Main Dishes

Cider-Braised Beef Short Ribs

The hard cider serves to cut through and balance the richness of the ribs in this comforting fall recipe from Carr’s Ciderhouse in Hadley, Massachusetts.

By Yankee Magazine

Sep 20 2021


cider-braised beef short ribs

Photo Credit : Colin Price

“Normally, you’d think about red wine with a dish like this,” says Nicole Blum of Carr’s Ciderhouse in Hadley, Massachusetts. “But if you have a tannic cider, it’s acting in a similar way.” These slow-cooked short ribs are tender and falling off the bone. The hard cider serves to cut through and balance the richness of the ribs.

From “Apple of Their Eye,” September/October 2019

Recipe excerpted from Ciderhouse Cookbook © by Jonathan Carr, Nicole Blum, and Andrea Blum


6 servings


2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
4–5 pounds beef short ribs
3 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 cup cider syrup
1 cup sweet cider
1 cup plus 1 cup dry hard cider
½ cup chopped dried figs
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Zest from 1 lemon, finely grated, for garnish
Handful of fresh parsley or cilantro leaves, for garnish


Rub 2 tablespoons salt into the ribs. If possible, do this a day before cooking and let the ribs rest, covered, in the refrigerator. If you don’t have time, salt the ribs 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 300°. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then sear short ribs in batches to brown, about 4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring to brown slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir the garlic, thyme, and remaining salt into the onions, then add the ribs to the pot. Pour in the cider syrup, sweet cider, and 1 cup hard cider (the liquid should not cover the ribs completely). Scatter in the dried figs. Cover and set in the oven. Cook until the meat is falling off the bone and is a rich, dark color, 2½ to 3 hours. Transfer to a heatproof dish suitable for serving.

Pour the pan juices through a strainer into a large glass measuring cup. Skim off the fat and discard.

Combine the juices, 1 cup hard cider, and the vinegar, bay leaves, and rosemary in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the sauce over the ribs. Sprinkle with lemon zest and parsley or cilantro. If you’re not going to serve it right away, cover the dish and keep it warm in the oven at 200°.