I got into this career because I didn’t know what I wanted to be, I didn’t know my place in life. I didn’t realize all of the doors it would open and all the pleasure you could bring to yourself and others through food. I think I was born with a servitude type personality, I like making people happy.
Once I learned to cook I began to realize the nostalgia that people crave and want, even my own personal desires to remember my past food memories came busting through with every dish I learned to make. You will get no greater compliment than to have a guest tell you something you made for them reminds them of something their Grandmother made for them, and usually they follow up with “She’s been gone for quite some time, and I never thought I would get to taste that again”…talk about a heartwarming teary-eyed moment.
I would like to share with you the recipe for my favorite thing in the world to make, braised beef short ribs. Every single time I make this it takes me back to being a child, as I am standing in my Granny and Pawpaw’s kitchen. My Granny would be cutting potatoes to be fried, she would peel the skins of, paper thin (they couldn’t waste anything, after all they lived through the Great Depression). She would dice onions to add in at the last minute to give the potatoes that extra burst of flavor as they were fried golden brown to perfection. My Pawpaw would be patting out hamburgers and heating up his cast iron skillet. He would season the burgers generously and then throw in a dollop of bacon grease (always kept in a coffee can on the back of the stove to store pan drippings for such an occasion). Once the pan was hot, in goes the burgers and that amazing aroma began to bloom as the meat began to sear…if you believe in some kind of heaven, I am sure that smell is up there somewhere. When cooking short ribs getting a good sear on the meat is important and it smells exactly like those hamburgers cooking years ago.
While my Pawpaw was never a professional chef or cook, I think of him as the original chef in my family.
Chef Chris’s Short Ribs
- 5 pounds short ribs
- 1 each yellow onion roughly chopped
- 2 each carrots roughly chopped
- 4 each celery stalks roughly chopped
- 5 each garlic cloves smashed
- 2 each bay leaves
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper toasted
- 2 cups beef broth
- Open short ribs and place on a sheet pan. Allow to sit uncovered in fridge overnight to dry, this will help the meat get a good sear. The next day season heavily on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Place in a 500 F degree oven to brown…and enjoy the aroma!!! This should take about 20 minutes. In bottom of a roasting pan, put in onions, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves. Remove meat from oven and put on top of chopped vegetables.
- Deglaze sheet pan with bourbon, scrape off all of the good stuff and pour over meat. Add 2 cups of beef broth and cover bottom of meat with liquid.
- Cover pan with parchment paper and heavy duty aluminum foil. Place back into a 300 F oven. Braise for 3.5-4 hours. Check after 3.5 hours. Short ribs are done when you can press a plastic tasting spoon in them with little resistance. Remove from oven.
- Here in Kentucky we like to serve them with some rich brown gravy (demi-glace) and some cream cheese grits. Enjoy!