Coffee-Marinated Braised Short Ribs for Christmas Eve

The wonderful thing about braised meat is that it literally cooks itself. The not-so-wonderful thing is that you need to plan ahead for the pr0longed cook time, especially if there is also a pre-braising marinade.

Which means that if you decide at 10 am to make marinated braised short ribs for dinner, then spend the entire marinade time doing last minute Christmas shopping with the kids, you won’t be eating Christmas Eve Dinner till after 10.

Which was fine since we weren’t entertaining anyone but our ourselves.  We had plenty of relaxed family time decorating the tree, wrapping presents, enjoying mulled wine and watching It’s a Wonderful Life on TV before sitting down to what was a delicious and very special meal. So special we may just do it again next year!


This recipe is modified from a bison-rib recipe on Epicurious.  I’ve since found another coffee braise that does not call for marinade, and will try that one next time. Serves 4-6.

4 cups water
3 cups strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
3 tbsp + 2 tsp packed  brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons + 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups ice cubes
4  lbs short ribs

Short Ribs:
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp instant espresso
4 strips bacon, chopped
2 cups chopped onions
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup Mr TBTAM’s barbecue sauce (you can use tomato paste or chili sauce)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Stir  water, coffee,  salt and sugar in large bowl until salt and sugar dissolve. Add syrup and remaining marinade ingredients. Stir until ice melts. Add ribs. Place plate atop ribs to keep submerged. Cover and chill 4 to 6 hours. Drain ribs; discard marinade.

Short ribs
Preheat oven to 325°F. In a pyrex measuring cup, stir instant espresso into boiling water and set aside to cool.(Alternatively, use another cup of strong brewed coffee.)

Sauté bacon in heavy heavy ovenproof pot over medium heat until fat starts to render and it begins to brown (be careful – don’t burn it!) Remove  bacon to a plate. Increase heat to medium-high. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.

Working in batches, cook ribs until browned on all sides and transfer to a plate. Add onions, shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook over medium heat till veggies are soft, about 10 minutes. Add coffee and broth; stir, scraping up browned bits. Add remaining ingredients; bring to boil. Add bacon and ribs, cover, and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

Transfer ribs to plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Spoon fat from surface of sauce. Boil sauce until thickened and reduced to your satisfaction (about 2 cups). Pour sauce over ribs.

Serve over homemade mashed potatoes (made with skim milk and a benechol spread – delish!) with a side of sauteed carrots.

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