Slow Cooker Short Ribs – Beef short ribs are cooked in a slow cooker to help break down the meat and make it ultra-tender and juicy. Served with a rich red-wine gravy.
I can’t believe I haven’t shared a slow cooker recipe with you guys yet! Granted, I don’t use my slow cooker regularly, but still…I use it enough to have some great recipes to share with you guys!
Today’s recipe is actually the first thing I ever made in my slow cooker. It was such a slam dunk that I’ve kept it in my repertoire ever since. It’s quite unfortunate, however, because it’s the recipe I measure all my other slow cooker recipes to so it’s limited me a little. Most of the things I end up making in the slow cooker are meats that benefit from the slow cooking process like turkey breasts, pulled pork, and – today’s feature- short ribs!
But these aren’t just any slow cooker short ribs…they are cooked in a rich red wine gravy. Ohhh yes!
Ahh red wine gravy. It’s truly magnificent. It’s the same kind of gravy featured in these drunken spaghetti & meatballs. So if you love those, these short ribs are right up your alley!
If you haven’t had red wine gravy before, oh man. Prepare to be amazed! Red wine and beef compliment each other so well and take the flavor profile to a whole other level. Imagine a rich, decadent burst of flavors and you’ll have red wine gravy. It’ll change your life.
Aside from the incredible flavor, this red wine gravy has a very important purpose – it helps break down those short ribs and deliver the most tender piece of beef you’ve ever had. Yes, I am so serious. It’s more tender than any smoked brisket I’ve had. The bone will fall straight out after cooking and you won’t need a knife to cut through it – they’re fork-tender, baby!
These short ribs may look like they take tons of knowledge and work to make, but I promise – they are so super simple! You do have to sear the meat a little before cooking in the crock pot. It helps give the meat the gorgeous crust that you see in the pictures. If you don’t sear the meat, it will look all bland and dull. Not good.
Here’s how the short ribs look right after we sear them. Look at that crust!
In case you need a little more advice before making these, here are some key tips to remember when making these short ribs in your slow cooker:
- When searing the short ribs, the pan has to be super hot and the ribs need to be patted dry. Water repels the heat and creates steam around the surface of the searing meat so it won’t brown properly if there’s excess moisture.
- Once the short ribs are seared, arrange them in one even layer in your large slow cooker. I had to play a little Tetris to get this to happen but eventually they cooperated. This is important because it makes it easier for the red wine gravy to completely cover them during the cooking process. And, as a reminder, having the short ribs completely submerged in the gravy makes them ultra-tender.
- These short ribs take at least 7 hours to make (when on HIGH) so you’ll have to start these early in the morning if you want to eat them at a normal hour for dinner. Make sure you give yourself enough time!
There you have it – my first slow cooker recipe for you guys! Do you like slow cooker recipes? Should I share more with you guys? Let me know in the comments below!
Slow Cooker Short Ribs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 1/2 pounds beef short ribs bone-in
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 2 shallots minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 3 cups dry red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Place a deep skillet or braising dish on stove. Add oil and then set heat to high. While it heats up, pat dry your short ribs and season with salt and pepper.
- Once the oil is hot, add short ribs and begin to sear until a deep brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes. Do not crowd the pan. I could only fit 3 ribs in my pan at once so I did this in batches. Flip 90 degrees and continue browning all the sides. Turn off heat. Place short ribs in the bottom of a slow cooker, rib-side down. Do not turn on slow cooker yet.
- Pour any juice out of the skillet/braising dish. Place back on heat and set to medium. Add minced shallots and diced celery. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and push into the veggies using the back of the wooden spoon. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Slowly pour the beef broth into the pan. Carefully, it may sizzle violently at first. Add red wine and stir together. Whisk in the flour, making sure to remove most of the lumps, Add bay leaves, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. When adding salt and pepper, taste first and then gradually add so you don't over-season. I start with 1/4 teaspoon at a time.
- Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. It will probably be steaming. Turn off heat and pour sauce over the short ribs. Try your hardest to get the short ribs as submerged in the liquid as you can. Cook for 7-8 hours on HIGH or 11-12 hours on LOW. You'll know it's ready when it begins fall apart with only your fork. All the bones fell out of my short ribs, too.
- Serve with chunky mashed potatoes or hearty noodles, like pappardelle.