Thyme-Braised Short Ribs

The last time I placed an order for ground beef and steaks from TX Bar Organics, those friendly, sneaky people slipped a free bonus into my order — luscious grass-fed beef short ribs that were super-meaty and marble-y — just the way they should be. This recipe was born, and now it’s in Well Fed 2.

WARNING: You will be inspired to use a pretentious foodie phase like “meltingly tender.”



Thyme-Braised Short Ribs from Well Fed 2

Serves 4-6 | Prep 30 minutes | Cook 4 hours | Whole30 compliant

Have you ever wondered, Just what is a short rib, anyway?

Does it feel insulted because we keep calling it “short”? And did you know that short ribs are known as Jacob’s Ladder in the UK? Was it in a deliberate move to keep us confused that butchers in different regions — like Korea, France, Hawaii, and Eastern Europe — cut their short ribs in different, very specific ways? Do the answers to these burning questions really matter much when the end result is succulent shreds of meat so tender they can be eaten with a spoon? That’s what I thought.

  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 3 – 3 1/2 pounds beef short ribs (about 5-6 ribs)

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 medium ribs celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

  • 5 cups beef broth

  • 6-8 portobello mushroom caps

  • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil, melted

  • garnish: fresh chives, minced


Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high. Add the coconut oil to the pot, and when it’s melted, add the ribs in a single layer and sear on all sides. You want a serious crust, so you’ll probably have to work in batches. As the ribs brown, remove them to a bowl to catch their juices.


Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to drippings in pan. (Add a little more coconut oil if you need to.) Cook the vegetables until they’re soft and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and fry until brown, about 3 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, water, and thyme. Bring to a boil and cook until it’s syrupy, about 5 minutes.


Return the ribs to the pot and wiggle them into the vegetables. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, partially covered, 4 hours or until the meat is fall-apart tender. Thirty minutes before the meat is finished…


Preheat oven to 450F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the portobello caps on the baking sheet, rib side up. Brush with melted fat and sprinkle gently with salt and pepper. Roast in oven 10-12 minutes, until browned and tender.


When the ribs are done, transfer to a plate, remove bones, and shred with two forks. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve into another pot to remove the mushy vegetables. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer until reduced and thickened. Return the meat to the sauce. Remove mushroom caps from oven. Mound shredded meat on a cap, drizzle with sauce, and sprinkle with minced chives.

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  • Liz N. says:

    Short ribs are thawing just so I can make this deliciousness! I can’t wait for Well Fed 2!

    • Liz N. says:

      I am making this for the second time. This recipe is my go-to for short ribs. It is so incredibly flavorful. Never disappoints and my 7 year sings your praises! We are lucky if we have leftovers!

  • Nicole B says:

    WF1 helped me turn paleo. Girl I got chu. I will be pre-ordering!

  • Diannah says:

    At step 3, would it work to put it in a slow cooker for the 4 hours? I’m always looking for recipes I can finish in the slow cooker so that it’s ready for me in the 45 min or so I have between work and rehearsals. Can’t wait for my pre-ordered copy to arrive!!!

    • Mel says:

      I didn’t test it in the slow cooker, so I’m guessing that this will work — and it won’t be as caramelized as on the stovetop. It will be more liquid-y because the environment of the slow cooker doesn’t let steam escape like the partial covering on the stove.

      But if you want to try it in the slow cooker, you can try this:
      – reduce the beef broth to about 1-2 cups
      – double the cooking time to 8 hours, at least

      • Diannah Robertson says:

        Wonderful!! Thank you!!

        • Diannah says:

          Got up ridiculously early to get these into the slowcooker for tonight’s dinner. They smell amazing! Can’t wait to taste them!

      • Cathy M says:

        I cooked mine in the slow cooker, with less liquid, for about eight hours or so. Then, when the meat was done, I strained the liquid and put it on the stove top to reduce. After it reduced, I poured the liquid back over the meat in a baking dish and put it in a hot (425) oven for a little while (15 minutes, maybe) to let the sauce bake onto the meat. Fab!!

  • Adelyn says:

    PLEASE blog away about your new book. Your first one is the BEST and only cookbook I have every really, really, REALLY used. So helpful. I can’t wait for the new one and have already pre-ordered!! Trying the sneak peek ideas now. 😉

    • Grace says:

      I agree! I am a cookbook and cooking magazine collector. I have soooooooo many, but WF1 is by FAR the book I use most! Especially now that we don’t eat grains at all. Everything turns out amazing and the flavors are always a WOW. I am getting rid of most of my collection. 🙂

  • Grace says:

    This looks beyond amazing. I am not too fond of short ribs, or at least not the ones I am able to get. Any suggestions on an alternative cut? I want to make this so bad…. have had your book on preorder since way back when. Now I’m just counting down the days until it gets here! I recommend it to anyone and everyone. Thanks Melissa!

    • Grace says:

      Oh duh, just read the fine print on the recipe – it says you can use beef stew meat! Yay. Definitely will be making this! Thanks again.

  • Grace says:

    One more thing to say! I hope the powers that be are taking notice of you and my real wish is that you will get a cooking show!! Would love, love, LOVE to watch you cook all these heavenly recipes. 🙂

  • Cathy M says:

    I saw short ribs at the store the other day, and was happy that the cooler weather has finally arrived so I can stand to have them cooking for hours in the kitchen again. And now a delicious-sounding new recipe to try as well. Looks like it’s back to the store for me!

  • TOTALLY MAKING THIS over the weekend! YOU ROCK!!

  • Guinnevere says:

    Are you discarding the mushy veg or mixing it back in?

  • Wendy says:

    Thank you! Printing away, can’t wait for the 22nd! Then I’ll get to see the sweet potato waffle recipe. Will you be doing the pdf of the book as with the first? Really like having a copy protected from wild liquids flying around the kitchen. I still want to marry you.

  • Joanne says:

    I moved to Austin in June. Have been following your blog and have Well Fed. Anxiouslly waiting for release of Well Fed 2. I understand you do crossfit. How does one who is new to area and new to crossfit choose the right facility?

    • Mel says:

      I think it’s really important to look at the gym’s overall programming and make sure they’re not just programming “sexy WODs” but actually have at least a monthly plan for WHY each workout is happening. My favorite is CrossFit Austin (

      My recommendation is to talk to someone at each gym about their programming and read customer testimonials. I’d also look for a gym that has a very defined way of “ramping up” new students to make sure you get good foundational training before jumping into WODs.

  • Trisha says:

    Making these this weekend! Last time I tried to make short ribs it was kind of a bust so I’m really excited to make this happen!

  • Emily says:

    Ooooh, so excited! Just picked up our half a beef and was on the lookout for recipes for the short ribs. YAY!

  • Carmen Vela says:

    I prepared the braised short ribs yesterday. Delicious! They tasted like BBQed meat without the sweetness of bottled barbeque sauce.
    This cookbook makes me feel accomplished!

  • Carmen Vela says:

    I started preparing recipes from this cookbook on September 15th, and my husband and I have already lost weight. My husband can now wear dress pants that had been in the closet unworn for quite a while. He still misses potatoes and bread and sweets, but he’s sticking to this way of eating 95% of the time. As long as no one at work takes him food and sweets, we will be ok.

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations! That’s really awesome news. Let your husband know that eventually, the sadness about giving up white potatoes, bread, and gluten-y sweets will go away. It just take stime.

  • Kelley says:

    Thank you! I have been preordered since August and can’t wait to get my hands our your new book! Thank you so much – I have really enjoyed all of your recipes that I have tried (love your first book!).

  • Faith says:

    I made this last weekend and my fussy boyfriend who grouses whenever I cook paleo really loves it. It’s so flavoursome! My butcher ran out of beef ribs, so I used osso bucco instead and they were still fall apart lovely 🙂

  • Liz N. says:

    I made these tonight and they were amazing. My daughter cleaned her plate and I had to hold her back from picking at the shredded meat before dinner time. This short ribs recipe has quickly risen to the top of my all-time faves. I modified a few steps (inadvertently) and it still turned out perfectly. I didn’t have dried thyme, so I used ground thyme (half the amount called for because it was in ground form) and used just 2 1/2 cups of beef broth. Leftovers will be gone by lunch time tomorrow!

  • Cathy M says:

    Short ribs are in the crock pot and will be waiting for me when I get home today! Thank you.

  • Pirate Jeni says:

    I made these (with some mods.. because I was either lazy or out of something.. or wanted more of something..)

    But dang! amazing!

  • Louise says:

    Made these in the slow cooker with some beef shins but still totally amazing!
    Ordered the book too, don’t know if UK sales will help with your NY times aim but at least you can be an international author as well 😉

  • Mel says:

    So glad you guys are enjoying this recipe!

    I made them this week, too, but because of our elimination diet, we can only eat cider vinegar and NO tomatoes. I replaced the balsamic with cider vinegar and used 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos to replace the umami flavor of the tomato paste. They tasted AWESOME. So… feel free to modify as necessary 🙂

  • Mallory Hildreth says:

    Made this last night with bison short ribs; used the slow cooker with 1.5 cups of beef broth. My goodness, this was delicious, thank you!

  • I just received my copy of Well Fed 2 and I made the Greek Bangers on page 89. OMG! I’ve never tasted such yummy bangers come out of my very own oven!!! I substituted ground turkey for the meat because that’s what I had on hand and it was still delicious. If you’re reading this comment and haven’t ordered the book yet, you need to order it PRONTO! I have both books and am thrilled – well worth the purchase!

  • Carmen vela says:

    I prepared the braised thyme short ribs and I served over the portobello mushrooms. OMG! Delicious!
    The lizard sauce is also amazing. It’s a good thing we’re not keeping chips in the pantry.

  • Erin says:

    Shoot-I was so excited to try these and I was thrilled to find them in the store…only to bring them home and find out they’re boneless 🙁 Can I just reduce the cooking time? Or should I make something else?

  • Melissa says:

    This looks fantastic! (minus the mushrooms, ick for me) I’m thinking it would be good served over mashed cauliflower with a side of steamed veggies. MMMmmmmmm 🙂

  • James says:

    So I’m making these right now and they are simmering. The ribs aren’t completely submerged in the beef broth. Is that okay? Most of them are but the ones on top are about 3/4 submerged. Thanks!

  • Lisa says:

    Do you think another cut of meat would work? Beef roast with the same marinade?

    • I haven’t tried it, but I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work — hunks of meat are hunks of meat 🙂 Be sure to use a chuck roast so there’s a good amount of fat — anything too lean will get dry.

  • Jennifer says:

    We made this the other night and it was delicious. Our only problem was that there was too much fat on the ribs and we hardly got any meat off them. Is there a specific kind of short rib to get? Any suggestions? We definitely want to make again.
    p.s. Well Fed and Well Fed 2 are getting us through our Whole30.

  • Michelle says:

    This is amazing. It tastes like I got it at a fancy restaurant instead of something I made myself.

  • Seraphina says:

    I just wanted to leave a note for any who might want to adapt it for a pressure cooker: I made it today in my instant pot, and it turned out great. I seared the ribs on saute, and followed the rest of the steps. The modifications I made were: used about half the amount of balsamic vinegar, used 1 cup of bone broth instead, did not add any water. Manual for 50 mins, natural release, and it was great. Forgot to salt the ribs so it turned out slightly undersalted – thinking a splash of fish sauce would be good too.

    Anyway, thanks for the recipe! Perfect winter comfort food.