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January 21, 2012 11:27 AM   Subscribe

How do YOU trim short ribs?

Hi all,

I found this crockpot Vietnamese beef/noodle recipe yesterday, and hied myself to the local supermarket last night for the ingredients. I bought packaged bone-in short ribs.

While I was reading the recipe more closely this morning, I saw that the recipe called for the short ribs to be "trimmed." That could mean a host of different things.

I Googled around a bit (chowhound, etc.) and found a couple of answers that said to remove the top cap of fat only, maybe the membrane underneath. I started to try to remove the inner fat as well but it looked like that would make the ribs fall apart. So I removed the top cap only, seared the ribs, and into the crockpot they went. (BTW, I am not a big fan of fatty meat so I'm prepared to do some major skimming/trimming later.)

A couple of hours later, I ran into an acquaintance who's a caterer/chef. He said that he normally takes the bone out.

So my question to the hivemind is this: how do YOU "trim" your short ribs? Do you take the bone out? Does the cooking method (crockpot, roast in oven, etc.) matter?
posted by Currer Belfry to Food & Drink (6 answers total)
leave the bone in!!! it adds flavor and body to the meat and the sauce in the crock. as a caterer myself, i'm thinking the only reason to take the bone out is that it's part of his specific process to make a dish/app and that it speeds up bulk cooking. as for the fat, if it is excessive, take off the top cap, but usually i just sear in a pan (like you did) to render some of that fat before putting in the crock. if you're not worried about presentation, remove the fat after cooking.
posted by ps_im_awesome at 11:35 AM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Right, leave the bone in and the fat on. That's where the flavor is. Skim fat after cooking if you like. Be sure to sear well. Sounds delish.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 12:21 PM on January 21, 2012

I don't think I'd do anything to them for that recipe. Any excess fat can be skimmed off the broth after the ribs are done cooking and any bone or connective tissue can be removed when you pick apart the meat.
posted by TungstenChef at 12:22 PM on January 21, 2012

The photos in the linked post tell you what you want to know: the cap fat has been removed, as there is none on the top of those pieces of meat whatsoever. Hope yours came out well. Can't wait to try this myself.
posted by briank at 5:12 PM on January 21, 2012

Moist slow cooking, as crockpots do, dissolves connective tissue into collagen, which gives deeeeelicious richness to the broth. See how the finished dish has those lovely shreds of meat? A knife didn't do that. Crockpot did.

Leave in the bones. Your acquaintance is a heathen.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:05 PM on January 21, 2012

Response by poster: Slightly delayed follow-up department!

I was very happy with the results, and I did not have to do a lot of trimming after the cooking was done. If I had to do it over again I would still take the cap off (personal preference) but I would leave the bone in.

Thanks to everyone who responded.
posted by Currer Belfry at 4:47 AM on February 11, 2012

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