Get ready for big, bold, and oh sobeefy. The test kitchen chef who created this recipe jokes that it’s better titled “Umami Beef Incarnate,” because the dish truly is the embodiment of beef’s incredible power to wield savory flavor to the max. With all of the umami-laden components uniting in this dish—ingredients like tomato paste, cabbage, soy sauce, bonito, sherry, etc.—this is a job for beef and beef alone (as in, this recipe is no place for your chicken and salmon). Gochujang, a Korean chile paste and serious umami booster, can be found at your local Asian market. But if you have trouble finding it, you can also substitute an additional 1 tablespoon of tomato paste for the gochujang.
For the Short Ribs:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
8 (12-oz.) bone-in beef short ribs
6 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 cups chopped onion
10 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean red chile paste)
1 cup dry sherry
10 cups unsalted beef stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 fresh thyme sprigs, tied with kitchen twine
4 star anise pods
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Slaw
4 cups thinly shaved red cabbage
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup bonito flakes
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
How to Make It
To prepare the ribs, combine sugar and salt in a 13x9-inch baking dish. Add short ribs to dish and rub all over with sugar mixture, pressing to adhere. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Rinse ribs and pat dry. Return ribs to refrigerator and let air dry, uncovered, for 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 325°.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place 4 of the in pan; cook, turning to brown all sides, for 12-14 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside; wipe pan clean with paper towels. Repeat process with 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 4 ribs. Wipe pan clean again.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook 8-10 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook until lightly caramelized, 6-8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and gochujang; cook 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add sherry to pan; bring to a boil, simmer until liquid is almost evaporated. Add stock, soy sauce, thyme, star anise, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Return all short ribs to pan; cover. Place Dutch oven in preheated oven; braise at 325° until meat is very tender and pulls away from bones easily, about 21/4-21/2 hours. Remove from oven. Remove ribs from pan and place on a platter; keep warm.
Skim fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Strain cooking liquid into a large saucepan over medium-high heat; discard solids. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce liquid to 11/2 cups. Stir in honey, lime juice, black pepper, and cilantro. Serve over ribs with slaw.
To prepare slaw, toss cabbage with salt and sugar in a large bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain and lightly squeeze dry. Toss cabbage with bonito and lime juice. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve slaw alongside ribs. Top with pomegranate arils.