. I have learned that adding the trifecta of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to any beef braise makes it taste absolutely heavenly. Try it and I’m sure you’ll be convinced!

*UPDATED 1/20/24


  • 4 medium carrots, peeled

  • 3 ribs celery

  • 2 large onions

  • 1 tbsp grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 4 lbs. English cut short ribs, trimmed of excess fat and silver skin (about 6 short ribs)

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced, divided

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste, divided

  • 2 cups red wine (I prefer half red wine and half ruby port, but use what you got)

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1-2 cups beef broth

  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 32 oz. tomato puree (unsalted)

  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil

  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Read this step carefully because it details how you will cut your onions, carrots, and celery. We will be cutting them in large pieces for the short rib braise, and small pieces for the sauce, which is the base of the short rib ragu. Cut 2 carrots, 2 ribs of celery, and one of the onions into large, 2 inch chunks. Finely dice the remaining carrots, celery, and onion.
  • Heat the grapeseed oil in a 6 quart Dutch oven (“pot”) over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with 2 tsp Kosher salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. When the oil is hot, brown the short ribs on all sides. Remove the short ribs from the pot and transfer to a large platter.
  • Remove and discard all but 2 tbsp of fat from the pot and return the pot to the burner, reducing heat to medium. Add the large cuts of onion, carrots and celery, and cook until the vegetables begin to soften and brown slightly, about 8 minutes. Add half of your garlic and cook for another minute. Add 1 tbsp tomato paste and stir into vegetables, cooking for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the short ribs back to the pot, nestling them into the vegetables. Add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and red wine to the pot. Add the soy sauce and the Worcestershire sauce to the pot then add enough broth to the pot to come to the tops of ribs. Bring the liquids to a boil over high heat.
  • Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Cook the short ribs for 3 1/2 hours.
  • While the short ribs braise, begin making the tomato sauce (the base of the ragu) in a separate pot (at least 4 quart capacity).
  • To prepare the sauce, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then add your finely diced onion, carrot, and celery. Add the remaining minced garlic and 1/4 tsp Kosher salt, and stir. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned at edges, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining tomato paste and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato puree, basil, oregano, 1 tsp Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, sugar, and balsamic vinegar to the vegetable mixture and stir to incorporate. Cover the pot and bring the sauce a low boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.  Simmer sauce, with the lid on, but slightly tilted, for at least one hour and up to 4, while the short ribs are in the oven. Stir the sauce occasionally to ensure that the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • When the short ribs are finished cooking, transfer the Dutch oven to your stove top, remove the lid, and cool until you can handle the pot with your hands.
  • Transfer the ribs from the pot to a large plate, removing any excess veggies that cling to them. Remove the thyme and rosemary sprigs and discard. Discard any loose bones that have fallen away from the meat. Allow the braising liquid to cool until it is safe to handle. Strain the braising liquid into a heat-safe receptacle. Defat the pan drippings by using a gravy separator OR using my easy zip-lock bag method (watch this video for an easy reference on how to do this). Discard the fat. Reserve the braising liquid.
  • Using two forks, remove the short rib meat from the bones and shred it into bite sized pieces.
  • Add the shredded meat and the defatted short rib braising liquid into the tomato sauce. Stir and simmer for about 30 minutes. Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper and serve Short Rib Ragu over your favorite pasta, polenta, or risotto with lots of Parmesan Cheese on top.

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