At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What are Short Ribs?

Lori Smith
Lori Smith

Short ribs are cuts of beef taken from the underside of a cow's rib cage, where the meat is often more tender than other rib cuts. They are enjoyed for their rich flavor, and are generally meatier than spareribs, which come from the top side of a cow's rib cage. Short ribs are quite popular in many parts of the world, including the United States, Asia, and Europe. There are many ways to prepare this cut of beef, but slow-cooking methods typically yield the tastiest results.

The most common way to cook short ribs is to first brown, or sear, the beef in a skillet, and then bake it in the oven, at a low temperature, for several hours. Some cooks find it easier to use a Crock-Pot®, which allows a cook to prepare the short ribs early in the day, and slowly simmer them for up to ten hours. When the short ribs are properly prepared and ready to eat, the succulent meat should practically fall off the bone. Quite often, potatoes or other vegetables can be added to the baking pan or Crock-Pot® for a complete, tasty meal.

Beef short ribs are frequently used in galbi.
Beef short ribs are frequently used in galbi.

In the United Kingdom, where short ribs are known as Jacob’s ladder, they are often prepared using the slow-cooking method of braising. Similar cooking styles are used in French and American cuisine as well. The dish is often served with meat on the bones.

Some people prefer the smoky flavor of rib meat cooked on an outdoor grill. Quite often, it is first baked for a short time in the oven to help reduce grilling time. Barbecue sauces, herbs, and spices are frequently added, enhancing the flavor. Basting the meat with a marinade while it grills usually prevents it from drying out. For the most part, the ribs are presented with the bone in place, but in some cases, they are removed prior to serving.

Many people cook short ribs on a grill.
Many people cook short ribs on a grill.

A popular Korean short ribs dish called galbi is one recipe in which the meat is prepared on the grill and served without the bones. The meat is cut into strips and marinated in a Korean soy sauce prior to grilling. Often, green onions, sesame oil, and garlic enhance the marinade, along with sugar or honey, giving the dish subtle sweetness. Once the meat is grilled, the pieces of rib meat are served with white rice, and sometimes wrapped with a lettuce leaf. Spicy Korean red bean paste, or red pepper paste, combined with garlic can be added to the wrap to construct a tangy, flavorful entrée.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


I have a great rub for beef short ribs that uses chilli powder, brown sugar, cumin and garlic salt. It gives the ribs a thick and flavorful crust that is an amazing compliment to the rich tender meat underneath.

I have always preferred rubbed meats to sauced meats. I know so many people who slather their BBQ in sauce at every step. You barely taste the meat under all that sauce. I like to use the rub because it only compliments the meat. If people want to add more sauce that is up to them.


Lots of people swear by baked short ribs but for my money only smoked short ribs are worth it. The baked ones are not bad, don't get me wrong, but the smoked ones are so much better that why would you eat them any other way?

Lots of people are intimidated by smoking meats but it is really easier and faster than people expect, especially with something like short ribs. They only take a few hours and the smoker does not require that much tending. You can get a small one that will fit on any deck or patio. Seriously, give it a try. You will be amazed by the results. Don't be surprised if you find yourself sucking the bones.


Short ribs are one of my all time favorite foods. If I had to enter an eating contest and I could choose any food to eat in mass quantities it would definitely be short ribs. As a matter of fact, does anyone know of a contest like that? I honestly think I could win. And even if I lost I would sure enjoy trying.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Beef short ribs are frequently used in galbi.
      By: robynmac
      Beef short ribs are frequently used in galbi.
    • Many people cook short ribs on a grill.
      By: amenic181
      Many people cook short ribs on a grill.