Bourbon Braised Short Ribs are braised in bourbon, maple syrup, beef broth, and Worcestershire until they fall off the bone and taste deliciously tender.Jump to Recipe
These Bourbon Braised Short Ribs are incredibly tender and richly flavored thanks to a braising liquid made from bourbon, maple syrup, beef broth, and Worcestershire. They cook low and slow in a Dutch oven, leaving you with meat that’s fall-off-the-bone and finger-licking good.
The braising liquid in my Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs recipe is similar to these maple bourbon short ribs, but the red wine is replaced with bourbon whiskey and maple syrup. These two ingredients offer two significant qualities to the dish:
- A deeply rich and extra beefy flavor.
- Just a hint of sweetness in every bite.
Watch How To Make Bourbon Braised Short Ribs Recipe
What is a short rib?
Beef short ribs come from the chuck portion of the cow. They’re cut from the first five ribs in the rib cage which are usually too small or short to be used for steaks or barbecue ribs. The muscle located in between each rib is used often, which makes the meat nice and tender.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil
- Bone-in beef short ribs – Short ribs can be bought bone-in or boneless. Bone-in are much more flavorful and become very tender in the almost 3-hour cook time.
- Kosher salt
- Shallots – You can use a yellow onion if you don’t have shallots.
- Carrots – Feel free to add even more hearty vegetables if you want. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, or turnips would all work well.
- Bourbon – Bourbon is a type of American whiskey made with, according to the Food Network, “a mash bill (or grain mix)… with at least 51 percent corn and aged in new, charred-oak barrels.” Because of its lengthy aging process and the type of barrels, bourbon is left with a layered flavor profile. You’ll often taste notes of caramel, vanilla, and warm spices.
- Maple syrup – Maple, bourbon, and beef are a dream team. The syrup finishes the dish with a complementary sweetness without needing overly refined sugars.
- Beef broth – You can take this recipe up a notch by using homemade beef broth or bone broth instead.
- Fresh thyme
- Tomato paste
- Worcestershire sauce – The natural umami flavors in Worcestershire perfectly compliment the beef and add a subtle tang. If you don’t have Worcestershire, use soy sauce or tamari instead.
How to make bourbon braised short ribs
To prepare the beef short ribs, pat them dry and season all sides with salt.
In a lightly oiled Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sear the ribs until they’re browned on all sides (work in batches so as to not crowd them). Transfer them to a plate.
Turn the heat down slightly. Add the shallots and carrots to the pot and cook until softened. Next, add the garlic. Once it’s fragrant, stir in the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
Pour the bourbon and maple syrup into the pot. Cook until it’s reduced by half, then stir in the broth and thyme.
Now you can add the seared short ribs back into the pot. Nestle them into the sauce, then add in the beef stock and thyme so they’re halfway submerged in the sauce.
Cover with a lid. Transfer the pot to the preheated oven and cook, stirring every 45 minutes, until the ribs are very tender.
When they’re done, transfer the ribs and carrots to a serving platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. While they rest, heat the liquid on the stove to help it thicken. You can add a cornstarch slurry if it still isn’t thick enough.
Scoop the ribs and extra sauce over a luscious bed or creamy mashed potatoes, cauliflower mash, creamy polenta, or orzo pasta. This is a rich and beefy meal, so be sure to break up the hearty bites with lighter sides, like a butter lettuce salad, sauteed broccolini, or beet salad.
Don’t forget the cocktails! Every bite of braised beef pairs so nicely with bourbon served neat, a scotch and soda, or a classic Manhattan.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, searing the beef is important because it adds a rich flavor to the meat and caramelizes the outside.
Yes! Use the instructions in my Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs recipe.
Absolutely. Sear the ribs and make the liquid as normal on the stove before transferring everything to a slow cooker. Cook on Low for 7 to 8 hours.
You can try replacing the bourbon with whiskey or a stout beer but the flavors will be quite different.
To braise the ribs without alcohol, replace the bourbon with more beef broth.
Store the leftover cooked ribs in a shallow airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You could also freeze them for up to 4 months.
Looking for more hearty beef dinners?
- Instant Pot Beef Ragu
- Garlic Butter Ribeye Steak
- Herbed Prime Rib Roast
- Uzbek Beef Plov
- BBQ Baby Back Ribs
If you try these Bourbon Braised Short Ribs let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Bourbon Braised Short Ribs
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil divided
- 6 bone-in beef short ribs about 3 pounds
- 1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt or more to taste
- 6 medium shallots peeled and halved
- 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
- 6 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1 ¼ cup bourbon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 cups beef broth plus more as needed
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Pat the short ribs dry and season them generously with salt. In a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of oil. Sear the short ribs until browned on all sides, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Leave all the drippings from searing the ribs in the Dutch oven. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add in the shallots, carrots, and remaining salt, and cook stirring occasionally, until slightly browned and softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Then add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the bourbon and maple syrup and cook until reduced by half, 3-4 minutes. Nestle the short ribs, then pour in the beef stock and add fresh thyme. The ribs should be covered with liquid halfway.
- Cover with a lid, transfer into the oven and cook until the ribs are very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Check the ribs after 2 hours.
- Let the ribs rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- To serve, add the meat on top of mashed potatoes, creamy polenta or cooked pasta and drizzle the sauce on top.