Short-Rib Beef Stew with Ale

Beef short-ribs, slow cooked and braised in brown ale. A hearty winter stew.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp hot paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) a malty brown ale (we used Newcastle Brown ale)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 pound turnips (optional)

Method

1 Place bacon strips in a large (5 to 6 quart), thick-bottomed Dutch oven. Set the heat to medium high and cook the bacon until much of the fat has been rendered. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon fat from pot. (Do not pour down the drain or you will clog your drain when the fat hardens as it cools.)

2 Preheat oven to 300°F. While the bacon is cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, hot paprika, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Dredge the short ribs in the flour mixture.

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3 Add the short ribs to the pot with the bacon fat, taking care to not crowd the pot (work in batches if necessary). Brown on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. If you want to get good browning, do not stir the short ribs unless to turn. While the short ribs are browning, chop the bacon and set aside.

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4 Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the short ribs from the pot to a bowl. Add the chopped onions to the pot. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the ale and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes and their juices and reserved bacon. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Return short ribs to pot, cover, put in the preheated oven, and cook for two hours. (Alternatively, you can do the cooking on the stovetop, just lower the heat to the lowest setting and cover.)

5 Peel potatoes, turnips (optional), and carrots, and cut into 1-in. pieces. Add to short ribs, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and meat pulls away easily from the bone, about 30-45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6 Spoon off excess fat (it helps if you have a fat separator). If you want, remove the bones before serving and cut any big pieces of meat into smaller chunks.

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Comments

  1. lydia

    I’m going to try this in my new slow cooker — short ribs with the bone in, of course. I’m with you and your dad on this one. I love the addition of a bit of smoked paprika, too.

  2. Renee

    This sounds interesting, different, and I’m sure delicious! We are just getting into stew type weather here in TN. Thanks for the recipe, but I do have a question. What exactly are short ribs as opposed to other ribs?

    Here’s what the Wikipedia has to say about short ribs. Hope that helps. ~Elise

  3. Sunny

    I don’t know the difference between the paprikas; hot, smoked and regular. If one only has the regular paprika, can one substitue something for the others?

    We have 3 paprikas in our pantry, Hungarian Hot, Hungarian Sweet, and Spanish Smoked Paprika (also called Pimenton). They are all very different. Hot paprika verges on chili powder. Smoked paprika is like chipotle or liquid smoke in a paprika. You can make this stew with whatever regular paprika you happen to have, but you will be missing out on some of the layers of flavor that you get from the smoked and the hot paprikas. ~Elise

  4. jonathan

    I’m in your camp. I think bones always add flavor.

    Please don’t tell your mother. The thought of having to stay late after class and write, “I will remove the bones from my short ribs”, on the blackboard 500 times just doesn’t seem like the way I’d want to spend my afternoon.

    (And I’ll keep those turnips optional, thank you.)

  5. farmgirl susan

    This sounds wonderful, Elise. I was thrilled to find a forgotten package of short ribs from our grass-fed beef in the freezer the other day. I had other plans for it, but I think they just changed!

    As for the bone-in/boneless discussion, I’m guessing you don’t own a dog because if you did, it definitely wouldn’t be an issue. (Our dogs detest burger nights!) Though I suppose you could still argue whether there was any marrow left in the bones for the dog. : )

  6. Deborah

    I love bone marrow, but my husband gets a little grossed out if he sees me actively trying to get to it. So I just slow cook with bones and hope that the marrowy goodness with come out. :) Great recipe!

  7. Steveed

    Yes, bone in, definitely, it adds richness and depth of flavor. It’s also really good for your nails and bones with the added nutrients from the marrow and calcium leaching into the food/broth. Turnips and parsnips are really a natural accompaniment to this fecund falstaffian fall fare.

    People need to understand that the flavor for stock does not mainly come from the meat, but from the bones.

  8. Eric

    No celery and onions?! This is blasphemy!

    I’m kidding of course, but I really don’t understand the reason why those two aren’t on stage with the stew.

    I love the turnips too. I was actually eyeing a few at the local grocery today trying to figure out how to use them – any ideas?

    Also marrow is the truffle of the cow, anyone who doesn’t understand should be educated.

    Note from Elise: Onions are there, just no celery. We have a turnip recipe or two on the site, use the search function to find. Indeed on the marrow, we all love it and dig it out with a spoon if we can.

  9. Eric

    Can’t edit posts but – I found the recipe for Oxtail, my mother makes a great oxtail soup. I’ll have to try that out.

    The quote from your father in the post on oxtail, a great deal of classic French and Italian (well most traditional cuisine to some extent) was founded upon hardship. Marrow as discussed in this post is a great example of that.

    Love the site, I’ve passed it on to all of my foody friends and they all love it too!

  10. Erin

    When I was living in Spain, the Spanish grandmother I boarded with made beef short ribs just like this, always with the bone in. There usually were no turnips, but always plenty of potatoes and carrots. Since I have been back in the states, I have never been able to figure out exactly which combination of spices she used to make the beef taste so good. I will have to try this recipe for a comparison. My opinion is that the flavor in her stew really came from the type of beer she used, which isn’t readily available here, but hopefully this will come close!

  11. rachel

    Thanks for this recipe, it was great! Unfortunately I didn’t have a dutch oven that was oven proof so kept it over the stove but it was wonderful nonetheless. I also a little bit of rosemary and thyme, and about two tbsp. of dijon mustard, and a bit of sugar and worcestershire sauce to it. Then I served it over roasted garlic/rosemary mashed potatoes. Delicious!

  12. Susan

    Shortly after I read this post yesterday, I was at the market. I found the most beautiful short ribs (which is very unusual). Guess what we had for dinner tonight? I followed your recipe exactly, except that I used my crock pot instead of the oven. I am always afraid to leave the oven on when I’m not home. The stew was outstanding. It was kismet! Thanks!

  13. Trish

    Elise:

    I book-marked this recipe since it sounded so good and we love soups and stew – especially this time of the year. We fixed it yesterday afternoon and had it tonight with some pretty good homemade french Bread. This is about one of the most amazing dishes I’ve ever had! (the spices are wonderful and I think the turnip gives it just the right amount of sweetness. As always with your recipes, wonderful and flavorful. Thanks again,
    Trish

  14. Carmen

    I am going to try this recipe over the weekend as my husband got me a Le Creuset for my birthday and I can’t wait to try it out with a great meal! I have a question; I am only cooking for two people; if I halved this recipe, would the cooking times still the same? (2 hours and then the hour after adding the carrots/turnips/potatoes)?

    The cooking time would be the same. ~Elise

  15. Jennifer

    I would like to know if there are any leaner cuts I could sub for the ribs in this stew? My husband and I are really trying hard to loose weight and I can’t find any lean ribs to use. Trust me, I’ve looked! I didn’t want to change the taste too much so I thought I’d get your opinion.

    Hmm. This is a short-rib stew. Short ribs are fatty, and much of the flavor comes from the fat. “Lean ribs” is something of an oxymoron. You might try looking into some other beef stew recipes, such as our Irish beef stew. ~Elise

  16. Emilie

    This is a great recipe. I didn’t cook it for quite as long as suggested because we couldn’t wait – it smelled amazing. After the snow storm we just had, it was just what we needed to warm up!

  17. Kris

    I just came across this recipe this morning, and I have read all the reviews (which have all been good), so I am pretty excited about trying this recipe out. However, I too do not know what brand of ale would be best, Any suggestions?

    Any malty brown ale, such as Newcastle Brown Ale. ~Elise

  18. Martha

    I made this stew last year, but with an Ocotber fest beer. I left the potatoes out of the stew and instead served it with blue cheese mashed potatoes. It was delicious!

  19. Muze

    Definitely bone-in! And I love getting to the marrow too. ^_^ Thank you so much for this recipe. Having just made a permanent move, I think it will be the first one to try when I move into a new home. :D

  20. Brian

    Hi Elise, I’ve been enjoying many of your recipes for a long time and I look forward to trying this one soon too.

    One question, I’ve noticed on a few recipes that you call for canned whole tomatoes, and they often get shredded or chopped into a sauce. I was wondering why not just use canned diced tomatoes?

    Hi Brian, diced tomatoes are often treated with calcium chloride to help them keep their diced shape. In a sauce you want the tomatoes to break down, not keep their shape, which is why we use canned whole tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes. ~Elise

  21. Judy

    Anxious to try this one (with turnips).
    Anyone who would discard bacon drippings hasn’t explored their potential. They add flavor to so many things and keep beautifully.

  22. Amy Lucille

    The local grocery store does not sell quality bone in short ribs. They hardly have any meat, and don’t look like the shortribs in your photo. I get boneless if I did not plan ahead and order them from a butershop when I do! Oh and I’ve made this recipe when you first posted and I think 3 times after. Always a hit!

  23. Scottee Meade

    This looks wonderful! I want to make it, but I’m gluten-intolerant. I can use a gluten-free beer in place of the ale. What is the purpose of the all-purpose flour? Can it be omitted, or should I substitute corn flour or gram flour?

    The flour helps with the browning and the even distribution of the paprika. You can make it without the flour, just brown the ribs directly in the bacon fat. ~Elise

  24. Nicki Green

    I made this Tuesday night and it turned out delicious. My grocery always has short ribs on clearance so I stock up. I have no idea why, they’re so good! Served with corn bread. Thanks for yet another great recipe.

  25. Gretchin

    Since this makes 8 servings & there are only 2 of us, can this be frozen?

    Hi Gretchin, I haven’t tried freezing it, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  26. Stephanie Reger

    I made this recipe I had 12 short rids carrots and potatoes needed more liquid 2cs beef broth amazing cooked for 4 hrs
    The bone in is a must

  27. pam

    Elise, I followed the recipe exactly except no potatoes or turnips and I did the stovetop method… the gravy and veg were awesome but the ribs were not tender after 2 1/2 hours??

    Hi Pam, sounds like they needed to cook longer, or at a slightly higher temp. They should maintain a very low simmer. ~Elise

  28. micah

    What a great recipe, one thing i would change. Don’t use Newcastle it’s actually, a really watered downed brown ale. My suggestion would be, Down Town Brown. It’s brewed by, Lost Coast Brewery from Humboldt County.

  29. Dick Peterson

    I made it with boneless shortribs as that’s all they had at the store, they were fine, but I’ll use bone-in next time- if I can get them. When I added the tomatoes they looked kind of skimpy and lonely so I threw in another can and it was wonderful! Can’t wait to do it again!

  30. Archer

    I followed the recipe exactly. It was flawed by allowing the beef short ribs fat to cook throughout the veggies. The connective tissue is the same stuff that people use to cook out to make glue. The only way to save this recipe would be to cook the ribs separately and chill to separate the fat cap. We had one meal out of this and the rest is going into the garbage. I spent 20$ on ribs. I would not recommend this recipe.

  31. Lori

    I made this along with an Italian Chicken soup for 10 people over the Holiday. I followed the recipe to a tee and this was by far, the hit of the dinner! Everyone loved it. I served it along with lots of thick crusty bread and Parmesan crisps and they were licking the pot looking for more. No Flawed recipe here!

    Dh has requested it again for New Years Eve. Thank You.

  32. ElOso

    Some things worked for me here; some didn’t. The flavor was very good, but when it came time to add the vegetables, there wasn’t enough liquid in the dutch oven to cover them. Also, there was too much potato for me. I reheated the whole stew the next day with a quart of good homemade beef stock, and cooked the underdone veg a little longer. It was great after that.

    If anyone needs gluten-free beer for this, I used Glutenberg’s Red Ale with great results, and I definitely recommend it.

  33. A. C. Revill

    I am intrigued by the references to Newcastle Brown Ale.
    Back in the 1970´s I was involved in planning the construction of a factory in Greenville Carolina, North or South I just can´t remember.
    At the design stage I had two architects from Greenville over to London for consultations and during their visit we introduced them to Newcastle Brown. Their reaction was that there is no American beer to compare it with. When I took them to Heath Row to go back home they were loaded down with as many bottles as they could carry on to the plane.
    To describe it as a “watered down” version of some other beer sounds a little odd because anything stronger would be barley wine.

    I am a little surprised a people wanting to replace the beer in the recipe with something non-alcoholic, do they not understand that the alcohol is boiled off during the cooking process but in the early stages it helps to break down the fibres in the meat making the final result more tender. It´s the flavour that matters and there really isn´t any substitute.

    A very old English saying – the closer to the bone, the sweeter the meat and as Tyler Florence says the way to cook beef is “low and slow” (and I love the way he says it). Don´t worry about timing when the bones can be lifted off the meat the dish is ready to eat.

    Happy eating.

    • Elise

      Hi A.C., thanks for the story about Newcastle Brown Ale! Regarding replacing the alcohol, some people have very strict dietary restrictions about alcohol—for either religious or health reasons—and can’t have anything with alcohol even in the house. Most, but not all of the alcohol gets boiled off when cooking. Some fraction remains. It’s not enough to make a difference if someone’s concern has to do with the appropriateness of serving the dish to children or pregnant women, but for those with complete restrictions it’s an issue.