Gochujang-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Gochujang Braised Beef Short Ribs

The first thing you notice with these short ribs from Happy Valley Meat Co. is the smell. They smell like beef - grassy, meaty, unctuous, unapologetically beefy beef. 

I'm fairly convinced you could braise Happy Valley's short ribs in literally anything and they'd still be amazing, and maybe the best way to enjoy them is slow roasted, sprinkled with salt and pepper to appreciate the flavor of the beef.  

That being said, I'm a sucker for Korean ribs my buddy Mike and I used to make in college, slow cooked in Korean Gochujang pepper paste until they slide right off the bone.  Back then we made them in a crock pot, this time I made them in a small cast iron pot, but whatever you use just make sure you cook them slow.

This is peak set-it-and-forget-it easy cooking, a ridiculously delicious reward for about ten minutes of prep work.  

I eyeballed a lot of this and adjusted to taste as I went - the key things to remember are: do not let it aggressively boil (you should see bubbles lazily rising to the top of the pan), and make enough braising liquid to come up to about 2/3rd the sides of the ribs.  

Gochujang-Braised Korean Short Ribs

Prepare: If working with a whole rack of short ribs, cut them to individual pieces about halfway between the bones.  Season the outside of the ribs aggressively with salt and ground black pepper.

Choose the pot you're going to cook the ribs in - I'd recommend a pot that fits the ribs relatively snugly, an 8-inch pot for 3 ribs, or a 12-inch pot for more - don't overcrowd them during the searing stage, and work in two batches at that stage if you need to.

If you're working with a crock pot - I'd still recommend browning them in a pan and transferring to the crock pot afterward, it'll help create a deeper flavor.

Combine the Gochujang, Stock, Soy, Mirin, Honey, Sugar, Cumin and Garlic in a cup.  This is your braising mix.  Chop the potatoes and set to the side.

Sear: Heat the pot on the stove.  Add the beef - when the meat touches the pot, it should loudly sizzle at a fast pace.  The main goal here is to develop deep, caramelized flavor, not to cook the meat through - this means move fast and operate at a high temperature.  Brown each side of the meat in the pot.

If cooking in a crock pot, move the meat to the pot.

If cooking in the pot, at this point deglaze the bottom of the pot with a little red wine, water or beef stock.  You want to cool the bottom of the pot a bit so it doesn't burn the gochujang mix given the sugar that's present in the braising mix.

When the pot is slightly cooler, add the braising mix.  Turn the heat to the lowest level and place the cover on the pot.

Braise: You're in no hurry here, but make sure the liquid is not boiling too aggressively.  It should look something like this, notice how slowly the bubbles are rising up to the surface:

After about three hours, add the potatoes - this will help thicken the sauce slightly.

And that's about it!  Grab a beer, throw the lid back on and let them run until they're done.  You'll know they're ready when the ribs simply slide off the bone like this:

Nothing else quite like em, enjoy them with a crunchy salad, some white rice and a friend or two. 

Beverage Pairing: I ate them with a Voodoo Brewing Killapilz, and would recommend you do the same if you find yourself looking for beer in the greater Pittsburgh area.  Any higher-ABV lager would do well.

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