Hard Cider-Braised Short Ribs

Winter is the official season for braised meat. Nothing takes away the damp and chill quite like the warming scent of a good braise bubbling away in the oven. Perhaps that’s why saucy, meaty dishes like brisket and pot roast have become de rigueur on Hanukkah—the Jewish calendar’s most winter wonderland-ish holiday.Braised meats also pair perfectly with potato latkes. Although I could happily construct a Hanukkah meal out of latkes alone, the crispy-edged fritters make a noble side to a platter of fork-tender meat. And the latkes’ starchy centers serve as a sponge for the braise’s flavorful jus.Some years for Hanukkah, I like to deviate from the standard brisket and braise short ribs instead. The process is the same—sear the meat, soften chopped vegetables and aromatics in the rendered fat, add enough liquid to just cover, and let the whole mess cook low and slow until the meat falls off the bone. But short ribs have a certain bravado and elegance to them that a platter of brisket can’t quite match. So if my husband and I are hosting company for menorah lighting and I want to really impress, I turn to short ribs.In this recipe, I employ a hefty glug of hard cider to flavor the braising liquid. Apples are typically served on Hanukkah as the applesauce accompaniment to potato latkes, so the cider feels both seasonally appropriate and festive. Be sure to use a hard cider that you like the taste of—ideally one that is on the crisp and dry side of the spectrum, and not overly funky. The cider’s crisp, fermented flavor offsets the ribs’ richness. It’s a match made in braising heaven.Like most braised-meat dishes, the flavor of these short ribs continues to develop a day or two after it is cooked—making it a perfect make-ahead dish for company. Preparing the short ribs in advance also gives you a chance to let the dish chill in the fridge overnight and skim off the ample layer of congealed fat that will accumulate. The flavor left behind is clean and meaty without being overwhelmingly rich.

Photo: Jennifer Causey
Active Time:
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 40 mins
4 to 6


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 6 meaty, bone-in beef short ribs (about 4 pounds)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 garlic head, cloves thinly sliced, preferably on a mandoline (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 cups hard cider (such as Angry Orchard)

  • 2 cups beef broth

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 2 fresh bay leaves

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and lemon zest, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Sprinkle short ribs evenly on all sides with 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, sear short ribs, turning occasionally, until well-browned on all sides, about 15 minutes per batch. Carefully pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pot between batches. Transfer browned short ribs to a plate while continuing to brown remaining short ribs.

  2. Pour off excess fat from Dutch oven, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan to loosen browned bits, until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add vinegar, and cook, stirring often, until liquid has almost completely evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add hard cider, broth, brown sugar, onion powder, and bay leaves. Carefully return browned short ribs and any accumulated juices to pan, nestling them, meaty side down, into liquid. Return to a simmer over medium-high, and cover.

  3. Transfer to preheated oven, and braise until meat is tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, 2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and let meat rest 20 minutes in juices.

  4. Transfer short ribs to a serving platter, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off and discard fat. Return Dutch oven to stovetop, and bring juices to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; gently simmer until braising liquid is slightly reduced and concentrated in flavor to taste, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon desired amount of sauce over ribs, and sprinkle with parsley and lemon zest. Serve with remaining sauce.


To make this recipe ahead of time, prepare through step 3, and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. To reheat, proceed with step 4, but leave the short ribs in the pan to reheat with the sauce.

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