Barry Vera on the rib dish that keeps his discerning STK customers coming back for more.
Ribs were an obvious choice for STK because of the American influence, but I wanted us to create something a bit better than your standard sticky ribs that get all over your fingers. I wanted something that you could eat with a knife and fork, which is why we cook it until it falls off the bone.
In the restaurant the dish was originally cooked sous-vide style in a vacuum bag for 72 hours. Only then could we achieve the flavour burst we were looking for (obviously we’ve had to adapt the recipe for people at home). Dishes come and go, but this one is always around, be it on the menu or as a special. It’s been very well received.
When it comes to ribs, you tend to get more pork than beef in the UK, but I thought it would be good to lead the herd – if you would pardon the pun – and do something different. We use United States Department of Agriculture beef – we asked if they could do shortribs for us and it developed from there.
I travel to America on business quite a lot. You find this dish there more than here, although not cooked as slowly. To do it like we do it, it’s important to have a high quality cut of meat. Ask your butcher for ribs that aren’t too fatty – you want just the right amount of fat and the right amount of meat. We’ve got the USDA-led menu with got 14 cuts of beef. I’ve become a big advocate of USDA beef; it’s a lot more consistent in quality, more tender and flavoursome than other beef. The marbling that runs through it is almost like a wagyu beef. And it’s cornfed so its got a sweetness when cooked.
In two and half years since we’ve been selling steaks out of this restaurant, we never get them sent back. It’s been great, and USDA has opened my eyes to a whole new world of beef. We also do chicken, lamb and seafood, but the focus is steak – hence STK.
DISH OF THE DAY: STK’S STICKY SHORTRIB OF BEEF
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
FOR THE RIBS
▪ 1 side of shortribs split to 4 portions
▪ 1 carrot, roughly chopped
▪ 1 onion, roughly chopped
▪ 1 leek, roughly chopped
▪ 4 garlic cloves pressed
FOR THE MASH
▪ 350g potatoes peeled
▪ 200g unsalted butter, room temperature
▪ 80g double cream
FOR STICKY GLAZE
▪ 1l red wine sauce, available in supermarkets
▪ 350g soft brown sugar
▪ 100ml Worcestershire sauce
▪ 1 bay leaf
▪ 1 sprig thyme
▪ 2 black peppercorns
▪ Wash blood off the shortribs and place in vac pack bag with the chopped vegetables and garlic. Season well.
▪ Place the ribs in water bath or simmer for between 8-12 hours, until tender to touch.
▪ Remove ribs and place in fridge to cool.
▪ Portion the ribs and remove excess fat.
▪ Place individual ribs in vac bags for later.
▪ Boil potatoes until cooked, don’t overcook or else they will go gluey.
▪ Once cooked, mash through a sieve with butter.
▪ Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce by half until you have a thick glaze consistency. Then pass through a fine sieve and keep warm.
▪ Place the shortrib in a pot of simmering water and leave for 8-10 minutes to bring up to temperature.
▪ Heat the mash and add the double cream to finish, season well with fine salt & white pepper.
▪ Remove ribs from the bags and drain well. Brush the glaze over each one, coating well, then place under the grill until it’s bubbling. Repeat this process 4 times.
▪ Serve each rib on the mash, spoon a little of the glaze around and enjoy.