From America's Test Kitchen Season 8: Favorite Slow-Cooker Classics
Beef short ribs, which contain lots of fat and connective tissue, are ideal for long, slow cooking. We wanted to develop a recipe for the slow cooker that would produce meaty ribs in a rich, oniony sauce.
Thoroughly browning the ribs first gave us a good start. Next we browned lots of onions. Instead of stock or broth, we chose beer as the braising liquid, and dark beer worked best. Tomato paste and soy sauce intensified the taste and color of the sauce (flavors tend to become muted after hours in a slow cooker). But we thought the dish lacked balance. We found our solution in an unusual source: prunes. They melted into the sauce and were unidentifiable, but their sweetness balanced the other flavors nicely. Livened up just before serving with some Dijon mustard and fresh thyme, these slow-cooker short ribs had the rich, complex flavor we were looking for.
Serves 4 to 6
The only way to remove fat from the braising liquid is to prepare this recipe a day or two before you want to serve it. Luckily, the short ribs actually taste better if cooked in advance and then reheated in the defatted braising liquid.