barbecued short ribs

For the entirety of my life I have hated ketchup.  I think I can trace this back to a time when, as a curious three-year-old, I chewed on a ketchup packet and it exploded in my mouth.  It was so traumatic and disgusting that I still remember it and am still scarred.  But apparently not liking ketchup runs in the family because my brother hates it, too.  My dad does understand this at all because, as he claims, “ketchup was invented to get kids to eat things.”

I dislike ketchup (and plain old yellow mustard) so much that when I squirted these condiments on top of the short ribs I took a picture of the firework colors and it disgusts me so much to look at that I’m not going to post it here.  And I’m sure all of this talk about how much I hate the ingredients of this dish is doing a lot to convince you to make this recipe.  I’m so great at this whole food writing thing, aren’t I?

Ok, so seriously.  There is one word that describes these short ribs: succulent.  And despite what the title says, these are not barbecued at all.  They’re braised.  It’s more that they have a flavor reminiscent of barbecue.  Short ribs are full of fat, and when they’re braised this fat melts away into rich flavor.  They are tender and juicy and absolutely no knife is required–they pull away like a pot roast, but no sauce is necessary (unlike a dry, overcooked roast).  No, these are juicy and moist and the meat absolutely melts in your mouth with a buttery flavor (but…surprise!  This is a Paula Deen recipe and there is absolutely no butter in it).  I love that I can make these indoors and serve it with some corn on the cob and feel like I’m having a barbecue, even though we live in an apartment and aren’t allowed to have a grill.

Barbecued Short Ribs
adapted from Paula Deen

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours

Serves 4

2 pounds short ribs (in 2 inch pieces)*
salt
1/4 cup onion,  minced
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Trim the top layer of fat from the short ribs.  Place pieces of fat in a large heavy bottomed pot and cook over medium-high heat until the bottom is lightly coated with fat.
2. Season short ribs with salt.  In batches, add short ribs to pot, browning them on all sides and removing them when they are done.
3.  Once all of the short ribs have been browned, add onion to pot.  Season with salt and cook until lightly browned.
4. Return short ribs to pot.  Add water, ketchup, brown sugar, lemon juice, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.
5. Cover pot and cook on low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until short ribs are tender.

* When you buy these, you may think that it is entirely too much meat for four people, but these shrink down A LOT.

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