Good Eats Beef Stew

Total Time:
6 hr 35 min
35 min
1 hr 30 min
4 hr 30 min

4 servings


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and dried herbs. Set aside.

Season the short ribs with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt. Place a large griddle over medium-high heat and once a drop of water bounces off, sear the meat until browned on all sides. Once browned, remove the meat to the bowl with the paste and toss to coat. Transfer to a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and seal tightly. Place the package into a metal pan and put into a cold oven on the middle rack. Set the oven to 250 degrees F and cook for 4 hours.

Remove the meat from the oven and carefully poke a hole in the pack while holding it over a heatproof container. Drain the liquid into the container and place it into the refrigerator to cool enough so that the fat separates from the rest of the liquid, approximately 1 hour. After 1 hour, transfer the liquid to the freezer and keep there until the fat cap has solidified, approximately 1 hour. Allow the ribs to sit at room temperature while the liquid is cooling or if serving the next day, place in the refrigerator until ready to finish.

Retrieve the liquid from the refrigerator and remove the fat cap that has formed on top. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the fat and reserve the rest for another time. Place the fat into a large saucier and place over medium heat. Once the fat has melted add the onion along with the remaining teaspoon of salt and stir to separate the onions into rings. Allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes along with a pinch of black pepper and stir to combine. Next, add the liquid reserved from the meat and stir. Cover tightly and decrease the heat to low so that no heat is escaping the lid. Cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Meanwhile, cut the meat away from the bone, removing the connective tissue and discarding. Once the potatoes are tender, uncover and set the meat atop the vegetables. Cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

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    Excellent recipe. The key is to take your time and do every step properly. Dry the beef well so it browns to a nice crust. Clean the pan between batches. I used fresh chopped thyme and rosemary, and dried oregano about 2 teaspoons EACH. I think the recipe goes too light on these seasonings for my taste. I also increased the tomato paste a bit, but I also had to make it fresh from Pomi chopped tomatoes. The only corner I cut was putting the sauce straight into the freezer to collect fat for the vegetables. Within 30 min I had a tablespoon or so. It didn't seem like enough for all the veggies I had, so I added a tablespoon of butter too. The taste was very satisfying but without much zing. It went well with some grated gruyere cheese on top!
    best. stew. ever. Instead of just onions, I used carrots, celery, and onion and substituted sweet potatoes for the potatoes. I also added some criminis to the mix and oh.em.jee.  
    Words cannot do this dish justice.  
    Easy, plan ahead for down time in the fridge and such, but soooo soooo good.
    Awesomeness is pale to this recipe! My Go To For Stew!
    This is by far The Best Stew I ever had. I substituted organic, grass-fed bison meat for beef as it seems healthier to my fiance and I cooked it in slow cooker. I have made it 3 times before and this time I doubled the meat to freeze half for next time. I serve it with salad and some rye bread.
    Great dish! I've made this several times, and every time i've rushed it, it wasn't nearly as good. Patience is definitely the key to this one.
    Well worth whatever time this recipe may take, if you want delicious results! Not all food has to be "", Sometimes, the best food is something that takes your flavor memories to places it hasn't been in a long, I mean "l..o..n..g" time. Like your Mom's
    This recipe blew me away. It delivered on all the promises of tender, succulent beef and flavorful vegetables (I added carrots as well. I was skeptical at first of doing the meat and vegetables separately, but by cooking the vegetables in the beef fat and then adding in the braising liquid, it all comes together perfectly in the end. Seriously, Alton, this one is outstanding.
    Excellent! I have made this several times and we really like it. Like others, I add some other veggies, like carrots and celery. I think it would be great with a boston butt. I might try smoking the boston butt for an hour then finish it in the oven for a few hours.
    This recipe was tasty, but didn't turn out the way I thought it would. I expected it to turn out like stew, which in my mind is chunky, thick soup, but it was more like a moist hash. I will make this again, but will add some beef broth or beer or wine to make more like a stew. I would also suggest adding celery and carrots to this, but I'm a traditionalist.
     The best part about this recipe is that the long cooking time at the low heat of 250 degrees tenderizes the meat. The vinegar helps too! This technique will be really useful to me in future cooking.
    I made this recipe as is except for the apple cider vinegar which I did not have on hand. (I always try to do that the first time. I can tweak it next time to my taste. I used balsalmic vinegar instead. This made an amazing beef stew. The flavors worked very well.
     And yes, leftovers were even better the next day.
    Yuck! I hated the apple cider vinegar. Otherwise it was OK. I made it in the crock pot also. Wish the sauce tasted better!
    This was the best beef stew I've ever made. I didn't want to heat up the oven, so I wrapped in foil and used my crock pot on low setting. I let cooked meat sit in fridge for 2 days before I got around to finishing and serving for a meal. I plan to make this again and package meat into portions for 2 and freeze to use as a base for all kinds of dishes that normally have long cooking times. I love this cooking method, I don't think it matter whether you use tough cuts of beef, pork or lamb.
    This is a great recipe. The principles AB teaches in this particular recipe can be parlayed into a variety of stew-like dishes. I use a similar cooking time with a beef base, sherry and shallots to create a phenomenal beef stroganoff.  
    I will say this, however: I don't use beef ribs--they're too fiddly and expensive in my area. Instead I use a chuck roast which I butcher into large cubes before searing. This not only cuts down on the cooking time, but it also has a similar fat content to that of the beef short ribs. The chuck roast is relatively inexpensive--anywhere to 2.50 to 3.50 a pound and make a delicious finished product with less waste and more meat.  
    Also--as my husband is a carboholic I serve as is--he won't eat cooked carrots or peas, but serve over egg noodles for the ultimate comforting dinner.
    I thought these had a wonderful flavor, but agree with smelatchu and did not care for the fattiness of the short ribs, their texture, or the waste. I thought the paste made the meat very flavorful and although it was a lengthy process, the flavor was worth it. Next time, I'll use a different cut of meat.
    A-Mazing. I made this dish and the 4h 30m cooking time it says in the recipe is misleading. It takes 4 hours just to cook the meat then you have 2 hours to kill while the fat separates out. I ended up cooking the meat one night and finishing the stew the next night. My husband raved saying it was the best stew he had ever had. Well worth waiting the extra day for it!
    Outstanding! I followed the recipe exactly the first time. Short ribs are very expensive in my area, so the 2nd time I used a 7 bone roast. I roasted seasoned potatoes, onion, carrots and celery separately and then combined them with the meat. I have made it 5 times and it has been excellent every time. The leftovers are still very good the next day.
    This is the BEST beef stew that I have tasted in my half century on this planet. It is not difficult to make, just time consuming. The meat is fall off the bone tender and the taste is outrageous. You can serve this, with a crusty bread to guests.
    the taste of the juice was just amazing, the meat just melted in your mouth, personally, I cannot eat stew with just meat and potato, so I added 1 carrot chopped and cooked it with the potato, and then stired in 3/4 cup of frozen peas at the end to have more veggies, then there wasnt enough juice, so next time I will cook the carrot and peas separatly then add at the end, and maybe dilute with some beef stock to have more juice
    I made this and it was absolutely perfect. Sorry Alton, but I braised with mirapoix and whole garlic cloves - and it was radical. =) Previous comment: I bet you your 1lb of finished meat was dry too, right? If so, you must have had a bad seal on your braise packet. A thought.
    I really loved the recipe, but I didn't enjoy the short ribs. Perhaps it was just the quality of the ribs I bought, but they were very fatty, and while that is good for flavor, I didn't care for the texture or the fact that from 4.5 pounds of short ribs I got less than 1 pound of meat.  
    BUT, everything else about this recipe was to die for! The roasting "paste" was excellent and everyone loved the stew. I also added some beef stock (because there wasn't enough liquid), carrots, and peas. I will DEFINITELY make this again, just with a different cut of meat. Thanks AB!
    Wonderful! Have been using this ever since it was first on. I do my searing outside with a castiron skillet on the propane burner for the turkey frier - keeps the smoke out of the house.
    Alton Brown if your reading this.. u own! im a fan and im 12 and hope to be a chef. i just got an inventation to cook at a mexican resturaunt in IL with a chef. i hope to be like u cause u rock! I also have like 45 episodes of good eats on my tv. keep being awesome!
    I admit I had to change the recipe a little because I am alergic to apples. So instead of using apple cider vinegar I used red wine vinegar. I have made this dish over and over again. Everyone in my family loves it.
    slow cooking meat in the oven is out standing. I won't ever make a stew, roast, short ribs any other way. Right on Alton. Watch you everyday. Keep up the good work. Pat, Auberry, Calif.
    All I have to say is try it.
    This is one of my favorites from my favorite Foot Network chef! Try it! I've tried this multiple times with multiple visitors and every single one of them LOVE it, too!
    Try Sofrito , not Soffritto, which is spanish, while Sofrito is Spanish,, hope that helps.
    Love AB for his info, but did he get his culinary terminology wrong? While cooking the stew, he stops to talk about a Mirepoix which is french for onions, carrots and celery. But then he says the italian version is called a bottoto similar to a spanish soffritto. I have looked and looked for more informaton on a "bottoto" and nothing comes up in italian. Instead the word soffritto comes up as italian and not spanish like AB pointed.
     Not nit picking but if he had actors dressed up as three different culturs, someone took the time to do some research. Can someone fill the rest of us in on what the Italian version of a mirepoix is really called?
    The Italian version of a mirepoix is called "sofritto" comes from the Italian verb soffriggere, which means to brown or fry slightly; to sauté. My Nonna, mamma, and zias (aunts) also referred to it as the "holy trinity". There are also variations to the holy trinity and it depends on the dish being prepared.
    I am making it for the second time right now. The flavor of that meat is to die for. I,too added carrots & small onions to the potatoes, just becuase my family expects it. I also found using store-bought stew meat in no way is cheating. He is right about the flavors being best if kept separate. Actuall,he is right about everything.
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