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7 rules for braising the luscious short ribs of your dreams

Short ribs are a super-inexpensive cut of meat that you can dress up for a dinner party or an indulgent weekend feast. Follow these rules, and your short ribs will be perfect — your guests will come running back for more (we won’t steer you wrong, we promise). You’ll get moist, flavorful and delicious short ribs every time.

Rule 1: Sear the meat

Season your short ribs with salt and pepper, and sear them on all sides in a cast-iron skillet. This allows the meat to develop a nice crust and great flavor. Allow the short ribs to get a nice color without burning them or cooking them all the way through.

More: Red wine-braised short ribs are an elegant but easy meal for date night

Rule 2: Cook your vegetables separately

Some recipes will advise that you sear your short ribs, add them to an oven-safe dish with your raw veggies and liquids and then bake. You shouldn’t do this. The best way to make short ribs is to sear your meat first and then sear your veggies in the same pot afterward, which will allow your veggies to also get a nice color and caramelization. No one likes mushy vegetables, so this is your best option.

Once you’ve finished braising your meat on all sides, remove it from the pot, let it rest, and add in your chopped onions, celery and carrots. Make sure to stir your veggies frequently over medium-high heat; this will prevent them from burning.

Rule 3: Always deglaze the pot

Once the vegetables are caramelized, add in your braising liquid (this can be a combination of stock and wine), and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. There’s great flavor at the bottom of the pot that will enhance the flavor of the dish — this is a step you shouldn’t miss.

Rule 4: Don’t add too much liquid

Make sure you’re not adding too much liquid to the pot. The short ribs should not be submerged in the liquid, because then the liquid will just boil, which you don’t want. Make sure the short ribs will be covered only halfway. If you feel the liquid is reducing too much, feel free to add more.

More: The basics of braising meat

Rule 5: Let the liquid simmer before putting it in the oven

When you add your meat to the liquid, bring it to a simmer before putting it into a 325-degree F oven to bake.

Rule 6: Don’t overcook the meat

Let the short ribs simmer in the oven for roughly 2-1/2 hours, until it is fork tender. Leaving it in the oven any longer doesn’t make it fall off the bone any more easily.

More: Simple braising techniques and recipes

Rule 7: Jazz up your short ribs with more veggies

Onions, carrots and spices are just the beginning. Jazz up your short ribs by adding in potatoes, mushrooms or greens. Add the vegetables when there is 45 minutes of cook time left, making sure to crack the lid a little so the short ribs can breathe.

If you follow these seven rules, you’ll have amazing short ribs every time.

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