Umami Asian Beef Short Ribs

Umami is a loanword from the Japanese (うま味) meaning “pleasant savory taste” and my fusion Asian recipe for beef short ribs has it in abundance. After slow cooking in a savory broth for several hours the ribs are finished over a hot fire and glazed with an Asian inspired BBQ sauce. This recipe works equally well with pork country style “ribs”.


Start with 4-6 beef short ribs. Cover them liberally with kosher salt. Brown the ribs on all sides in a Dutch oven pre-heated with about 2 tablespoons of canola oil. When browned remove the ribs and set aside.


Next add the following to the Dutch oven:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 two-inch piece ginger, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Cook and stir over high heat about 3 minutes until slightly browned and aromatic. Add the following and bring to a full boil:

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese 5 spice powder
Let the sauce boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and return the short ribs to the Dutch oven being sure they’re covered in liquid.


Place the Dutch oven into a smoker pre-heated to 275 degrees. Leave it uncovered to allow the smoke to flavor the meat and broth. After an hour place the cover on the Dutch oven and let it cook for another 2 hours.


After a total of 3 hours in the smoker it’s time to take the Dutch oven out. Remove 1/3 cup of broth to use in the sauce. Set the Dutch oven aside and allow the beef ribs to start cooling in the broth.

To make the sauce combine the following ingrediants in a sauce pan:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1/3 cup drippings
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes and set aside.
Now it’s time to finish the ribs over a hot fire. If you have a pellet smoker that can go to 500-600 degrees go ahead and turn it up. Otherwise put a grate over your smoker’s firebox or use a grill. Once the grill is hot place the ribs on it. Turn them after about 2 minutes and apply plenty of sauce. After 2 more minutes flip the ribs again and apply more sauce.


Remove from the fire. Sprinkle the ribs with toasted sesame seeds and serve with the extra sauce on the side.


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