Monday, December 3, 2012

Tra Vigne's Braised Beef Short Ribs

Tre Vigne's Braised Beef Short Ribs

Hello there! Have you forgotten about me? I'm still here but I took the month of November off. I wanted to get better acclimated with my kitchen and I didn't want to add to the noise of conflicting advice on how to prepare a successful Thanksgiving feast.

During my time off I won a giveaway hosted by Kaitlin of I Can Cook That. You might remember I noted her earlier this summer when I won another giveaway she hosted that was sponsored by Buitoni. This time I won Lidia's Favorite Recipes by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. To thank Kaitlin, I'll prepare at least one dish from Chef Bastianich's book which will appear here soon.

Tre Vigne Restaurant is in the Napa Valley region of California which originally opened by Michael Chiarello. Tre Vigna's current menu features a short rib dish but specifies the ribs are smoked, then braised which is different from this recipe.

The Challenge

I looked at dozens of braised beef short rib recipes and all followed a basic operating procedure of searing the ribs, removing the ribs, adding and browning a mirepoix, deglazing and adding the braising fluid along with the ribs, bringing to a simmer and reducing the heat to low to break down the connective tissue that makes the short ribs so tough except one. This recipe separated itself by putting the beef in a brine overnight before cooking which is unusual for beef.

This isn't so much of a challenge as it is a question: Will the brine make a difference in flavor and moisture in a beef dish?

The Source

I took this recipe from epicurious.


1 quart water
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup Kosher salt
1 bay leaf
5 juniper berries (I didn't have any available.)
4 pounds meaty beef short ribs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or more if needed
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 head of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
2 cups of beef broth or stock
1 cup of dry red wine
1 cup Sherry vinegar (I used red wine vinegar.)
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes tomato pureé


1. Brine the ribs. Combine water, sugar, salt, and bay leaf in a pot and simmering over medium heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Add the short ribs to the brine and chill covered in the refrigerator for at least four and up to twenty-four hours. Remove short ribs from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Then discard the brine.

2. Preheat the oven to 325° Fahrehneit. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy ovenproof Dutch oven over medium high heat on top of stove uncovered. Sauté the ribs in batches until browned on all sides, about three minutes per side. Remove ribs to a platter.

3. Add the onions, carrot and garlic head to the pot and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until vegetables are golden, about eight minutes. Stir in stock, wine, vinegar and tomato pureé, scrapping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the ribs back and any juices on the platter to the pot and bring to a simmer.

4. Cover and transfer to the preheated oven. Braise in the oven until meat is tender about two-and-a-half to three hours. Remove ribs from sauce and discard garlic skin, which should have separated from the cloves of garlic. Serve the ribs with the sauce on the side.


The recipe author notes that this dish is even better if cooked on Day 2 (if Day 1 is used for preparing the brine), refrigerated overnight in the sauce, reheated and eaten on Day 3 removing any solidified fat before the reheating process.

In all honesty, I'm unsure if the brine made a difference because the vinegar was so overpowering. The ribs were tender and I could hardly keep the meat from falling off the bone. The one endearing quality is Mrs. Stuntman enjoyed it.


  1. hi FS! Welcome back to your blog. I have been missing your cooking stunts. I love braised beef well then again I'm a meat kindna' gal. So as long it's beef, it's definitely music to my ears. I believe my dad will enjoy this dish. Can't wait to cook this for the family. Cheers, Jo

  2. That is an absurdly salty brine - 25% by my calculations. Way to strong for overnight. Did you mean 4 qts water?


Feedback is always welcomed. If you're going to be critical, be constructive. In other words, be nice.