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
1/2 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.