Why It's Sometimes Difficult To Find Beef Short Ribs

When you think ribs, you're likely thinking of those fall-off-the-bone, slow-smoked ribs that are popular at barbecue joints. These are pork ribs, and they come from a pig; they're more common than beef ribs, and it's not unusual to eat a whole rack yourself. But you might not have known that beef ribs exist, too, and they're far different from their pork counterparts. According to MasterClass, beef short ribs are much larger and meatier than pork ribs, with much of that meat sitting on top of the bone. They come from the short plate part of the cow, which is what gives them their name.

You can likely only eat one short rib, maybe two at most, on your own, and they come from cows rather than pigs. With so much meat comes a heftier price tag; you can expect to pay substantially more for beef short ribs than pork ribs. According to Whole Foods' website, pork ribs run about $7.49 per pound, while beef short ribs are nearly double that at $14 per pound (though actual cost may vary by location). Plus, beef short ribs tend to be harder to find — but why?

Why beef short ribs can be hard to find

Short ribs often aren't available in the meat section of the grocery store; you usually have to go to the beef counter, where you're lucky if your grocer has them. According to BBQ Host, that could have everything to do with where you live. The outlet says that beef short ribs are sometimes difficult to find outside the Midwest region of the U.S. because this type of meat is often reserved for specialty stores or restaurants. So, while a specialty butcher might have them, you'll be hard-pressed to find them at your local Kroger. Certain high-end grocery chains, such as Whole Foods, are more likely to stock this cut of meat — but you'll pay a premium for it.

Plus, beef "dino" ribs, which are entire beef short ribs that aren't cut at all, are even harder to find, according to Martha Stewart, because of their incredible size.

Whether you're searching for dino ribs or short ribs that have been cut, don't confuse them with beef back ribs. According to BBQ Host, these ribs are shaped more like pork ribs (but they're longer, and the meat is in between the bones).

How to cook beef short ribs

The cooking method for these ribs varies and can range from slow-cooked to grilled or oven-baked. MasterClass offers four methods: Braised, grilled, sous vide, or oven-baked, all of which will give the ribs a slightly different flavor and texture.

Braising the short ribs means cooking them in liquid, which can be done in an oven or a slow cooker. Oven-roasted and grilled are the most obvious: You can bake them low and slow in an oven, or you can toss them on the grill to get a nice sear while leaving the inside rare. Sous vide, on the other hand, means to cook them in a water bath, which takes the longest — MasterClass says you can expect this method to take 24 hours.

Seven Sons, a meat farm, says you should generously season the short ribs; salt is important here, since it will bring out additional flavors within the meat. Seven Sons also recommends garam masala as an alternative and enhanced flavor element versus traditional salt and pepper.