From Cook’s Country August/September 2010

Grill-Braised Short Ribs

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:To cook the ribs and prepare a flavorful sauce for our Grill-Braised Short Ribs at the same time, we started the ribs covered and removed the lid of our aluminum pan halfway through. This allowed the flavors in the sauce to concentrate. Instead of relying on herbs and vegetables to flavor the dish, we let the ribs do the heavy lifting. Some onions, along with brown sugar, thyme, salt, and pepper, were all it took to complement the meat.

Beefy short ribs were an ideal match for the malty depth of a beer-based braise, but the wrong style of beer resulted in a bitter dish. We found sweet, mellow wheat beer to be the best option.


Serves 4

We prefer the cheaper and easier-to-find English-style ribs, which contain a single rib bone. Blue Moon and Shock Top are two widely available brands of Belgian-style wheat beers.


  • 2 (12-ounce) bottles wheat beer (see note)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5 pounds beef short ribs (6 to 8 English-style ribs) (see note), trimmed of excess fat
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1. HEAT GRILL Heat all burners on high, covered, for 15 minutes. (For charcoal grill, light about 100 coals. When they are covered with fine gray ash, spread evenly over bottom of grill. Set cooking grate in place and heat, covered, with lid vent open halfway, for 5 minutes.) Scrape and oil cooking grate.
2. SEASON AND SEAR Combine beer, water, brown sugar, and thyme in large disposable aluminum pan; set aside. Pat ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Brush onion rounds with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until ribs are well browned and onions are lightly charred, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
3. COVER AND SIMMER Transfer ribs, bone side up, and onions to pan with beer mixture, cover with foil, and place pan on grill. Turn all burners to low and cook, covered, until ribs are nearly tender, about 1½ hours.
4. UNCOVER RIBS (For charcoal grill, light about 50 coals. When they are covered with fine gray ash, remove grill grate and -scatter evenly over spent coals.) Remove foil and continue to cook until ribs are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, about 1½ hours more. Transfer ribs and onions to serving platter and tent with foil. Strain sauce through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator. Let liquid settle, then pour defatted sauce into bowl. Serve, passing sauce at table.


Braised short ribs aren’t just for winter nights; we’ve translated them to the grill.

1. Searing the ribs and the onions on the grill gives them a smoky char.

2. Braising the onions and ribs in the beer mixture, covered, tenderizes the meat and flavors the liquid.

3. Uncovering the pan for the last 1 1⁄2 hours of cooking reduces and concentrates the liquid.