Simple Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu

This is a ridiculously simple short rib ragu recipe that delivers an outstanding result using a few simple ingredients that you likely already have laying around. I'm all for braising in the oven using the good Le Creuset, but sometimes nothing beats the low-maintenance fire-and-forget of a slow cooker. Serves 6, but you should make it for 2!

Illustration for article titled Simple Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu

(adapted from Martha Stewart)


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds short ribs and chuck roast, cut into 3-inch pieces*
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 sprigs each oregano and rosemary

* Here's a trick a local butcher taught me: you really don't need 3 pounds of bone-in short ribs for most recipes like this. Sure, the bones add required flavor, but you can't eat them and they also add unneeded weight and cost, since you need to buy more short ribs to get the desired amount of meat. Instead, buy maybe three or four short ribs with bones, and use chuck roast for the rest. The cuts are right next to each other on the beast, so you're getting the meat you want with some bones for flavor.


In a large skillet, heat your oil over medium-high until shimmering. Rub your ribs and meat with salt and pepper and cook until browned on all sides. When done, avoid the temptation to dig right in and transfer 'em to a slow cooker. Pour off all but about 1 teaspoon of the rendered fat from the skillet, and add the onion and carrot. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until your vegetables are soft, maybe 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of juice from the tomatoes, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the skillet with a wooden spoon.

Now transfer vegetables and liquid to the slow cooker and add the rest of the tomatoes and juice, breaking them up as you go. (Using canned chopped tomatoes is perfectly fine too). Add the herbs and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Cover the mess and cook on high until the meat is fork-tender, about 6 hours. Go do something productive, like stocking up on Sodastream CO2 cartridges.


When you can easily pierce the meat with a fork, you're in business. With a slotted spoon, remove the herb sprigs and transfer your delicious, delicious meat to a cutting board. With a ladle or large spoon, skim the fat from the remaining cooking liquid (you'll end up with about 1 1/4 cups of fat when all is said and done). With a couple of forks, shred the meat into a pulled pork consistency before throwing it back into the slow cooker and mixing well with the remaining cooking liquid. The result will be a nice, moist, aromatic pot 'o amazingness that you could honestly just sit there and eat with a fork in the kitchen. Resist temptation (recurring theme this month, eh?) and serve your masterpiece over polenta or a pasta like pappardelle or orecchiette. Save the leftovers and switch it up by using it for a burrito filling.

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