Grilled Beef Short Ribs for a Lazy Summer Day

About 10 years ago, braised beef short ribs were very popular in restaurants (maybe they still are—I don’t eat out often enough to know) and home cooks joined the bandwagon. Due to the nature of the short rib there is no way you will be cooking this when you come home from work because it will take too long.  That’s why short ribs are perfect for a wintery Saturday as a braise, but you can also grill them very slowly too in the summer.  There should not be any mystery behind short ribs, but some cooks seem at a loss.  That’s probably because they are unfamiliar with the cut and that different cuts come from different parts of the cow and require different cooking methods.  Short ribs are a beef cut from the region known as chuck, the portion of the cow running from the shoulders down a bit to include the shorter portion of the ribs, hence the name.  This is a very tough piece of meat with lots of connective tissue.  It needs long slow cooking to break this down and create the melt-in-your-mouth result that we all love to replicate.  There’s one secret and that’s to cook it a ridiculously long time at a very low temperature.  This means it should cook between 5 and 6 hours.  The most appropriate way to cook them is by braising or stewing. To grill them, you will make a not-very-hot and not-very big fire on one side of the firebox and you will have to replenish coals every now and then, meaning this is a dish for a long-lasting grill party where someone, preferably the cook, will be around the fire for 6 hours in order to tend to the meat. You don’t need to season the meat any more than just salt and pepper.  The heat must be low, so at no time should the meat be over the fire and you must let the coals die down considerably and replenish them sparingly. Use the grill cover, but if it seems the meat is cooking too fast take the cover off.

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