Cast-Iron Recipe: Chicken-Fried Short Ribs

Peter Frank Edwards; Illustration by Lara Tomlin
by Jessica Mischner and Jed Portman - Texas - August/September 2014

Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd shares a recipe that was born out of leftovers

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Chris ShepherdChris Shepherd, this year’s winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest, and his full-time butcher go to work on an entire cow every single week. Which means that they have to find creative uses for each part of the animal—including the ribs, which carry a whole lot of meat. “One day, we had ribs left over,” Shepherd says, “and we were like, ‘Let’s just braise and fry these damn things. It’ll be delicious!’ And that’s where the chicken-fried short ribs came from.” In a state where diners take chicken-fried steak very seriously, these ribs are a nod to tradition but with more texture and flavor than the customary eye of round. “It’s chicken-fried steak, but it’s also not,” Shepherd says. “When you bite into it, it’s meaty, tender, and thick.”

Chicken-Fried Short Ribs
Serves 6

From Chris Shepherd, Underbelly
Houston, Texas

6 short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 quart beef stock
½ bottle red wine
10 cloves garlic
1 carrot
1 white onion
4 stalks celery
Seasoned flour (recipe follows)
Vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Set a sauté pan over high heat, pour in olive oil, and sear the ribs, working in batches if necessary to prevent crowding. Once all 6 ribs are seared, place them in a deep pan and add in the next 6 ingredients. Make sure the ribs are submerged in liquid, then cover with aluminum foil and braise in the oven for 6 hours. After 6 hours, carefully remove ribs and place in the refrigerator to cool. Drain and save the stock for other uses—it makes delicious gravy.

When short ribs are completely cool, dredge them in seasoned flour. Pour ½-inch of oil into a cast-iron skillet, and heat to 325 to 350 degrees on the stove top. Add ribs, adjusting the heat as needed to ensure the oil stays hot. Fry each side for approximately 7 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and serve.

Seasoned Flour

4 cups all-purpose flour
5 tbsp. salt
3 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. paprika

Place ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.