What pork cut would you substitute for bone-in beef short ribs?
February 21, 2021 3:37 PM   Subscribe

I make this beef recipe, with English-cut beef ribs, for special occasions. Sometimes I don’t want beef. Which pork cut would best replace it? Would you make any other modifications?
posted by vunder to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This would be great with either country ribs or pork shoulder I think. The seasoning looks like it would be fine with that change.
posted by leslies at 3:54 PM on February 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

Yup, leslies's got it. Country ribs or pork shoulder (they're basically the same thing, just the country ribs are cut into strips and usually have bone attached, whereas you'd have to cut up the pork shoulder, which sometimes comes boneless).
posted by General Malaise at 4:14 PM on February 21, 2021

I would consider using shanks for this recipe. It's a cheap cut and really benefits from low and slow cooking. A thick shank will probably take longer to cook than short ribs.

If you have a butcher you can work with, I'd also suggest:
-A "coppa" cut. Basically the top of the shoulder where it connects to the neck. It will cook like a pork shoulder, but you can tie it in to a nice neat log and it will cook very evenly that way.
-Maybe some bone-in ham steaks from the lower portion of the leg. Similar cooking to a shank, but different presentation. You'll also get some of that marrow in the middle of the bone to help thicken the sauce.
-If you're not wedded to pork, lamb shanks would also work well. Oxtail might be something else to try if you want to stick with beef but do something different.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:23 PM on February 21, 2021

Pork ribs, in addition to being smaller, have less connective tissue than beef short ribs so will require much less cook time and don't need to be as low and as slow.

A similar kind of recipe, the 12345 with pork ribs, if you could use a reference for cooking technique and time. Easily adapted to your own flavourings. Normally served with steamed rice, but it's fantastic on mashed potatoes.

The 12345 is easy, quick-ish, and yummy in its own right. Chinkiang vinegar is the (minimum) standard, but I like using a higher/ premium quality oat vinegar. If you can swing it, a turbinado sugar or Chinese rock sugar with a little colour to it is a nice extra touch. I sometimes add thick lemon slices (peel on) with the rest of the ingredients prior to the simmer. I like ginger cooked this way so I use more than that recipe calls for and as slices, maybe 7 or 8 mm thick or so.

Pork shanks are a lot smaller than beef (or lamb) and I rarely see them bone in where I live (outside the context of pork hocks). Their texture really lends them to a dry brine then a base for soup or a congee topping. In a slow cooker, they might be ready in 3 or 4 hours on low or 6 or 7 at "keep warm," again, a dry brine will benefit them (gives them a silkier texture).

You could easily sub bone-in lamb shanks for beef short ribs in your recipe with probably no adjustment. It's done once the meat/ tendon peels away from the skinny end of the shank bone.

If you see turkey drumsticks, that could be a suitable substitute. Same story with the tendon peeling from the skinny end of the drumstick bone.
posted by porpoise at 5:20 PM on February 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

There are also pork short ribs.
posted by Max Power at 6:50 PM on February 21, 2021

In case you don't find the specific cuts people are mentioning, or in case they're named something different in your area, here are some rules of thumb:
  • Avoid pork chops and things with "loin" or "fillet" in their name. They dry out fast.
  • Avoid ham and bacon, and other things that say "cured," "smoked," or "marinated." They taste different.
  • Be cautious with things that look as fatty as streaky bacon, like belly. Pork belly with five spice is delicious, but it will come out much richer and fattier than you're used to.
  • Everything else will be pretty good for slow cooking.

posted by nebulawindphone at 6:41 AM on February 22, 2021

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