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What Are Beef Chuck Ribs?

Amanda R. Bell
Amanda R. Bell

Beef chuck ribs come from the shoulder and rib portion of a cow, and can be either boneless or bone-in. This type of beef can be cut in a variety of ways, and is most popular in braised dishes, although an extended marinating period can allow for the meat to be cooked with a high-heat method only, especially if properly cut. Once braised, beef chuck ribs can be cooked over high heat for additional flavor, or served directly after braising.

The shoulder portion of the cow is from where all chuck cuts come. Chuck ribs are cuts of meat that come from this area and include some pieces of the cow’s rib bones, as well as layers of lean meat and fat. Although they do contain some of the cow’s ribs, they are not the same as beef back ribs, which are comprised of only rib meat. Most often, this cut of meat is sold bone-in, although the bones may be removed prior to packaging or cut around when the cow is butchered.

When butchering cows, ribs can be cut several ways.
When butchering cows, ribs can be cut several ways.

There are varieties of ways in which beef chuck ribs can be butchered or prepared. The most common is single ribs, created by cutting a slab of beef chuck ribs in between the bones. This meat can also be cut across the bone, resulting in a strip of meat with several small pieces of bone in a row. Known as flaken-style beef ribs, this cut is popular in Korean and Japanese dishes.

As with most chuck beef cuts, the ribs are ideal for braising, which is a cooking method that uses a low, simmering liquid to cook food. Unlike other cuts of chuck, which can be cooked with slow dry heat if properly prepared, chuck ribs are typically not thick enough to be cooked the length of time required to break down the connective tissue that makes the ribs tough in texture. For this reason, braising the ribs in a flavorful liquid is considered the best way to cook this type of beef. Despite this, marinating the beef chuck ribs prior to using a dry, high-heat cooking method, such as grilling or broiling, can drastically improve the texture of the finished product; flaken-style ribs tend to be ideal for this situation, and are popular for use in Korean-style rib dishes.

While the need to braise most types of beef chuck ribs may seem like it would hinder the type of dishes in which this meat can be used, this is typically not true. Boneless and bone-in style chuck ribs can be braised for a slightly shorter amount of time than they would be if being served directly after braising, and then cooked with a dry, high-heat method for added flavor. When braised prior to grilling, broiling, or pan searing, beef chuck ribs can be just as tender and flavorful as their more expensive, high-end counterparts.

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    • When butchering cows, ribs can be cut several ways.
      By: Mirko Milutinovic
      When butchering cows, ribs can be cut several ways.