My Irish Whiskey Braised Short Ribs are served on a warm cabbage and Brussels sprout slaw that’s been fried in browned butter. Yes, of course this has St Patrick’s Day written all over it, but don’t stop there, this easy Instant Pot meal can be yours any day of the week.
Short ribs are such a great cut of beef. They’re my choice whenever I want to make a dish extra special, the only problem is that you really have to think ahead because they require a long slow braising to cook them properly. The Instant Pot turns out to be the best way to cook short ribs in a fraction of the time. I’ve also made Short Ribs with Rosemary and Polenta in the IP and I don’t see any reason to do them any other way from here on in.
How to buy short ribs
- Short ribs are cut from various sections of the rib section, and the different types can be confusing. You’ll likely only see two types at your grocery store, bone-in or boneless. You can use either for this recipe, but boneless short ribs tend to have more meat.
- If you find packaged ribs, check them and make sure they’re not too fatty. Some marbling is great, but it can get excessive.
- If you can’t find them, ask your butcher or ‘meat counter guy’, he’ll fix you up.
- This cut of meat benefits from long, slow, moist cooking, or braising, to tenderize the muscle and connective tissue. When cooked properly it’s fork tender and shreds easily.
Ingredients for whiskey braised short ribs
- boneless short ribs (yes, you can also use bone in)
- beef broth
- Irish whiskey ~ I used Jameson
- tomato paste (I always have a tube in the fridge door)
- Worcestershire sauce (my secret weapon in the kitchen )
- brown sugar (just a pinch!)
- fresh thyme
- bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- flour, a little bit gives the sauce body
My short ribs are served with a simple cabbage and Brussels sprout slaw lightly cooked in browned butter
Normally you’ll see braised short ribs served over mashed potatoes, pasta, or polenta, like I’ve done before. But today I’m trying something a little different, and it’s definitely a lower carb version. I like this because it lightens a very rich meal and incorporates some super healthy veggies. Plus browned butter, which makes everything better. 🙂
The warm slaw cooks while the short ribs are in the Instant Pot, so the meal comes together seamlessly.
Method for making short ribs in the Instant Pot
Short ribs have been traditionally braised low and slow in the oven, but luckily the Instant Pot functions very much the same way, the only difference is that it’s a lot quicker…
- brown the meats on the sauté setting, remove from pot
- sauté the veggies
- add the meats back into the pan along with aromatics
- add the cooking liquids and pressure cook for 35 minutes
- remove the meat
- strain the sauce and reduce
- shred the meat and add back to the sauce
Want to make your short ribs on the stove top or in the oven? No problem…
- OVEN METHOD: You can cook the ribs in the oven if you like, I use a large enameled cast iron braising pan. Follow the recipe up to step 7. Instead of pressure cooking, you’ll pop your pan in a low oven (325F) covered, for about 3 hours or until the meat is super tender. Then proceed from step 9 in the recipe to make the sauce.
- STOVE TOP: You can also cook the ribs on the stove top in a large Dutch oven or braising pan. Follow the recipe up to step 7. Instead of pressure cooking, you’ll keep the pot on the stove and cook, covered, over very low heat for 3 hours or until fork tender. The proceed from step 9 to finish the sauce.
Transfer your Instant Pot short ribs to a pretty braising pan for serving
Just because you took the very smart short cut and cooked your short ribs in the Instant Pot doesn’t mean you can’t bring them to the table in a handsome braising pan. The Instant Pot is genius at cooking meats quickly, but no one ever said it was good looking. My favorite braiser is a pure white model from Amazon Basics, I use it so often I just store it on the stove top, it’s too pretty and useful to put away.
Short ribs can be made the day ahead
Short ribs (and other meat stews) are an ideal choice if you need to get a head start on a meal. They will keep beautifully, and even get better as they sit in the fridge!
- One benefit of cooking short ribs a day ahead is that any excess fat will rise to the surface and solidify, making it easy to discard the next day.
- The flavors in the sauce will develop overnight.
- The cabbage is sturdy and the texture keeps well.
- Just reheat everything on the stove top when ready to serve.
Can these whiskey braised short ribs be frozen?
- Yes, they’ll freeze beautifully for 6 months. Just pack in a freezer safe container or a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag and squeeze out excess air before sealing.
- I recommend making the cabbage slaw fresh when ready to enjoy.
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Irish Whiskey Braised Short Ribs
- Instant Pot or Dutch oven
- 5 ounces pancetta
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs
- 1/4 cup flour + 2 Tablespoons, divided
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 leeks, white part only, sliced and well rinsed
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Jameson Whiskey, divided
- 2 cups beef broth (use one 15 ounce can and top off with water)
- 1 Tbsp Worcesteshire sauce
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- a bundle of thyme sprigs, tied.
warm cabbage and Brussels sprout slaw
- 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 1 small head of cabbage
- 1/2 cup butter
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Saute the pancetta in the Instant Pot on the SAUTE setting, on high for about 10 minutes, or until the pancetta has rendered its fat and is getting crispy. Remove to a plate, but leave a tablespoon of the fat in the pot.
- Mix 1/4 cup flour with 1 teaspoon of salt and toss the short ribs to coat.
- Working in 2 batches, brown the short ribs im the Instant Pot on the same SAUTE setting on high for about 4 minutes per side, or until nicely browned. Remove to a plate.
- Add the onions carrots and leeks to the pot and saute on the same setting for about 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to get up any browned bits as the vegetables start to give off some of their liquid. If the bottom starts to burn, turn the heat down.
- Add 1/2 cup of the whiskey to the pot and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot, letting the whiskey bubble away for a minute.
- Whisk the broth, Worcesteshire sauce, sugar, and tomato paste together and add to the pot, along with the bay leaves and bundle of thyme. Add the pancetta and ribs back to the pot, nestling them into the liquid well.
- Press CANCEL and the lock the lid, setting the vent to the SEAL position. Then press PRESSURE COOK and set it for 35 minutes.
- When the machine timer beeps, let it sit without touching it for 15 minutes, then release the pressure valve.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Remove the ribs to a plate and shred them with 2 forks into large pieces.
- Strain the gravy into a saucepan, add the last 2 tablespoons of whiskey, and bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes to reduce a bit. Mix 2 Tablespoons of flour with 3 tablespoons of water and whisk into the sauce to thicken it slightly. Be sure to whisk while you add the flour mixture to avoid lumps.
- At this point you have three choices: you can leave the sauce as is, for a smooth texture. You can add the strained veggies back in for a chunky texture, or you can puree about 1/2 of the solids in a food processor or high speed blender and blend them into the sauce for a thick but smooth sauce. I opted for the third choice.
- Now it's time to taste the sauce and adjust anything you like. I added a bit more Worcesteshire sauce, and salt, for sure. Add the shredded ribs back into the sauce and bring back to a simmer. Serve on top of the cabbage and Brussels sprout slaw.
cabbage and brussels sprout slaw
- While the ribs are cooking make the slaw. Shred the Brussels sprouts. The easiest way to do this is to use the slicing attachment of a food processor, but you could also thinly slice them by hand using a sharp knife.
- Halve the cabbage and remove the core, then thinly slice it.
- Heat the butter in a large pan over medium to medium low heat until it turns golden nutty brown. Watch it carefully, as this will only take a total of about 5 minutes. First it will foam and bubble as the water in the butter evaporates, and then you will start to see the milk solids in the butter start to turn brown in little specks. Stir until the butter is a deep golden brown, but take care not to let it burn.
- Add the shredded vegetables immediately and toss to coat them evenly. Cook over medium heat for just about 5 more minutes, or until they are done to your liking. They will wilt down and soften, but I like mine to still have some crunch. If you prefer them softer, cook a little longer. Season well with salt and pepper.