Short ribs are a fatty cut of meat that used to be very inexpensive. All of a sudden they became so popular with famous chefs in upscale restaurants all over the country that the price per pound went up dramatically. However, short ribs are still a bargain compared with many other cuts of meat, and they are extremely flavorful. When cooked at a low temperature for a very long time, they are so tender that they practically melt in your mouth. It is better to cook them off of the bone. If possible, have the butcher remove the bones for you. It is also important to remove as much fat as possible before serving. The trick to removing most of the fat is to first remove all visible fat from the meat before cooking. After cooking, cool the meat to room temperature and refrigerate all day or overnight. A thick layer of fat will solidify on the surface and can easily be removed. I like to serve this dish over mashed potatoes, pureed cauliflower or pureed parsnips.

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SMOKEY BEEF SHORT RIBS

2 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

3 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons instant minced onions

2 teaspoons liquid smoke

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Remove all visible fat from the meat and cut it into 2-inch strips.

2. Preheat the oven to 275 F. Combine all ingredients except the meat in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for five minutes.

3. Place the meat in a casserole with a lid or in a Dutch oven and pour the sauce over the top. Bake, covered, in the preheated oven for 4 hours, or until fork-tender.

4. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate all day or overnight so that the fat will solidify on the top and can be easily removed. Remove all of the fat and reheat to serve.

5. To serve, spoon a little of the defatted sauce over the meat.

Makes 7 servings.

Each 1/2-cup serving contains approximately: 205 calories; 9 gm fat; 59 mg cholesterol; 411 mg sodium; 9 gm carbohydrates; 21 gm protein; 1 gm fiber.


Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, jeannejones.com.

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