Grilled Short Ribs and Roasted Pepper Salsa
If you are a regular Macheesmo reader you might know that I don’t have access to a grill. It’s a serious problem. But I live in the middle of DC in a third floor apartment so there really aren’t a lot of options for me. Luckily, I have a number of friends that do have grills and occasionally if I twist their arm (I usually don’t have to twist hard) I can take over their kitchen/grill for a meal. (Thanks Liz!)
A few months ago in Gourmet they reminded me that you can grill short ribs and you end up with this lovely chewy meat. It’s how they traditionally prepare short ribs in Argentina. Rather than braising them for hours, they grill them. I spent a summer in Argentina with a friend, so I know how delicious these guys can be.
The truth about these ribs are they are not for the faint of heart. These guys are for meat lovers. Short ribs are a fatty, tough cut of meat which is why they are traditionally braised for many hours. The Argentines push all of that aside though and grill them up for just a few minutes which results in a flavor packed piece of meat which is very chewy, but in a good way.
Grilled Short Ribs
Yield: Serve 4-6.
3 pounds short ribs, seasoned with salt and pepper
Red Chimichurri Sauce:
1 large head garlic, minced (yes, an entire bulb)
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
1 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1/2 Cup chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
2 Teaspoons Argentinean aji molido, or if you can't find that, just used crushed red pepper
2 Teaspoons cumin
Roasted Pepper Salsa:
1 pound of Tomatillos, papery part removed, halved
2 medium onions, quartered
2 red peppers, halved and deseeded
2 poblano peppers, halved and deseeded
Salt and Pepper
Make the red chimichurri sauce:
1) Chop up garlic and onion as fine as you can (a mini food processor pulsed a few times would work).
2) Stir in all the other ingredients into the garlic and onion. Let it sit for at least an hour before serving.
Make the roasted pepper salsa:
1) Roast the veggies for the roasted pepper salsa on a grill.
2) Stick it all in the blender. Add the lime juice and a few Tablespoons of olive oil. Buzz everything together for a minute or two. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Make the ribs:
1) Give the ribs a liberal dose of Kosher salt and pepper and let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before hitting the grill. Cover them lightly so they don’t attract dust and dirt.
2) Put the ribs fat side down, on the hottest part of your grill. Don’t touch them for a few minutes and then turn them to sear each side. Should take about 8 minutes to sear the ribs completely.
3) Move the ribs to a slightly lower heated area. If you are using charcoal, that will be around the outside of the grill. Let them cook slowly for about another 10-12 minutes in this area. Still give them a turn every once in awhile, but no need to hover.
4) Remove from the grill, top with the red chimichurri sauce and enjoy!
It’s strange to say, but it I think it brings out the carnivore in people. It’s impossible to eat these without literally knawing on the bone, and most people don’t even notice they are doing it. It’s not something you would want to serve at a fine dinner, but man is it good.
In Argentina when you order really anything at all, you are given a big bowl of chimichurri. As far as I can tell there are about a million different versions of chimichurri, but here is a pretty good one.
Making the Chimichurri
This sauce couldn’t be easier actually. Just chop up your garlic and onion as fine as you can. I actually stuck mine in my mini food processor and pulsed it a few times just to make sure it was minced really well.
Then whisk in all your other ingredients into your garlic and onion. Let it sit for at least an hour before serving. It’s a really potent sauce. It pairs well with really strong flavors like, say, short ribs!
Prepping the ribs
I was able to find short ribs already chopped up, but if you can’t find them just ask your butcher. They almost always have some in the back. They are not a very popular cut so sometimes they don’t put them out. If you do get them from the butcher, make sure you ask him to cut them into about 6 inch pieces. That just makes the ribs much more manageable.
Give these guys a liberal dose of Kosher salt and pepper and let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before hitting the grill. Cover them lightly so they don’t attract dust and dirt.
Since I had access to a grill I wanted to take full advantage of it by trying a salsa idea that I’ve had swimming around in my head for a while. It’s a tomatillo based salsa with tons of roasted peppers.
Luckily, my grill friend had one of these nifty veggie holders which made grilling all this stuff super easy.
I did it in two batches just to make sure the veggies got their fair share of the heat. The tomatillos and onions need about 15 minutes on a medium heat grill, the peppers need a little less.
Obviously, if you don’t have one of these baskets this is still a very doable recipe. Just get out those trusty tongs and get to work.
After everything has come off the grill just stick it all in your blender. No need to take off the skins even. Add your lime juice and a few Tablespoons of olive oil. Buzz everything together for a minute or two and you should end up with this delicious salsa. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and you are all set. It’s got a lot of heat actually and an awesome roasted flavor.
Between 5 or 6 people, we went through two large bags of chips and had no problem finishing off all this salsa.
Cooking the ribs
Cooking the ribs is also pretty easy. Basically, put them fat side down, on the hottest part of your grill. Don’t touch them for a few minutes and then turn them to sear each side. Should take about 8 minutes to sear the ribs completely.
Then move the ribs to a slightly lower heated area. If you are using charcoal, that will be around the outside of the grill. Let them cook slowly for about another 10-12 minutes in this area. Still give them a turn every once in awhile, but not need to hover.
You don’t have to cover them. In fact, Gourmet advised against it, but I’m a rule breaker so take that Gourmet.
When these guys come off they will have some crispy charred bits and some almost medium parts in the middle. It’s almost a fight to get all the meat off of a rib. They are really chewy, but that is the intended texture. What do you gain in exchange for the chewiness? A very rich, meaty flavor.
Get in touch with your inner carnivore for these guys.
I didn’t slather the ribs with the chimichurri. Instead people kind of spoons what they wanted over their ribs as they ate. The spicy chimichurri coupled with the strong meaty ribs is a perfect combo.
And so ended my grill fest. The ribs were good. The salsa was outstanding. Give both a shot if you can, but seriously. The salsa people. Try the salsa.