Dark Beer-Braised Short Rib Slow Cooker Recipe

Jeff O'Heir
·Editor

Short ribs simmered in dark beer in a slow-cooker with Butternuts Beer and Ale Moo Thunder Stout. Photo: Jeff O’Heir 

Chris Lohring of Notch Brewing doesn’t have a signature recipe to accompany his craft session beers, but suggested using them in any dish (chili, gravies, stews) that can benefit from the reduction of a dark, smoky beer.

Beef short ribs happened to be on sale the day we spoke to Lohring, so I broke out the Crock-Pot, did a quick search online, and opened one of the first recipes I came across: Fabio Viviani’s Dark Beer and Pepper Braised Short Ribs. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

Credit: Chow Ciao, Yahoo Screen

Use your favorite stout or dark beer (the smokier the better), or ask a knowledgeable clerk at your local beer store for suggestions. I added a few sprigs of thyme, along with the rosemary, for extra flavor, and increased the liquids by just a few ounces: I knew I’d want more stock for the leftover sides once the meat ran out. I also added a layer of carrots on top of the onions because my kids love them. (If it works with the dish, I try to sneak as many vegetables I can into the main course.) If you’re stuck for sides, serve with the green beans, smashed red potatoes or butternut squash from our super-fast side dish recipes. They all tasted great mingled with the stock.

Dark Beer-Braised Slow Cooker Short Ribs
Adapted from Fabio Viviani
Serves 3/4

Tips: When slow cooking, always use meats that have some fat or will be a dry disaster. Always brown the meat first to seal the juice in. This caramelization is key to making flavor-packed short ribs! Don’t place cold meat in the slow cooker, use it to keep food warm. Dark beer and cracked pepper bring out the caramels and deep flavors in short ribs. Reducing beef stock helps concentrate the flavors in your slow cooker. A little goes a long way.

1.5 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 ea. onions, sliced
5 ea. garlic cloves, smashed with a knife
6 fl. oz (about ½ of one bottle or can) stout beer
1 quart beef stock
1 sprig rosemary


Reduce the quart of beef stock to one cup in a shallow sauce pan or deep sauté pan and set aside.

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour until well coated. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Cook the dredged ribs until browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side. When browned on both sides, remove the ribs from the skillet and set aside. Reserve pan drippings for later.

To a slow cooker, add the onion as a bed, then add seared short ribs. Add as well any juice or drippings reserved from the pan.

Cover the ribs with smashed garlic cloves, fresh herbs, butter, salt and fresh cracked pepper. Add the stout beer and reduced beef stock.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to high. Cook for approximately 6 hours or until tender. Top short ribs with sauce made from cooking them.

For more meaty goodness:

The simplest and best baby back ribs

Listen to Meathead: This is how you cook meat

How to smoke a turkey