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Prepping Short Ribs

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Always wondered this....

 

Beef short ribs, English cut (not flanken). Anytime I braise or cook them, they come out fantastic, except for the membrane that holds the meat to the bone. If you looked at it in profile, along the bone, you'd see all the meat sitting proud on top of the bone. But, there's this rubbery membrane that wraps around the bone to hold it together, which never cooks away for me, is fantastically unappetizing, et cetera.

 

Is this usually cut off as part of preparing the braise (and if so, what holds the meat to the bone)? Or is this taken off afterwards when plating? Or, entirely possible, am I just doing it wrong?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 12

Hi Mike,

 

Can't believe your question's gone begging for so long. 

 

The deal with the connective membrane:  You either trim the meat from the membrane or live with it.  As far as I know there's no cooking method which will dissolve it.

 

It seems lke most of the butchers around here consider boneless shortribs a "Korean" cut. 

 

BDL

post #3 of 12

Interesting. I always thought of the Korean cut as roll-cutting the meat about a quarter inch thick to form a long ribbon. Bone can be either left on or not.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 12

Perhaps the Southern-California Korean community is different from Kentucky's.  Here, bone-out short ribs are commonly sold in markets in Korean neighborhoods, but not much anywhere else.  YMMV.

 

FWIW, Koreans here refer to thin, flanken-cut as "L. A. galbi."

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/3/10 at 9:33am
post #5 of 12

Call me sick, but I like slathering the membrane with a high sugar sauce, caramelizing, then chowing down.

post #6 of 12

OK. You're sick.

 

Sorry, couldn't resist.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 12

Perhaps the Southern-California Korean community is different from Kentucky's. 

 

Quoting just one reference:

 

The 2008 CIA World of Flavor Conference was The Flavors of Asia. According to Mai Pham, who wrote the text for the book version of the conference, in her introduction to Myung Sook Lee's recipe for Korean Barbecued Short Ribs, "One of the greatest dishes from the Korean kitchen is galbi, or short ribs marinated with soy, garlic, and sugar, then grilled over charcoals. The traditional cut is short ribs that have been thinly sliced into a sheet about 1/4 inch (6mm) thick still attached to the bone...." (italics mine)

 

I'm guessing that the boneless short ribs you're referring to are sliced lengthwise from the English cut, which would amount to the same sort of strip, but without the bone.

 

On an episode of Grill It! Bobby Flay had a guest who was Korean, but from California. Her protein choice was boneless short ribs, and that's exactly what they looked like.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 12

Short ribs cut the way you described in italics are a little tricky to do yourself.  You have to get "English" cut ribs sawn in half (or do it yourself), then you make an "open book" "butterfly" about 3/4 of the way down to the bone, and continue opening it about 1/4" thick, and rolling to the next cut.  When you've got the thick side done, you open the other side at the cartilage, then trim the cartilage off the bone.  PITA!

 

I'm not quite sure that's THE traditional cut for galbi or not.  Most everything I know about Korean food I learned here in SoCal (which is a pretty good place to learn it).  There are so many Koreans and so many Korean restaurants here, I think you get a fairly representative sample; and that cut is not only dominant, it's not the most common in soon-tofu houses, AYCE barbecues, generic Korean restaurants, you name it.  Here, anyway, "LA galbi," a thin flanken, is so common you might even call it dominant.  But even the very tradtional places don't usually go through the process of successive butterflying.

 

Is LA typical of Korea?  Of some Korean regional cuisine?  I can't say -- don't know enough about it.  But given that there's something like 1/2 million Koreans in greater SoCal -- about twice the number of total Koreans living in the rest of the US -- one would think it's fairly representative.

 

On the other hand, that they call the most common style of cutting "LA galbi" has to mean something.

 

Anyway galbi is not the only Korean use for shortribs, and you see a lot of (what would otherwise be) English cut, boned-out.  And, as I said before, you see that cut in all the meat cases in Korean neighborhood, but not too much anywhere else.  I think it gets used for galbi, bulgogi, bi-bim-bap and other things as well. 

 

Quien sabe?

BDL

post #9 of 12

Short ribs cut the way you described in italics are a little tricky to do yourself.

 

To say the very least. I've done it, and wouldn't be anxious to do it again.

 

When I did it myself I pretty much followed the method you describe; sort of like roll-cutting a pork loin. Only difference is that the first cut is made parallel to the bone, about a quarter inch outboard of it. Bruce Aidels has similar instructions, for what he calls an "accordian cut." He, too, associates it with Korean food, such as bul-goki.

 

Recently I saw it done on TV, however, where the chef (wish I could remember his name and the show) actually did it as a continuous cut. After making the first cut he actually rolled the meat away from the knife as he continued slicing. Almost like fileting a fish. It was beautiful to watch, but I doubt my knife skills are up to the task.

 

I'm not quite sure that's THE traditional cut for galbi or not.

 

I don't know enough about Korean food to have an opinion. But I would think somebody like Mai Pham does.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #10 of 12

As far as the original question, I braise the ribs bone in and cut away the membrane at plating.

 

I've driven through LA, but have never been to Korea.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone. @BDL - I wondered if I had misplaced the question in the wrong forum, or if I'd broken some sort of etiquette and protocal thing. Good to know it's not me. :)

 

Interesting about Korean short ribs. I also grew up in Kentucky (Lex), and, well, I don't recall a lot of ethnic choices back then. Times have certainly changed, and I'm glad to hear it.

 

Mike

post #12 of 12

You can take the membrane out and meat glue the ribs back together with transglutaminase.  If there is still meat on the bone that will form a bond but if the bone comes clean it can be brushed with egg whites a few times and allowed to dry in order to create a surface with enough protein.  The last place I worked would also slice the rib up, season it and glue it back together in order to season it from the inside.

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