beef short ribs

The BEST Dark Ale Gravy over Beef Short Ribs

My experience with beef short ribs is limited. A few years back, I would have turned my nose up at them, but that’s because my high school sweetheart’s parents were the absolute worst at cooking any ribs. I couldn’t understand why this teenage boy hated ribs. How could anyone possibly hate ribs??? Well, I found out the hard way. Bland, fatty, tongue-coating nastiness. That’s what they ended up doing to those ribs. I really, really would like to take away their right to make ribs. They ruin them, and ribs deserve so much more respect!

That was my first introduction to what should have been an amazing meal. Luckily, I grew up with fine dining being involved in my dad’s farming. I knew that there were better possibilities out there. I was right. One time when my dad and I went to dinner, I ordered some short ribs just to get a good experience. They were awesome!

I know that these short ribs will be amazing! I mean a dark ale gravy on top of it all? Yes, please! The recipe also calls for mashed potatoes to serve under this delicious recipe. Normally I’m not a meat and potatoes type girl, but that sounds perfect! Warm, comforting, filling, and yummy. An ultimate comfort food, no?

Thanks to Martha at A Family Feast for such an EXCELLENT Recipe!


  • 5 pounds meaty beef short ribs (about 8 ribs)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups thickly sliced shallots (6 ounces in weight)
  • 1 ½ cups thickly sliced onion halves (about one medium to large onion)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 12-ounce bottle dark ale or stout beer
  • 3 large sprigs fresh thyme, left on the stem
  • 3 large sprigs flat leaf parsley, left on the stems
  • 1½ quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup butter ( ½ a stick)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (use less for a thinner gravy)
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • Mashed potatoes for serving


  1. Season the ribs with the salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large oven proof Dutch oven over medium high heat and add oil.
  3. Once hot, add half the ribs and sear on all sides for 2-3 minutes per side or until browned. Remove to a platter and repeat for rest of ribs. Remove the second batch to the same platter.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Using same pot, turn the heat to medium and add the shallots and onions and cook for about three minutes or until just slightly cooked.
  6. Add tomato paste and cook and stir for one minute.
  7. Add the ale and stir and cook until reduced by half.
  8. Add the sprigs of thyme and parsley, stock and Worcestershire sauce. Add the seared ribs to the pot, bring to a boil, cover and place in oven for three hours with lid slightly ajar. Halfway through cooking, turn ribs, cover again and finish cooking with lid slightly ajar.
  9. If you are serving with mashed potatoes cook them now.
  10. With a pair of tongs, remove ribs and bones to a platter to cool.
  11. Remove and discard the thyme stems. The parsley will have disintegrated into the sauce.
  12. Pour the liquid into a container and with a ladle, skim off and discard the fat that floats to the top. I removed an entire cup of fat.
  13. Once the meat has cooled enough to handle, separate the meat from the bones, fat, gristle and sinew. Reserve meat and if not already shredded, shred with two forks. Discard bones and gristle. You should have 1 ½ pounds of cooked meat.
  14. Place butter in same pot that the ribs were cooked in and melt over medium heat.
  15. Add flour and stir to form a roux. Note, feel free to omit the two tablespoons of flour and just use the ¼ cup if you like your gravy on the thin side. Cook this mixture for about three minutes. Then one third at a time, add liquid back in whisking at each third.
  16. Adjust seasoning and add shredded beef back in. If too thick, thin down with a little water.
  17. Serve over mashed potatoes

For more delicious recipes and some great step-by-step photos, visit A Family Feast

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