‘The Stag’ Jacob’s Ladder Beef Short Ribs


I had these quite astonishingly soft and meaty beef ribs at a pub called The Stag in London, NW3. I was so blown away by them that I virtually begged the chef , John Kent, to share his recipe with me. I could hardly believe my luck when he printed it out with step-by-step instructions.

As he works in a very busy gastropub kitchen, I’ve had to scale down to make it work for a mere Recipe Shed, but the results were just as fantastic: super-juicy, fall-apart meat with the most incredible beefy flavour.

They’re first cured in an aromatic mixture of salt, sugar, herbs and spices before being braised for up to 10 hours in a slow cooker or casserole pot. You can make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for a few days until you’re ready to re-heat them in their spicy stock. Beyond delicious.

Even scaled down, this cure would easily be enough for 10-14 ribs, but as I was only cooking for me and my wife, I used enough for a couple of big, fat meat ribs and reserved the rest for a brisket I’m planning to cook for Sunday lunch soon.

For the salt cure

750g ordinary table salt
300g dark brown sugar
10g garlic powder
5-6 branches of rosemary, toasted under the grill or on a griddle until the leaves turn black
10g onion powder
10g mustard seed, ground into a powder
3g cayenne pepper
20g peppercorns, ground into a powder
3g fennel seeds, ground
3g chilli powder

To cook the ribs

As many ribs as you need for the people you’re feeding

1 onion
1/2 celery stalk
1 large carrot
1-2 bay leaves
150ml soy sauce
1 red chilli, deseeded (or leave the seeds in if you prefer more heat)
3-4 branches fresh thyme
2 tbsp whole peppercorns


1. For the salt cure, combine everything into a bowl and mix thoroughly.




2. Rub the salt cure all over the ribs and set aside in a cool place for 3-4 hours. Reserve any spare cure for another time.


3. After the allotted time, rinse the ribs under cold running water.

4. In a hot pan or on a griddle, sear the ribs all over.

5. Add the rest of the ingredients to a slow cooker or casserole pot. Then add the ribs and add enough water to cover the ribs.


6. If using a slow cooker, cook on LOW for 5-6 hours until the meat is so tender it is falling away from the rub bone. If using a casserole pot, seal with baking paper and put in a very low oven (around 95C) and braise the ribs for 10 hours.

7. After the cooking time, remove the ribs from the braising liquid and set aside. Drain the liquid into a pan and bring to the boil. Boil vigorously until the stock reduces by two-thirds and becomes slightly thick and syrupy. Return the ribs to the stock to heat through.


8. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and steamed Tenderstem broccoli.



Filed under Beef, Recipe Shed, Slow Cooker

22 Responses to ‘The Stag’ Jacob’s Ladder Beef Short Ribs

  1. Marianne

    Hello Keith
    I was inspired to make this by the enticing photos. Thanks a lot, it was really delicious. Perfectbfor a wet and gloomy Sunday. I made it in the oven though, and may invest im a slow cooker on the strength od this alone. Do you have one, and if so which?
    Kind regards

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Marianne. I’m over the moon at your feedback. Many thanks. I’m so glad it inspired you. Yes, I do have a slow cooker – a Cuisinart. I use it at least twice a week and find it a Godsend. Best wishes.

  2. Dan

    Hi Keith,

    The recipe looks great, I too experienced these amazing ribs at the Stag. I also have a BBQ smoker which produces really great results with beef ribs. One problem I am coming across is finding a reliable supplier of these ribs – can you recommend anyone? The beef in your pictures looks like it is very good quality.


  3. Tim

    Hi Keith, some years ago in a real spit and sawdust joint somewhere in Montana (I think it was called the Back Room) I was advised to have the ‘ribs with corn bread and gravy’. The plate arrived with three giant nuggets of beef, easily mistaken for ‘tournedos’ style fillets, and my disappointment that I could see no rib bones was soon dispelled when I tasted the beef. It was undoubtedly the best ever. I never managed to find out what it was (not the sort of place where you asked to see the chef) until today when I saw James Martin cooking Jacobs Ladder beef ribs. During my frantic www trawl I came across your site and the picture showing the nuggets alongside the clean bones was instantly recognisable. I am off to find a traditional butchers tomorrow and will get some even if I have to buy the whole side of beef! Thank you for solving a 10 year puzzle! Regards Tim

    • keithkendrick

      Hey Tim, you have no idea how happy this has made me. When you’ve bought and cooked those ribs, please let me know how you get on. Keith

  4. Maria

    I work for a meat wholesaler and see these short ribs being diced up all the time because people don’t ask for them! Madness, I’ve brought some home this week and have followed your recipe. Completely amazing. Wonderful meal. More people should try this for sure….

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Maria, believe it or not, I’m in The Stag pub right now typing this (I”m supposed to be working) so I have just passed on your compliments. I think short ribs are the most wonderful, rich, beefy, overlooked part of the animal. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. Louise

    Hi there,
    I have never had beef ribs before and would like to cook them for a dinner party next week. I have been looking at lots of different recipe’s on the internet and your one looks amazing, my question is do you think there is enough sauce with this recipe for 6 people? Lots of the recipes I have been looking at are red wine based, as I have never made them I am not sure what one to go with!!

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Louise, Many apologies for not getting back to you sooner. The sauce quantity in this recipe is very versatile – for six people, don’t reduce the sauce by two-thirds, but just reduce by a third, and then thicken with cornflour (mix 1 teaspoon of cornflour with 1 tablespoon of cold water to make a paste. Bring the sauce to a rolling boil, then whisk the cornflour paste into the sauce to thicken). I hope you give it a try and best of luck. Thanks for taking the time to get in touch.

  6. Gorgeous beef dish.
    Cockburn’s in Bedale North Yorkshire supply the Jacobs Ladder.


  7. Nikki

    Hi Keith,

    Planning to make this for a dinner this week for 8 people…might be a stupid question but should I adjust the quantities of onion, celery etc. (i.e. the stuff you cook the beef in), and if so by how much? You say you were cooking for you and your wife so logically would quadruple the quantities but this seems like too much!

    Thanks so much for posting this! Been looking for a recipe for ages, this looks perfect :)


    • keithkendrick

      Hi Nikki, Thanks for stopping by. You won’t need more than the quantities in my recipe for 8 people. Just make sure you add enough water to cover the ribs in the slow cooker or casserole pot. This makes a lot of braising liquid, which you then need to reduce to make the sticky sauce at the end.
      Best of luck :)

  8. John Warner

    Just prepared the ribs with the rub and really looking forward to this recipe. I’ve tried the ribs a few different ways and this sounds great. I’ll let you know tomorrow

  9. John Warner

    Pt2. Am I able to leave the dry rub on overnight?

  10. Harry Orkin

    Cooked this recipe yesterday the beef was amazing , but the gravy was unusable never tasted any thing so salty. I followed the recipe to the letter can any one help.

  11. Harry Orkin

    the beef was amazing but the gravy was unusable very salty any idea why, Will do again but would like to sort out gravy.

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Harry,
      Apologies for not replying to you sooner. I wonder if you’ve used the ‘salt cure’ ingredients (the first list at the top) to make the gravy?
      You need to discard the salt cure ingredients, then thoroughly wash the ribs before cooking them in the ingredients in the ‘For the ribs’ list, plus enough water to cover the ribs.
      Does that make sense?
      If that leaves you nervous about trying it gain, you could skip the ‘curing’ process altogether and just go straight to the cooking stage.
      Bet of luck and let me know how you get on.