What will you be cooking over Labor Day weekend, as summer gives its last gasp and pool season starts to fade? While many will be firing up the grill for the last hurrah, make your Labor Day easy on yourself and turn on the oven. Yes, remember that appliance in your kitchen that has had a break over the last few months? It's time to let it get back to work making short ribs.
Short ribs are the answer when serving a crowd because they're less expensive than steak and really hard to mess up. They are tender, have a nice flavor profile and look good on a plate if you buy short ribs with the bones intact.
You'll need to start this dish in the morning. Preparation is easy — just some dicing and measuring, then there's not much left to do other than be patient while it bakes in the oven, becoming all the more tender hour by hour. Serve the ribs with your traditional Labor Day sides — baked beans, cornbread salad and slaw.
Short Ribs With Barbecue Beer Sauce
2 pounds short ribs, cut
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups diced celery
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 (16-ounce) bag baby carrots, cut in half on the bias
2 cups red wine
6-8 cups beef stock
8 ounces lager beer
2 cloves garlic, mashed
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
1 1/2 cups Smokehouse Black Pepper barbecue sauce (or your favorite brand)
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper, and place in a roasting pan or cast-iron skillet; sear on stovetop 4-5 minutes on each side until caramelized. Remove from pan, and set aside.
Add celery, onion and carrots to same pan; caramelize. Add red wine, and cook until reduced by 1/3 of original volume, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add beef stock, beer, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and short ribs into the wine reduction. Cover pan, and cook in oven for 5 hours.
When finished, remove beef and set aside. Strain remaining liquid to 1/3 of original volume, and cook over medium heat to reduce sauce. After the fat is skimmed from the liquid, coat each short rib with barbecue sauce. Serve immediately. This recipe is easily halved or doubled.
New on the market
Shredding a big pork butt is a lot harder than it looks. You almost have to manhandle the butt to get it off the grill and into a pan, then the task of shredding begins. But the new Meat Handler and Shredder from The Grommet makes it almost a breeze. The device comes in two identical parts — a "claw" for both hands, each with six super-sharp prongs and a nice-size, ergonomically correct handle.
Simply take hold of the shredders, and let the fun begin. But it does more than shred. It's also great for steadying a large turkey or roast while you carve. Makes a great stocking stuffer if you've already started thinking in that direction. The price is right, too — $12.99 at www.thegrommet.com.
Email Anne Braly at email@example.com.
Fare Exchange: Kitchen 'bests' begin with instant hot water, electric griddle, KitchenAid mixer, dual-fuel range