Choosing The Best Short Rib Substitute? Top 8 Options For You

The short rib is one of the most delicious parts of beef. The food is delicious, healthy, and not too fatty. However, in return, it also needs care and ingenuity to cook successfully. For most people, the rib is the best part of the beef, and there is no other food that can alternate it.

Nevertheless, suppose that your local market runs out of ribs, and you must buy another food to replace it, first come to your mind might be Chuck Roast because of similar taste and texture. Besides it, several worth options should be ignored. Do you know them?

Let’s read this post to learn about some short rib substitutes!

Top 8 Short Rib Substitutes You Should Know

Short Rib

1. Chuck Roast – Best Substitution Ever

The first choice we want to introduce on the list is chuck roasted. For those who don’t know what chuck is, chuck is the slice of beef cut from above the shoulder. In other words, chuck is the part sandwiched between the armpit, shoulder, and front legs. 

This part is located among the bones and joints which are used for mobilizing, so it is 99% lean. That chuck meat is fleshy, tough, and thick.

In terms of taste, unexpectedly, the chuck is sweet and juicy. The more you braise, the juicier it becomes. Thus, the chuck is suitable for grilling, roasting, braising, and frying recipes, demanding lots of heat and seasonings.

That being said, the chuck is the most suitable short ribs substitute overall. To add in, it is cheap and commonly used as burger meat in fast food chains.

2. Beef Back Ribs

Let’s discuss the most popular beef cuts – back ribs. You may wonder why it is so widely preferred like that, right? So, let me explain for you.

First, where do ribs come from? The back ribs are located between the major backbone and the spine, covering the flesh and the internal organs of the cow. Hence, this part is thick, tough, and lean. Just similar to the chuck, right?

Compared to the short rib steak, the back ribs are usually cut larger because the backbone is big and the “meat” part is few. Despite its lack of meat, the back ribs are sweet and juicy.

Adequate amount of meat and tendon, juicy and sweet, cheap and easy to buy – are the reasons for the beef back ribs’ preference.

If you are wondering about suitable recipes for back ribs, we recommend you make the frying and grilling menu. The texture and flavor of the ribs complement even better in high temperatures. Another idea is to broil it under high pressure as “pulled beef.” To add-in, the best side dish for this beef is buttered vegetables or risotto.

When going to the store, you may get confused since the back ribs have so many names, such as beef riblets, rib bones, finger ribs, dinosaur ribs, etc. In fact, they are all the same. Thus, please take note of these names so as not to get confused later.

3. Beef Flank

The beef plank is the area located on the corner of the cow’s belly. This part connects the belly with the legs. As mentioned above, for the meat in these areas, the fat percentage is so low. That is also the reason why we select it as a beef short rib substitute.

The beef flank is low in fat, lean, bland, and tough in terms of taste. Typically, we don’t use the flank for grilling and frying recipes since we realize that the meat will turn tougher and tougher. Besides, the cooking method we prefer is simmering or stewing it since the meat will be soaked in water, making the flank more tender and juicy.

Compared to the short ribs, the flank beef is less fatty and sweet. The texture is tougher and thinner, too. However, the flank is cut bigger than the short ribs if you buy per slice. To add-in, the flank beef will take less time to cook than the short ribs since it contains less bone.

With the low-fat percentage, tough texture, and bland taste, the flank is suitable for boiling, simmering, stewing dishes, or barbecue with lots of juicy sauce.

4. Beef Plate Short Ribs

The next substitute for short ribs that we want to introduce is the beef plate. Normally, it has so many names: beef plate short ribs, beef plate, plate, short plate, etc. In this section, we will call it “beef plate” for better understanding.

The beef plate is located at the diaphragm of the cow’s belly, right under the rib cut. In other words, it is next to the short rib beef, near the flank and the brisket.

Compared to the short rib, the beef plate is quite different. Situated near the diaphragm and the belly, not near the bone and joint, the plate meat contains a high percentage of fat and tendon. Therefore, it provides a fattier and juicier taste to the dish than the short rib. Its texture is thicker but more tender.

The plate can not replace the short rib completely; however, it may become the substitute for boneless beef short ribs in some cases. To be specific, you should use the plate for roasted, braised recipes rather than frying because of the high fat.

The beef plate is quite easy to cook. In fact, it is watery, fatty, and sweet, so there is no need to use much oil. You can cook the beef plate with any vegetables as side dishes, too!

Here is some notice for you before cooking a beef plate dish: please don’t use much meat. Ideally, you should alternate 500 grams of ribs to 350 grams of the beef plate.

5. Lamb Legs 

This may be the most “alien” choice in this recommendation list. Yes, we know that you may wonder why we choose lamb meat as a substitute for beef short ribs. However, let me analyze the similarity between lamb meat and beef short ribs, and you will understand our choice.

If we have to choose the part that provides the leanest, non-fat, sweet meat on the lamb, then leg, flank, and shoulder are the top selections.

As mentioned above, the meat near the bones and joints is quite lean than other parts, and this theory applies to the shoulder, flank, and legs. However, in this section, we will discuss the lamb legs only since it is the most suitable and easy-to-cook part. 

In short, the lamb legs provide a similar taste to short end ribs. They are both located near the joints and tendon, with similar features and functions. Their taste and texture are unexpectedly delicate and soft, but the ribs are a bit more tender.

Additionally, the tastes of these two are a bit different but not significant. The lamb is slightly more meaty, chewy, and blander than the ribs. 

When cooking the lamb legs, please consider that the lamb can leave a super strong smell if not prepared properly. So, please remove the odor carefully before cooking it. Otherwise, you will regret wasting such expensive food just for the strong, inconvenient smell.

The most suitable cooking method for lamb legs is braise or roast since the meat serves best when absorbed in sauces.

6. Beef Shank

The beef shank is quite similar to lamb legs, for they are cut on the same part: the leg. We will divide the shank into two types: foreshank and hind shank.

You may question, “Why must we divide the shank into two types?”. In fact, the foreshank is tougher and thicker than the hind shank. Some people suppose that the cow may use the foreshank more frequently than the hind shank, which is the reason for the toughness of the meat.

In contrast, the hind shank is more delicate and thinner. It tastes sweeter, too. Therefore, the hind shank is sold at a higher cost than the fore ones.

7. Chuck Ribs

Unlike the back ribs, the chuck ribs come from the chuck’s area with four or five ribs made up. Compared to the back ribs, the chuck ribs are, surprisingly, fattier and juicier. We suggest you use the chuck ribs to smoke, grill, or braise since the fat will melt and blend in the mixture, making the dish more delicious.

Additionally, these animal ribs contain short, smaller bones than back ribs, so the amount of meat is also higher. You don’t need to worry that the bones will contain too much volume in the pot, and there will be too little meat to eat anymore!

We see the chuck ribs most in Korean barbecues. The rich, juicy beef, complementing with Soju, will create the most delicious dish ever!

8. Chuck Shoulder

Chuck shoulder is the last option on the list. It is usually mistaken as chuck roast. However, it is not. They all come from the same area – shoulder – but the chuck shoulder is softer and leaner than the chuck roast.

The shoulder beef is delicate, juicy, and sweet, making it preferred in most steak recipes. It is so tasty and easy to cook that it can come directly to the griller right after being taken out of the refrigerator!

In the culinary world, the shoulder chuck is usually used in barbecue, beefsteak, or filet recipes. Its taste can complement well with most seasonings, from pepper, salt, to spices. However, we think that it is best to taste the shoulder steak without any seasoning.

Final Thoughts

We have discussed the top 8 short rib substitutes that you should know. Among them, the chuck seems to be the most suitable selection for the special taste and texture.

Is this post helpful for you? Which one is your best choice, and why do you want to choose it? Enjoy cooking!

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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