Beyond the Recipe: Texas Style Short Ribs

This recipe from Chef Nate Allen reminds us that cooking is half careful chemistry, and half artistic expression. While the temperature and cook time are prescribed, Chef Nate encourages readers to experiment to make a dish that perfectly suits their tastes.

Nate Allen is our favorite kind of chef — creative, energetic, and filled with contagious joy whenever he gets in the kitchen, or in front of a fire. His deep respect for conscientious agriculture not only shows in his thoughtful sourcing (often from his own yard), but in his beautiful dishes, using every ingredient to its full potential. Each meal Chef Nate creates is permeated with history — of the local region, old culinary traditions, and of his own dining experiences. 

After attending culinary school, Nate lived in many places and worked in many kitchens, before opening the James Beard Award nominated restaurant Knife & Fork, in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. At Knife & Fork, Nate sourced all ingredients from within 45 miles — a testament to his dedication to supporting local agriculture and community. He currently resides in Florida, surrounded by an abundance of fresh ingredients that make their way into almost everything he creates.

Texas short ribs with peppers

Texas Style Short Ribs

Beef ribs are so rewarding to make. They tease you the whole process — they look and smell so good as they brown, bubble, and crisp. But, they demand the correct amount of time in the oven. These ribs will want 3 ½ hours at 300F. 

First season them liberally with salt, pepper, and just a dusting of coriander powder. Sear on all four sides in a hot pan. Ribs can be a slippery and awkward challenge for tongs. Be careful as the result of dropping a one pound bone-in rib into a pan of hot oil is extreme discomfort. I prefer to roll them. Once they are all uniform in their golden brown color, make sure that they are bone-side down and slide them out to the edge of the pan so you have space in the middle. Into this we'll toss in two whole red bell pepper seed pods (save the rest of the pepper for later), one onion sliced, a head of garlic cut in half and a dozen fresh thyme sprigs. After this sizzles for a few minutes rinse it all down with a half bottle of red wine, then add beef stock until the ribs are 2/3 under liquid. Cover the pan and place it in the 300°F oven. 

Peppers going in a pot


Rib Sauce

I am a chile fanatic and really love the varieties that are available here in Southern Florida. They may not be easy to find where you are. Just play by these rules- balance the sweet and the heat and stick with red if you can for the color. Priority one is have fun.

I used:

6 red long hot chiles - similar to cayenne

8 cherry peppers

2 sweet red bells

1 bunch of scallions

6 cloves of garlic

2 stalks of celery

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup brown sugar

Chop it all up and put it in the pot on simmer. Once the ribs are out just place them on a plate and drizzle or brush with the sauce. These ribs are excellent with black rice and flash fried fresh veggies like snow peas and eggplant. Garnish with lots of fresh mint. It behaves extravagantly with the hot sauce.

Cooked short ribs

If you run into any problems or just want to tell me how great it turned out then find me @natetellsyouwhytocook on Instagram. 

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