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Why Are Short Ribs So Expensive?

Short ribs are a popular choice for most people. If you haven’t cooked them at home, the chances are that you have come across them in various restaurant menus. 

Short ribs are known for their tenderness and rich flavor. Compared to traditional ribs, short ribs are much shorter.

The cut is made from various cow parts, including the brisket, the plate, rib, or chuck. The amount of meat the short ribs will have significantly depends on where the cut is made from. To become tender, short ribs need to be slow-cooked.


Compared to other cuts, short ribs are quite pricey. If you’ve noticed this, you may be wondering; why are short ribs so expensive?

The simple answer is that short ribs are gotten from the valuable section of the cow. Additionally, the portions are much larger compared to other cuts.

This article will discuss what you need to know about short ribs, including where to buy them, how to cook them, and what to serve them with. We will also look at the possible substitutes for short ribs. Let’s dive in.

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Where to buy short ribs


You can buy short ribs directly from your butcher.

However, most butchers choose not to stock short ribs because they are too expensive hence don’t sell out as fast as they would want.

Alternatively, you can buy short ribs from trusted online vendors and have them delivered to your doorstep.

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Why are they expensive?


Short ribs are expensive because they come from the valuable section of the animal.

Additionally, they have a rich flavor and tender texture.

When served, short ribs look very appealing because each cut has a bone in it. The rich flavor of short ribs results from the perfect bone, fat, and meat ratio.

Another reason why short ribs are expensive is that they come in larger, meatier portions.

Cooking short ribs


Cooking short ribs to perfection requires a little bit of practice.

There are various ways you can cook short ribs, including slow roasting, braising, grilling, boiling, and sous vide. Note that short ribs take a long time to cook, so you need to be patient.         

Before cooking short ribs, you need to prepare the meat. Rub the short ribs with pepper, salt, and any other spice of your choice.

After that, brown the short ribs. Browning caramelizes the surface of the meat and makes the flavor more intense.


Additionally, it removes some of the fat in the meat. To brown short ribs, you can either roast them or use a pan on your stovetop.

To braise short ribs, brown them on your stovetop and add onions, celery, rosemary, carrots, bay leaf, and thyme.

After that, add red wine and beef stock, then transfer the short ribs to your oven for them to slow cook.

You can always use beer instead of dry wine.

What to serve with short ribs.


Flavorful short ribs go with pretty much anything. I highly recommend serving them with rice, creamy grits, or mashed potatoes.

Any of the three combinations will make for an amazing dinner that will leave everyone wanting more.

You can also serve short ribs with a salad or tender green vegetables. The rich flavor of the short ribs will be very distinct.

Alternatively, you can serve short ribs with green pickled tomatoes. The tart flavor of the tomatoes complements the rich flavor of short ribs.


Another option is to serve short ribs with baked potatoes. The potatoes complement the flavor of short ribs.

As you can see, there are endless possible accompaniments when it comes to short ribs. Serve them with any of the above accompaniments for a filling meal.

Substitutes for short ribs

Since short ribs are quite pricey, you may want to substitute them with something else.

Here are a few substitutes you can use in place of short ribs.

Beef chuck roast


Beef chuck roast is cut from right above the shoulder.

Since the cut is not from the animal’s main part, it is very affordable. Beef chuck roast has a tender texture. It is also juicy, thus ideal for braising.

If you want an affordable substitute that is still good quality, use beef chuck roast.

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Beef back ribs


Beef back ribs are quite popular. They are larger than short ribs and are cut from the cow’s backbone and the surrounding muscles.

The downside of beef back ribs is that they do not have a lot of meat on them. However, they have an amazing natural flavor. 

Other than that, beef back ribs have an amazing aroma and perfect texture. You can serve it with pasta, rice, or vegetables.

Beef Plate Short Ribs


Beef plate short ribs are another ideal substitute. The main difference between them and short ribs is that they have a much higher fat content.

This cut is made just under the cow’s ribs. Compared to short ribs, beef back ribs have a richer flavor. Additionally, they are juicier.

Since beef plate short ribs contain a lot of fat, you mustn’t add a lot of oil while cooking. The fat in the ribs will cook them naturally.

Beef Flank


Beef flank is cut from the cow’s belly. It has low-fat content, and you need a lot of practice to make it tender and juicy.

The flavor is amazing, so it makes for good short ribs substitute. You can serve beef flank with mushroom sauce or veggies. 

Beef Shank

This cut is from the cow’s leg. Note that beef shanks take approximately 5 hours 30 minutes to cook properly.  

Beef shank is usually tender and sweet. You can use it for soups and steaks. It may not be readily available, but it is much cheaper compared to other cuts.

So if you’re lucky enough to get it in a shop close to you, consider using it as an alternative to short ribs.



Lamb leg, lamb flanks, and lamb shoulder are ideal substitutes for short ribs.

However, you must cook lamb properly because it will have a bad smell that will ruin your entire dish if you don’t.

Lamb is juicy, tender, and meaty. It also goes well with most dishes. The next time you are looking for short ribs substitute, try the lamb.

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Lamb have an amazing, rich flavor. Although they are expensive, they are worth every penny. You can enjoy them roasted, braised, grilled, or even boiled.

 If you cannot get your hands on short ribs, you can always use any of the substitutes we have discussed above. The flavor may not be the same, but they make for decent alternatives.

If you have never tried short ribs before, this is your cue to do so. I assure you you’ll not regret it. The flavor is out of this world.

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