Slow Cooker

Smoked Porter & Apple Braised Short Ribs

January  5, 2011
5 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I had some smoked porter made by the Alaskan Brewing Company, and suspected it would be great for braising short ribs. I thought apples, leeks, and fennel would compliment the beer's flavor so used them in place of a traditional mirepoix. The beer with the apples made me think of rye bread for some odd reason, so I added caraway seed to the mix. The resulting sauce is rich and slightly tangy. It's got a whisper of bitterness from the beer and caraway, which I think adds nice flavor depth. A small amount of brown sugar added at the end of cooking will temper the bitterness if desired. My absolute favorite thing to serve this with is mashed parsnips. The sweetness from the parsnips is a perfect foil for the succulent beef and robust sauce. - hardlikearmour —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

Beer + beef... what a great combination. Throw in some apples, leeks and fennel and it is 10 times better. With a delicious, rich sauce, this meal screams out for a cozy fire and a lovely bottle of red wine. - Victoria —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 4 pounds English-style short ribs, trimmed of excess fat and fascia
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Braeburn (or other sweet/tart) apples
  • 4 medium leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 1 large fennel bulb (or substitute 2 celery stalks and 2 tsp fennel seed)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken broth
  • 22 ounces bottle Alaskan Brewing Company smoked porter (or other porter)
  • 2 shots espresso or 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 to 8 springs fresh thyme
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • brown sugar
  1. Core apples and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Cut leeks in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch half moons. (Make sure to clean your leeks well, dirt likes to hide between the layers!) Core and roughly dice fennel bulb.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until smoking. Add half of beef and cook on each side until well browned. Do not move the pieces until nice crust has formed, which should take about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer beef to medium bowl. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and ribs.
  3. Pour out all but 2 Tablespoons oil. Reduce heat to medium, add apples, leeks, and fennel (or celery), and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown (about 10 – 15 minutes.) While they are cooking mince the garlic. Add garlic and caraway seed (and fennel seed if using) cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and stir to combine for about 1 minute. Add broth, beer, espresso, mustard, thyme, and bay leaves, then stir, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any stuck bits. Add ribs and any accumulated juices to pot, nestling the ribs in, so they are submerged. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and transfer pot to oven and cook until tender, turning ribs once at about 90 minutes. Ribs will take at least 2 & ½ to 3 hours to cook. Transfer pot to wire rack and allow to cool partially covered for about 1 hour.
  4. Transfer ribs to a large plate, scraping off excess apple and veggie bits clinging to the ribs. Strain liquid into medium bowl, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Transfer liquid into a fat separator, allow to sit for 5 or so minutes, then pour liquid into clean bowl. Discard the fat. You may need to do this in batches. Clean your dutch oven.
  5. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in dutch oven over medium-low heat. Once it has stopped sputtering, add the sliced shallots and a pinch of brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots are lightly caramelized.
  6. Add the braising liquid to the dutch oven, and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by about 1/3 to ½ depending on personal preference. Taste the liquid, and add salt and pepper to taste. Add brown sugar to taste (1 to 2 tablespoons) to temper bitterness from the beer and caraway. Reduce heat to medium, and add the ribs back to the pan. Simmer until the ribs are heated through, stirring and flipping ribs occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with something that can soak up the sauce.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Karen Brooks
    Karen Brooks
  • Jenn Garagliano
    Jenn Garagliano
  • Rocio Fernandez
    Rocio Fernandez
  • Well Worn Whisk
    Well Worn Whisk
  • fiveandspice
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

25 Reviews

Karen B. October 20, 2021
Absolutely fabulous sauce! My butcher was out of short ribs, so I subbed in a chuck roast, figuring that anything that is good with short ribs would also be good for pot roast. Also couldn't find smoked porter, so used regular porter and used half smoked salt and half sea salt for a subtle smoke taste. My husband literally licked the plate!
Jenn G. January 6, 2020
We made this last night and it was delicious! However, there really is no need to fully wash your dutch oven after the meat is cooked and before sauteeing the shallots. Just scrape out your pan with a spatula, and then start your butter. The next time I make this I am going to try to add another apple with the shallots to get a richer sauce and avoid needing some brown sugar to sweeten the bitterness. Served it last night over creamy cheesy polenta with sauteed spinach. YUM!
Judith K. April 9, 2016
Found this recipe in food and wine. First time to cook short ribs. This is fantastic, even though much time in prep. Glad to finally find this site. thanks!!
Rocio F. February 22, 2015
I just prepared this recipe last night and it was simply delicious. One of the best things I ever cooked. Simple and so complex at the same time. the bitter ness of the sauce is just perfect. The short ribs I bought were excellent, with a lot of meat and fat, and cooked very quickly so 2 and a half hours were probably too much of cooking time and the meat fell apart making the presentation less pretty but equally delicious. Thanks a lot
Well W. December 11, 2012
I'm a bit late to this... like, 3 years, but this looks amaaaaazing. We Brits are way behind you Yanks when it comes to ribs. Going to try this, oh yes.
fiveandspice January 13, 2011
Yay! Glad to see this got an EP! Yum. :)
hardlikearmour January 13, 2011
Thanks! It was a bright spot in an otherwise yucky day.
Table9 January 12, 2011
Loving the flavors in this dish. Great idea with the coffee!
hardlikearmour January 12, 2011
Thanks. It was a last minute addition thanks to a Portland Monthly magazine article.
cheese1227 January 10, 2011
If you can't get the smoked porter (live in PA where the state gov't has a stranglehold on the beer, wine and liquor distribution channel), I can obvioulsy use a local porter, but anything I can add to get the "smoke"?
hardlikearmour January 10, 2011
The smoked porter isn't ridiculously smoky, so maybe just a small amount of liquid smoke. I'd probably start with a 1/4 tsp, and add more if you wanted it smokier.
Jenn G. January 6, 2020
We didn't have smoked porter so we used Guiness instead. For the smokey flavor we used a combo of Hickory Smoked Sea Salt and a Bourbon Smoked Pepper in lieu of regular S&P. It was still delicious!
clintonhillbilly January 6, 2011
this sounds really delicious. i love the idea of using smoked porter with short ribs
hardlikearmour January 6, 2011
Thanks. I think the smoked porter makes the sauce extra rich, but I'm likely biased.
Sagegreen January 5, 2011
Love your flavor combinations! Very succulent, and with parsnips, divine.
hardlikearmour January 5, 2011
Thanks, I really love parsnips. Such an under-appreciated veggie!
Oui, C. January 5, 2011
I LOVE porter, but have never had a smoked one. I'll have to search out some, if only to make this great sounding dish. - S
hardlikearmour January 5, 2011
Thanks, Oui, Chef! The smoked porter is really good, imo. You should get some to drink, and if there's any leftover you could make the dish!
fiveandspice January 5, 2011
Wow, this looks awesome! I love a good smoked porter, and the idea of cooking with it is brilliant!
hardlikearmour January 5, 2011
I love smoked porter, too. When I was tinkering with the recipe, I'd only make a half batch at a time, leaving plenty for myself to drink!
fiveandspice January 5, 2011
Haha! Yes. I totally do that too!
Midge January 5, 2011
Love all the flavors going on here. Sounds great!
hardlikearmour January 5, 2011
Thanks, Midge!
aargersi January 5, 2011
Wow, these sound really good - I like the idea of leaving them the slightest bit bitter and serving with the sweet parsnips.
hardlikearmour January 5, 2011
Thanks! I think the sauce is excellent with the parsnips.