Sunday, September 14, 2008

Asian Beef Ribs ... Carnivorous Delight

Growing up, beef was very common. We had it nearly daily and it was good.

Around where I live now (Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines) beef (baka) is not at all common. Pork (baboy) and chicken (manok) are far, far more common. I would go so far as to say that Filipinos love their pork ... very, very much. They're very good at cooking it.

I like pork, too. But, I can't get away from loving beef. Sometimes, I just want a big chunk of well-prepared beef. Today, when I was at the local butcher, I saw the ribs. There they were ... large, red, and screaming "slow cook us and you'll be happy".

Now I don't believe every bit of food that speaks to me. Cauliflower keeps promising to be tasty and, without the help of a generous amount of cheese sauce, I find that it lies. Beef, on the other hand, tends to tell the truth when it claims to be good.

I poked around the web a bit looking for inspiration. Most recipes make a classic stew-like sauce in which the ribs slowly cook. I didn't feel like that today. Finally, I decided just to wing it with something slightly Asian. One part soy sauce and one part brown sugar is the foundation of teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauces are like coconut milk ... they make everything taste better.

With that and adding a little heat, I was good to go.

  • 3.7 kilograms beef ribs
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 cups soy sauce (Kikkoman's, Japanese style)
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 3 dried red Chinese chiles

I had the butcher cut the ribs short. They were oddly cut in the first place (beef is often cut strangely here ... stew beef comes in rectangular blocks). I wanted to be able to pack the ribs into the cooker.

I snagged a large frying pan, put in some vegetable oil and seared the large sides of each of the pieces of beef ribs. This was probably the hardest part of the whole process. Yes, oh so difficult ...

While searing the beef, I mixed the brown sugar, chiles, and soy sauce in my slow cooker. I could've used a bowl and poured the mixture into the cooker later. But, why make more dishes to clean?

When each piece of beef was done, I'd put it directly into the slow cooker. I arranged the pieces so that they were packed in well. The whole process took ten minutes, maybe fifteen. No more.

Finally, I turned my slow cooker on. 200F (93C).

Seven hours later ... we had fabulous beef ribs.

Test Results

Primary Test Group: Oh my god! So good! Marasa!

The other test teams were off on the other side of Leyte playing golf this weekend. So, they lose out.

Potential Improvements

Some of the meat didn't cook completely in the first bit of cooking. That's because I think I cooked too much for the slow cooker. I probably should have stopped at 3 kilos of beef ribs. I just couldn't help myself.

More of the dried chiles to give a little bit of heat. The three that I used just didn't convey anything to the large amount of liquid that was present.

Potential Variations

Could try this with pork ribs and chicken, too.


This beef was not lying. It was quite good.

So good, definite winner! Something to make again. I like making things in the slow cooker. You can use lesser cuts of meat and get fabulous results.

We haven't even used it yet, but the resulting sauce is probably amazing over rice.

Most beef here is P350 per kilo and up. The beef ribs were P210 per kilo. About the same as most pork. A definite win on the price front, too.

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