Ribs 101

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THE MEAT OF THE MATTER: KOSHER MEAT TIPS FROM NAF HANAU, GROW AND BEHOLD FOODS

naftali hanau

Naftali Hanau grew up around the corner from the kosher butcher, and has loved meat from a young age. He eventually learned shechita and founded our favorite kosher meat company, Grow and Behold Foods, which sells delicious OU Glatt kosher pastured meat to customers all over the USA. Naf joins us here at JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller every month to break down various cuts of meat, serve up his secret recipes and answer your "meaty" questions. Post comments below, or contact Naf directly at meatexpert@growandbehold.com.

Ribs 101

Short, Spare, Back, Racks. Do you grill them or smoke them? And when do you know if they are done? And can you cook Flanken on the grill? 

In this month’s Meat of the Matter, Naftali Hanau, CEO and founder of Grow and Behold Foods takes us on a guided tour of the wonderful world of beef ribs, which is where you’ll find some of the tastiest meat on the whole steer.

There are three main categories of beef ribs: Short Ribs (which has a number of derivative cuts which we’ll explain below), Back Ribs, and Flanken.

MORE: Perfect Steak Cooking and Grilling Tips

Short Ribs

Short Ribs are the most common rib cut, and can be cut in a number of different ways. They are cut from the rib bones in the plate, which is a very well-marbled section of the steer. They do best when cooked slowly over low heat (smoked, braised or slow-roasted in an oven), rendering the fat and collagen into intensely flavorful drippings, and producing tender, melt-in-your mouth meat. They are more marbled than Flanken or Back Ribs.

Short Ribs can be cut in a number of different ways: 

  •  3-Bone Short Rib Rack is a rack of three bones with meat in between and on top of the bones. Good for BBQ ribs on the grill or in a smoker. We recommend cooking first, then adding BBQ sauce or any other thick, sweet or umami glaze to the ribs during the last hour of cooking, or just before serving, so that it doesn’t get too burned. 
  • Spare Ribs are made from a three-bone short rib cut into 1 ½″ slices (parallel to the rib bones) to create uniform pieces. Spare Ribs will cook a little faster than the Rack, but similar to the Rack, there is meat both on the sides of the bones and on top. These cook well on the grill (same marinating suggestions as above). 
  • Plate Flanken is a 3-bone short rib cut perpendicular to the bones. Each piece is about 2″ high by 8-9″ long, and includes three bones with meat in between. These are best braised in liquid an oven or crock pot with aromatics like red wine, herbs, onions, garlic, citrus, soy sauce, porcini mushrooms, etc. 
  • Korean Short Ribs are a very narrow slice of plate flanken that can be cooked like a steak. Sear over high heat, then transfer to a cooler part of the grill to allow the fats to render and meat to become tender. 
  • English Short Ribs are perfect 2″ squares that make for a beautiful presentation. Perfect for braising; can also be seared after braising for a crisp exterior. 

BEER BRAISED SHORT RIBS

Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Butternut Squash and Spinach

This marbled cut is best prepared low and slow, so you can braise them just like your favorite brisket or even throw them in a slow cooker. In the end, you will have super tender fall-off-the-bone meat. 

KOREAN SHORT RIBS

KOREAN SHORT RIBS

This marinade works well for other high heat grilling steaks as well. Be sure to use low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg liquid amino acids so that your meat doesn’t end up too salty, since the thin steaks will really absorb the marinade.

MORE: What Is London Broil And How To Cook It

Back Ribs

Back Ribs are the same ribs that are on a Bone-In Rib Steak, and are produced when we cut Rib-Eye Steaks or Filet Mignon. They are longer, and arrive as a rack of four 8” bones with strips of meat in between (sometimes called “finger meat”). The meat is, similar to rib steaks, very tender and fairly lean. While these ribs have the least amount of meat on them (compared to the others), the meat is the most tender and can be cooked quickly at high heat. Sometimes called “Dinosaur Ribs” because they are so larger, they hold up well with a nice marinade or rub then a quick sear on the grill or under the broiler. (However you like to season your steaks, you can season these Back Ribs, although avoid fresh garlic if you’re broiling or grilling since it will burn.)

BASIC BACK RIBS

Basic Back Ribs

Find out how to grill these Basic Back Ribs to perfection with only 3 basic ingredients.  

MORE: How to Cook a Roast

Flanken

Flanken are cut from the front five ribs on the steer, those that are part of the Chuck (shoulder) which is a leaner section of meat than the plate. Because they are less marbled, they are generally cooked in liquid so they stay moist. While they can be smoked, we don’t recommend it. Flanken is great for chulent, stew and chili.

GINGER SOY SHORT RIBS OR FLANKEN

GINGER SOY FLANKEN

Infused with Asian flavors such as ginger, soy, rice vingar and cayenne, then served with fun udon noodles, this sticky ginger soy marinade pairs perfectly with short ribs or flanken.  

 

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