There is nothing as delectable as a well-prepared short rib. Short ribs are palatable, succulent, and rich in flavor. They are a must-have in catered events, gatherings, catered events, and reunions, thanks to their unique flavor and texture.
Short ribs are versatile. You can slow-roast, braise, or grill them. They go surprisingly well with most dishes, so you never have to worry about a disparity in taste.
Unfortunately, short ribs may not always be in stock. You may need to use an alternative for another reason. The good news is that there are several alternatives you can use in place of short ribs.
The best substitutes for short ribs are; beef chuck roast, beef plate short ribs, beef back ribs, beef shank, flanken ribs, beef brisket, and lamb.
This article discusses the substitutes mentioned above in detail, but first, let us look at what short ribs are and why you may need to substitute them.
What Are Short Ribs?
Short ribs are cut from the beef chuck, and they comprise 5 short ribs.
They are called short ribs because they contain portions of each long rib. Short ribs are delicious.
There are two main cutting methods for short ribs: BBQ style and English style. The BBQ style, also known as the flanken style, is where they cut the ribs into three bones strips. Usually, they are great for braising and slow cooking.
On the other hand, the English style is a more conventional cutting method for short ribs. It is where they cut the ribs into one-bone chunks.
Most people love short ribs because they let you enjoy two flavors; the rib and chunk. The rib keeps the meat luscious and juicy, while the chuck has a full beef flavor.
If you like meat that falls off the bone, you’ll enjoy braised or slow-cooked short ribs. Grilled short ribs are also the perfect smoked meat.
Why Use Substitutes?
Short ribs are pretty flavorful. However, there are circumstances where you may need to use alternatives. Some of them are;
- You are reducing your red meat intake
- Your short rib vendor does not have the variety you prefer, i.e., in-bone short ribs or boneless short ribs.
- You don’t like the taste of short ribs.
- You want to try something new.
The Best Short Rib Substitutes
Short ribs have a unique flavor and texture. However, they are not too tricky to substitute. Here are some alternatives that you can use in your recipes.
Beef Chuck Roast
Beef chuck roast also known as a pot roast or center-cut chuck roast, is arguably the best short ribs substitute. Its texture and flavor are very similar to short ribs.
Chuck roasts are cut from the cow’s neck and shoulder. For this reason, their taste is very similar to short ribs.
The advantage of using this substitute is that there isn’t much difference in preparation. The method you use to prepare short ribs is the same one on chuck roasts. You can marinate chuck roasts and grill them over direct heat or cook them using a smoker. They will be ready in a relatively short time.
The only notable difference between short ribs and chuck roasts is that chuck roasts have a higher fat content.
Beef chuck roasts are readily available in most supermarkets since they are always in high demand. Therefore, you won’t have a problem finding this substitute.
Beef Plate Short Ribs
Beef plate short ribs are cut from right under the rib. These ribs are very similar to short ribs but have a much higher fat content. They will be the best substitute if you like naturally juicy meat.
My favorite thing about this substitute is that you need not pay too much attention to pre-cooking preparation, thanks to the naturally high-fat content. However, you need to be careful not to add too much cooking oil during the cooking process because the meat will become unpalatable.
When using this substitute, I highly recommend getting rid of the thick fat cap on the meat. This is because the fat cap does not render pleasantly. Removing the fat cap won’t affect the natural juiciness of the ribs.
I love using this substitute because I use the same cooking techniques I usually use when cooking short ribs. Additionally, I don’t have to change my seasoning.
Beef Back Ribs
Beef back ribs, also called beef spare ribs, are another ideal substitute for short ribs. They are cut from the cow’s back and are much longer than short ribs. Additionally, they have less meat on them.
Another notable difference is that beef back ribs have a much higher fat content. For this reason, they may not be the healthiest option.
The flavor of beef back ribs is similar to short ribs. I highly recommend using beef back ribs for roasting, braising, and barbeques.
If you want to substitute boneless short ribs, use prime rib roast or ribeye steak. Both of them are obtained from back ribs.
Beef shank, also known as shank cross-cut, is a good short rib substitute. Beef shank is cut from a part of the cow’s leg, and its appearance is similar to steak.
Often, beef shank comes with a circle of the leg bone at the center, but you can go for a boneless beef shank to avoid the bone.
Most people don’t like using this substitute because they believe it comes out dry after cooking. However, the beef shank can be soft and tender when cooked properly.
If you choose to use this substitute, you have to be patient. You need to slow cook the meat in moist heat for at least 5 hours to cook properly. Appropriately cooked, the beef shank has a rich, pleasant flavor.
Flanken ribs are beef cuts from the cow’s flank, very close to where short ribs are obtained. Usually, flanken ribs are sliced thinly.
The flavor of flanken ribs is similar to short ribs. The best part is that the meat is tender and soft, so you don’t have to cook them for a long time like you do other substitutes.
Compared to short ribs, flanken ribs are leaner. They also have a lower fat content, making them a healthier option.
Flanken ribs are versatile because they go well with a variety of dishes. You can also use them for Korean-style barbecue, braise them, or bake with veggies and tomato stew.
If you need to substitute ground short ribs, beef brisket is the perfect substitute.
Brisket usually consists of two overlapping muscles cut from the cow’s lower breast. A whole brisket weighs approximately 14 pounds.
The flavor of beef brisket is similar to ground short ribs, so you can use it the same way you use ground short ribs. Your options are endless, so you can be as creative as you want.
If you are looking for a non-beef alternative, lamb legs and lamb shanks are suitable options. The best part is that they are a healthier alternative. Lamb legs and lamb shanks are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and iron.
Lamb shanks are cut from the lower part of the lamb’s leg. Unlike beef, lamb has a chewy texture and is meatier. Despite this, lamb has a distinct, pleasant flavor that easily replaces short ribs. Additionally, lamb goes well with a variety of sauces and marinades.
For lamb’s flavor to close imitate short ribs, you should slow roast or braise the meat. Lamb is not ideal for quick barbecues as it will turn out too chewy for your liking.
If you are using lamb legs, you have to cook them for an extended time. However, be careful not to overcook as the meat will be unpleasant if it falls off the bone too easily.
Lamb is more expensive than short ribs, but it is a decent replacement and worth the price.
Short ribs have a fantastic flavor and texture. The substitutes discussed above may not give you the same results, but they come pretty close.
You can explore the options one by one until you get the one that suits you best. My personal favorites are beef chuck roast, beef plate short ribs, and beef back ribs.
Let me know which substitute is your favorite in the comments below.