It’s possible that I owe my entire marriage to my ability to make short ribs. One of the first recipes I truly mastered was braised short ribs with homemade pasta, and now whenever I make them and watch my now-wife take a bite, I say to myself, “Gotcha!”
This is a simpler version of the full-on braised short ribs, but no less delicious. Instead of homemade pasta, cheesy grits are a rich serve-along.
EASY SHORT RIBS IN THE SLOW COOKER
It’s my little secret that short ribs are actually one of the easiest dinners I make. I won’t tell if you don’t.
They are essentially impossible to overcook unless you completely forgot about them for…longer than you’d ever actually forget about them. They make their own sauce as they cook and go with SO many things.
Whether braised or slow cooked, tossed in a ragu with noodles or served over grits, these beauties are a favorite in my house and they will be in yours as well.
WHAT ARE SHORT RIBS?
If you’ve never bought short ribs before, they are literally from the ribs of the cow, but cut into short segments for easier cooking.
For braised and slow cooked recipes like this, always buy bone-in short ribs, which you should be able to find at any butcher or even most grocery stores these days.
THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR THESE SHORT RIBS
This version of short ribs combines some of my favorite flavors: bourbon, brown sugar, and orange zest. Trust me when I say not to skip the orange zest!
While you could serve these over any starch, on a chilly fall or winter night, I like them on a bed of perfectly creamy cheesy grits. It’s pure comfort food and a guaranteed winner of a dinner.
HOW TO MAKE SHORT RIBS IN THE SLOW COOKER
While you could just toss all the ingredients in a slow cooker and end up with a pretty solid version, it’s worth the extra work to lightly flour the ribs and brown them in a skillet before adding them to the slow cooker.
This browning enhances their flavor and the light flour coating helps thicken the sauce in the slow cooker as well.
After you brown the ribs and transfer them to a slow cooker, be sure to add the chopped veggies to the skillet along with a good splash of water to scrape up bits stuck to the pan. Those bits are flavor gold and should go in the slow cooker as well!
Now it’s just a waiting game while the short ribs braise in the slow cooker.
HOW LONG DO THE SHORT RIBS COOK?
The short ribs will take about eight hours on low heat in a slow cooker or five to six hours on high.
They can go longer without too much concern if you need to stretch the cook time a bit, although I wouldn’t go longer than 10 hours because they might start to fall apart and become more shredded than you are looking for.
HOW TO MAKE THE CHEESY GRITS
Sometimes I make grits with cream and dairy for the liquid, but for a savory dish like this I like to use stock. This lightens them up a bit, but still gives them lots of flavor. Plus, we are adding cheese anyway!
Grits, which are basically ground corn, but not quite as fine as corn meal. They are not hard to make, but they do require some attention. Bob’s Red Mill makes my favorite bag of grits that’s available nationwide.
After you add the cornmeal to a pot of simmering stock, stir regularly to make sure the grits aren’t sticking. If they get too thick, you might need to add more liquid (water works fine).
Taste them occasionally and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Right before you serve them, add the butter and cheese.
HOW TO SERVE THE SHORT RIBS
Serving the short ribs, veggies, and sauce over a bed of the cheesy grits is a restaurant quality meal.
Accolades and kind words will be showered upon you from anyone you serve this to.
MORE FAVORITE SLOW COOKER DISHES!
Updated March 3, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle and also make a few tweaks to the recipe based on YOUR feedback — thank you! We hope you enjoy!