Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Cauliflower, Potatoes and Pumpkin Seeds

There are two keys to great short ribs: one, braise them slowly until the meat is so tender it is about ready to fall off the bone; and two, crisp them quickly over a direct fire right before serving. Pairing them with hearty accompaniments is also a must. This recipe gives you simple instruction for achieving the perfect short ribs, braised in Belgian ale, and we can guarantee the accompaniments will be a hit. Roasted cauliflower, fingerling potatoes and cherry tomatoes are lightly caramelized and flavored by apple wood smoke. Roasted pumpkin seeds add a special touch of the Fall season.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 6
Image of Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Cauliflower, Potatoes and Pumpkin Seeds


For the short ribs

  • 6 beef short ribs, about 6 pounds total
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cups Belgian ale
  • 12" to 14” covered cast iron skillet or large Dutch oven

For the roasted vegetables

  • 1 large head of fresh cauliflower broken down into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound red fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 ½ pounds multi-colored cherry tomato medley or grape tomatoes
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup apple wood chips, soaked
  • 12" to 14” cast iron skillet
  • 8” to 10” cast iron skillet

Prepare the grill for indirect cooking at 400°F (I prepare this dish on a Kalamazoo K900 Series Hybrid Grill. Because the food is cooked in skillets, I set it up for gas grilling and made foil smoking envelopes for the apple wood. The K900 should run at 400°F with 1 main burner control zone on high, 1 on low, and 2 off).


Preheat a cast iron skillet directly over the fire. The total cooking time will be about 3 hours with wood smoke added for the final hour.Liberally salt the short ribs. Add a small amount of oil in the preheated skillet. With the skillet directly over the fire, brown each side of the ribs for about 3 minutes per side. Avoid overcrowding the skillet.


Brown the ribs in two batches if necessary. Place all of the ribs in the skillet, add 2 to 3 cups of Belgian ale, cover, and position the skillet in the indirect cooking zone. Cook for 1 hour with the hood closed, then turn the ribs over and rotate the skillet 180°.


Cover and continue indirect cooking for another hour. At the 2-hour point, turn the ribs and the skillet again and add the vegetables to the grill (details follow). About 1 hour and 50 minutes into cooking the beef, add 2 more skillets to the grill to pre-heat.


Combine the cauliflower, potatoes and garlic in a large bowl along with about ½ cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat. Combine the tomatoes with a little salt and olive oil in a separate bowl. At the 2-hour point, add the tomatoes to the smaller skillet and the cauliflower mixture to the other skillet.


The skillets with the tomatoes and cauliflower mixture should remain uncovered, placed in the indirect cooking zone. Start the apple wood smoke, close the grill, and cook the vegetables alongside the ribs for about 45 minutes, turning the cauliflower mixture once. At the 2 hour and 45 minute mark, transfer the tomatoes into the skillet with the cauliflower mixture.


Close the grill and continue roasting for 15 more minutes. The cauliflower and potatoes should be browned around the edges and starting to turn crisp. During the final 15 minutes of grilling, roast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over a cooktop burner at medium heat, tossing constantly until brown and popping. Drain on paper towels.


At the 3 hour mark, transfer the braised ribs from the skillet onto the grill grate in the direct grilling zone. They will be very tender at this point, so treat them gently. Crisp up the outside of the ribs over the fire for a few minutes, and then transfer them to a serving platter.


Transfer the roasted vegetables to a serving bowl and toss them with the roasted pumpkin seeds.