Short ribs braised in red wine and port until incredibly tender and melt in your mouth.
These red wine and port braised short ribs are the epitome of cozy yet elegant. The process of having something slow cooked in a dutch oven for hours gives me a sense of comfort. Let me set the scene for you; It is 2 in the afternoon on a Saturday and you just saw the weather report that it is supposed to rain for the rest of the weekend. The skies are already gray. You now have more time on your hands than expected and you’re craving a luxurious dish that gives you utter contentment. Helllloooooo red wine and port braised short ribs; melt in your mouth, delectable, full of flavor short ribs!
Not only do these short ribs fill up your house with the aroma of warming thyme and rich beef, but they give you an excuse to open a bottle of wine at 2 in the afternoon. These bad boys braise in wine for about 3 hours, so pour yourself a glass, turn on that romantic comedy movie you haven’t seen in years, and make this recipe.
What is braising?
Braising is a cooking method that starts by pan searing followed by slow cooking in a liquid. In my opinion, braising is the best cooking method to alter the flavor and texture of meat. Braising transforms the ingredient and liquid used for braising into a beautifully balanced dish.
What are short ribs?
Short ribs are called such because they are the rib bone cut into short portions and surrounded by meat. Each short rib is usually about 4-6 inches in length. The meat in a raw short rib is pretty tough, but when braised, it becomes tender and melts in your mouth! These ribs can also be called English cut ribs.
Before we get to the full recipe detailed below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need to make these red wine and port braised short ribs.
Short ribs: You will need 6-8 bone-in beef short ribs. At the grocery store, they can be found fresh from the meat department or occasionally prepacked/weighed. They are also called English cut ribs. Try to find ribs that are at least 1 ½ inch thick.
Yellow onion: I choose a yellow onion for this recipe to add a layer of sweetness when it caramelizes. The onion flavor is timid.
Carrots: Adding carrots to the braise adds a layer of earthy flavor. Carrots are naturally faintly bitter which balance the braise well.
Celery: Celery is a staple in sauces for a reason and this recipe is no different! The celery adds brightness and freshness to quite a rich sauce.
Herbs: In this recipe, I use fresh thyme and fresh flat leaf italian parsley. Oregano and rosemary could also be great additions and add a lot of flavor.
Garlic: I have faith that if you have found this recipe, I don’t need to say this, but don’t skimp on the garlic! This recipe calls for 6 large cloves of garlic, freshly minced. If your cloves are on the smaller side, use up to 8.
Bay leaves: Bay leaves simmer in the braise to add a touch of floral herby taste. A little goes a long way.
Beef stock: If possible, try to get beef stock instead of beef broth. Beef stock is made from bones whereas beef broth is made from meat. The beef stock has more flavor. Also beef broth is thinner, beef stock has a viscous, thick consistency.
Red wine: My favorite wine to braise short ribs in is cabernet sauvignon or chianti. It does not need to be an expensive wine. It should be a wine you like to drink, but doesn’t need to break the bank! Any medium-bodied dry red wine will do.
Port wine: Port wine is slightly sweet and balances the richness of the ribs. It makes the sauce more luxurious. Just like the red wine, the port does not need to be expensive.
Balsamic vinegar: Just a splash of balsamic vinegar adds some acidity to the savory dish.
Variations & Substitutions
Straining the sauce at the end is optional. I prefer to strain the sauce of the vegetables for a smooth sauce, but if you prefer a chunky sauce you can leave the chopped vegetables. Additionally, if you want your sauce to be thicker, you can simmer it over medium heat on the stove top after removing the short ribs.
The short ribs can also be cooked in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. For the slow cooker, sear the beef, cook the vegetables, add the wines & reduce, add the remaining liquids & herbs, and transfer to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours. For the pressure cooker, sear the beef using the sear setting on the instant pot. Then add the vegetables and cook, add the wines & reduce, add the remaining liquids & herbs, and with the valve set to “sealing”, cook for 50 minutes at high pressure.
For a non-alcoholic option, replace the red wine & port wine with 1 cup of beef stock, 1 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.
Tips & Tricks
Don’t skip browning the meat! I know it is an extra step but it is so worth it. Giving the beef a good sear helps build flavor in the sauce and the short ribs. You’ll thank yourself when you get a taste of those browned bits!
If possible, let the short ribs sit in the fridge overnight. Trust me, I know how hard it is to resist eating them when your whole house smells so delicious, but this step does so much. Not only does it allow the fat to cool and rest on the top, which makes it easier for you to remove, but it makes the sauce more flavorful and beef more tender.
Make this dish your own! You can change what herbs you use, what type of onion you use, or even which wine you use. Every small change will greatly change the flavor profile of the dish so experiment with what tastes best to you!
Sear the short ribs. Make sure the short ribs are patted dry and generously seasoned with kosher salt and pepper. With the pan on medium-high heat, brown all sides of the beef. Then remove from the pot.
Saute the vegetables. Saute and cook the carrots, onion, and celery. Add the minced garlic and bay leaves until aromatic.
Add in the wines, simmer, and reduce. Pour in the red wine, port wine, and balsamic vinegar. Simmer until the mixture is reduced by one third.
Pour in the beef stock & add short ribs. Add the beef stock to the wine mixture. Return the seared short ribs to the pot.
Place the fresh herbs in the pot and cook. On top of the short ribs, tuck the fresh herbs slightly under the broth wine mixture. Roast the ribs for 3 - 3 ½ hours.
Remove from the oven and chill. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and let it cool down. Once cooled down, place the pot in the fridge on a pot holder to chill for at least 6 hours but ideally, overnight.
Skim off the fat and reheat. Remove the fat from the top of the short ribs. Reheat in the oven at 375F for 20 minutes.
Strain the sauce and serve. Through a large fine mesh sieve, strain the sauce. Serve the short ribs with the strained red wine port sauce.
Serve the short ribs with the strained red wine port sauce. My favorite starch to serve under the short ribs is cheesy polenta. It can also be served with a creamy mashed potato or al dente pasta. These red wine port braised short ribs are also delicious alongside smoked gouda au gratin potatoes or mini hasselback potatoes. These brown butter garlic knots or parmesan popovers are a great bread to soak up all of that rich sauce.
Storage & Reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freeze leftovers in a sealed freezer container for up to 2 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
To reheat, put sauce and short ribs in a covered oven-safe container at 375F for 20 minutes.
Can I make these short ribs ahead of time?
Yes, it is actually best if you cook them the day before and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight to absorb flavor.
Can I make red wine short ribs without red wine?
I developed this recipe with red wine, but it can be adapted to be non alcoholic but substituted the red wine and port wine for 1 additional cup beef stock, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
Do I have to have a dutch oven to make this recipe?
No, you do not need a dutch oven. This recipe can also be made in the slow cooker or a pressure cooker. See the Variations and Substitutions section for specific directions on how to make this recipe in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.
Can I use boneless short ribs instead?
Yes, you can substitute the bone-in short ribs for 3 pounds boneless short ribs, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into 3 inch chunks.
Red Wine and Port Braised Short Ribs
- Dutch oven, slow cooker, or pressure cooker
- Fine Mesh Sieve
- 6-8 bone-in beef short rib
- 1 yellow onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 stalks of celery roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 8 cloves fresh grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 3 cups beef stock
- 2 cups red wine
- ½ cup port wine
- 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Pat the short ribs dry and generously coat all sides in kosher salt and black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven pan on medium-high heat. Add the short ribs to the heated pan to sear all sides. Make sure they are not touching. Brown each side for about 2 minutes until a caramelized crust has formed on the outside. Remove the short ribs from the pan and set aside.
- Remove the excess oil from the pan, except for one tablespoon. Set the heat to low-medium and return the pan. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery to the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and bay leaves, and saute for an additional 1 minute.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, red wine, and port wine to the pan. Bring to a simmer until it has reduced by one third, about 7 minutes.
- Add the beef stock to the wine reduction and stir. Place the short ribs back in the pan. The liquid should cover the short ribs. Place the parsley and thyme around the sides and the top of the dutch oven pan. Cover the dutch oven with the lid and transfer to the preheated oven. Roast the ribs for about 3 hours, making sure to turn the ribs half way through. The cook time may vary depending on size of the ribs and can take up to 3 ½ hours to cook. You'll know when the ribs are finished, when you're able to pull the meat apart with a fork. Once finished, remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes to let the pan cool down. Place the covered dutch oven pan in the fridge to sit overnight or at least 6 hours.
- When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the dutch oven from the fridge. The fat from the meat should be hardened at the top of the pot. Skim off all of the fat and discard. Return the the dutch oven to the oven, uncovered. Roast for about 20 minutes until the rib's exterior has browned. Remove from the oven and take out the ribs. Strain the sauce through a fine strainer to remove all vegetables. Discard the vegetables. Serve the ribs on polenta, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles and top with the red wine port sauce.