What is the Best Substitute for Short Ribs?

by Charlie

Succulent, palatable, and deeply flavorful, a well prepared short rib treat is nothing short of euphoric. Short ribs have rightly earned a reputation as the star of reunions, family gatherings, and any kind of catered event.

Short ribs are a great candidate for cooking on the barbecue, and getting it right doesn’t take too much effort. It sits right up there among the most in-demand meat cuts in the market.

Additionally, short ribs have good chemistry with an endless number of dishes. So worrying about what dishes it will fit with isn’t usually an issue.

Unfortunately, your favorite meat vendor may not always have short ribs in stock. In such a case, you’ll need meat of similar texture, taste, and flavor. 

So, what is the best substitute for short ribs? The best substitute for short ribs is chuck roast or beef chunk ribs. Chunk roast or chunk ribs closely resemble the taste, flavor, and texture of shorts ribs. However, it usually have a slightly higher fat content when compared to short ribs.

An Overview of Short Ribs

As a result of their easy-to-prep and scrumptious nature, short ribs have a special place in the hearts of many barbecue pitmasters. A bit of this and that, and the flavor of your short ribs is already taking over the whole place. 

To be clear, short ribs aren’t called “short ribs” because they’re cut from an animal’s rib region. They are called “short ribs” because the cut of meat usually contains a portion of each long beef rib.

Going by the American cow meat naming style, short ribs are cut from the plate, chuck, or shoulder region of an animal. In the case of beef short ribs, it means the meat was cut from the chuck or shoulder region of the cow. 

Short ribs usually require long periods to cook properly. This is because the connective tissues in the meat require a long time to break down in order to get tender meat.

Methods of preparation may include stewing, sous-vide, or braising. However, if you choose to barbecue it, then your meat should be ready in a shorter time owing to the high heat intensity it would get.  

Why Replace Short Ribs?

Sure, short ribs are very flavorful, and they’re sure to melt pleasurably inside your mouth. However, there are situations where you’ll need a viable alternative for it. It could be;

  • You want to take a break from red meat: it could be you’re trying to hit the brakes on your red meat consumption, or you’re simply looking for healthier alternatives.
  • You’re not comfortable with the available type: there are two types of short ribs; boneless short ribs and in-bone short ribs. If your short ribs vendor doesn’t have the type you prefer, we’ve got you covered with viable alternatives.

Best Substitute for Short Ribs: Chuck Roast or Beer Chuck Ribs

Our first pick for a substitute to short ribs is chuck roast. When it comes to taste, flavor, and texture, chuck roast is among the closest you’ll ever get to short ribs. Chuck roasts are usually cut from the shoulder and neck region of a cow, which makes it incredibly close to short ribs in taste.

However, chuck roast are slightly richer in fat than short ribs. In terms of preparation, there isn’t much difference between procedures for preparing short ribs and chuck roasts. They are good for Korean-styled barbecue and can also be marinated using a simple Asian marinade before grilling over direct heat. It can also be cooked using a smoker, much like you’ll do with short ribs, only with much less time.

Beef Chuck ribs are easy to get at supermarkets because they’re usually relatively high in demand which means most supermarkets will offer this cut of meat.

Other Substitutes for Short Ribs

Flanken Ribs

Flanken ribs are beef cuts that are taken around the cow’s flank, close to the area where the short ribs are cut from. They’re are thinly sliced in a way that goes through the cattle’s bones, usually with a trace of the rib bones. It contains less fat and has leaner meat.

The flavor is also similar to short ribs, although with slight differences. Because they’re usually tender and soft, beef flanken is usually quite easy to cook. Unlike some other short ribs substitute, you don’t need to cook beef flanken for a long time.

Just like short ribs, flanken meat goes well with a wide variety of dishes. If you’re a barbecue person, you’ll be delighted to know that it is a great candidate for Korean-style barbecue. 

It is better to cook flanken ribs braised, maybe baked with veggies amidst some tomato stew. Flanken is a popular beef cut, so it shouldn’t really be hard to get one from your local beef vendor.

Beef Back Ribs

If you’re not entirely sure what a beef back rib is, don’t worry, there are chances that you know it by another name. Beef back ribs are also called finger runs, rib bones, beef riblets, dinosaur ribs, rib bones, or simply beef ribs.

It is a very popular cut of meat, and it has a lot to offer in terms of it’s savory taste and flavor. Beef back ribs are usually cut from a higher spot of the cow’s body. They are cut from the exact same area where you would find the prime rib meat. They’re essentially the bones that have been taken out during the processing of boneless prime ribs or rib-eye steaks.

Beef back ribs usually come in rectangular shapes, basically rows of bones covered in layers of meat. A typical rack of back ribs can contain around 7 to 12 bones with a weight of 2.5 to 4 pounds. 

Lamb Legs and Shanks

If you’re looking for short ribs alternatives that isn’t beef, then “lamp legs and shanks” are very good candidates. It is not just a non-beef alternative; it is also a healthier substitute.

Ask your meat vendor for lamb meat. Go for the legs and shanks specifically. The shanks are usually cut from the lower portion of the Lamb’s leg.

Unlike beef, you’ll find that Lamb meat has a more meaty and chewy texture. However, just like short ribs, they also have a strong flavor that you’ll surely appreciate. Also, like short ribs, they’ll go well with a wide range of marinades or sauce. In terms of nutrition, lamb legs and shanks are packed with more iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. 

In order to get Lamb legs and shanks as close to short ribs in taste and texture as possible, it is best to keep them braised and slow roasted. However, unlike short ribs, lamb legs and shanks are not recommended for quick barbecue since it might still turn out to be too chewy.

Lamb leg meat needs to be cooked for a longer period of time. However, you need to be careful to avoid overcooking it. When overcooked, they’ll likely appear less presentable, especially when it falls too easily off of the bone. Although this meat cut can be more expensive than short ribs, it’s usually worth the price. 

Conclusion

While short ribs are legendary, any of these alternatives can offer you something similar in taste, flavor, and nutrition, making them good substitutes. Just take your time to carefully explore each available option to find one that fits your needs. 

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