A few weeks ago, my wife and I attended the Willoughby Brewing Company Cask Ale Night during Cleveland Beer Week. Before we left, we snagged a growler (64oz) of a very special version of the ever popular Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter. This version was cask conditioned with the addition of cocoa nibs! The cask condition version of the beer was outstanding, and instantly gave me an idea. Cask condition ales are not really meant to go home in a growler with you to drink, but we figured we could still use this amazing beer to braise some short ribs. The cost for a growler of Willoughby Brewing Company beer ranges from $13-16 if you own a growler and only $3 more if you need to buy a new growler. In this post today, I’ll share what I did and how it tasted, Cheers!
- 2 lbs bone-in short ribs
- Kosher salt and/or fresh ground sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 whole cloves of garlic
- 1 large yellow onions, sliced in 1/2″ thick half rings
- 4 carrot, chopped into 1/2″ pieces (You can use more or less depending on how much you love carrots
- 24oz of Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter from Willoughby Brewing
- ½ cup beef stock
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 2 bay leaves
Season ribs at least 24 hours in advance with salt and pepper, then refrigerate until you are ready to start.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Pour the olive oil into a dutch oven. Heat over medium-high heat. Brown short ribs, Cook for 3-4 minutes per side until nicely browned. Set the ribs off to the side on a plate and then return the pan to medium heat. Add in the onions, garlic and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are just softened and beginning to caramelize. This took about 4-6 minutes.
Add the beer into the pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge any remaining food aka, the good stuff. Pour in the beef stock and bring liquid to a boil again (this shouldn’t take long). Reduce heat to a simmer and place ribs in the pot. Pour any juices released from the ribs that remain on the plate into the pot. Toss in the rosemary sprig and bay leaf between the short ribs. Check the liquid level of the pot to make sure the ribs are all mostly submerged in the liquid. If necessary, add more beer but you should still be able to see the tops!!
Put on the lip and place your pot in the oven and cook maintaining a simmer for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until ribs are fork tender. The slower you cook them the better! While braising, gently turn the ribs with tongs, as not to tear up the meat, every 45-60 minutes until done.
When the ribs have finished braising, carefully remove the meat and vegetables from the pot. Tilt the dutch oven to the side to gather juices in one end and skim off as much surface fat as possible with a big spoon. Either in the dutch oven or a saucepan, reduce the remaining liquid by simmering strongly for 10-15 minutes. Reduced sauce should be syrupy. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Once you have your sauce, feel free to dig in and enjoy by spreading the sauce on and around the ribs and vegetables. Also, don’t forget your glass of Peanut Butter Coffee Porter to go with your meal, you should have 20oz left out of your growler!
First, the good. The meat and vegetables were super tender and packed with flavor. You could definitely taste the roasty porter backbone. The reduction, although it took 20 minutes, was worth every second. The peanut butter coffee flavor came back to life and really completed the dish. Do not skip this step, but a word of advice is you really only need about 6oz of the liquid to get a good reduction. If you would try to reduce all of the remaining liquid you would be waiting about an hour! Now, the not so good. The rosemary really overpowered everything. 1 rosemary sprig was too much, and if I had to do it again I would use way less, or probably even none at all. All of the other flavors in the dish worked so well together the rosemary actually seemed out of place. Although the rosemary was a misstep, the dish was a home run and we look forward to making it again. For my next attempt I might even go sweeter, with some maple syrup and/or even some brown sugar. I think these ingredients would complement any porter or stout you use to braise with.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about this dish as much as I liked cooking and eating it! I encourage you to try making it with Willoughby Brewing’s Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter or even their regular Gutterpup Porter, but really any porter or stout will do. If you end up making this dish, post a comment on here and let me know what you thought, Cheers!