Food Trends

Why Are We All Eating Short Ribs?

Braising shortribs at homeEver notice how certain items tend to spread like wildfire through restaurants? Just like clothing and music, food trends make certain items suddenly show up on everyone’s menu.

I’ve noticed this recently with short ribs. Suddenly every restaurant is featuring boneless short ribs as an entrée or even an appetizer (over risotto at The Chapel Grill). And they hook me every time. They check all the boxes for me – they’re boneless—so no messy bones to deal with; they’re saucy – I love a strong-flavored sauce; and they’re meat – good protein and no carbs since I’m trying to limit my carbs. For restaurants they are a good choice because they’re prepared in advance, so less time and aggravation in the kitchen, plus they’re meant to be cooked long and slow. They’re also less expensive than many other items, and they don’t need to be fresh like seafood.

A lot of the short rib dishes I see are a variation on a recipe called Korean Short Ribs from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the school that trains many of the chefs in the country. The CIA is located in Hyde Park, New York (just outside Poughkeepsie) and graduates hundreds of chefs every year that go to work immediately in restaurants, hotels, the military, cruise ships, hospitals, everywhere that people need to eat. I’ve taken one of their “boot camps,” a five-day intensive cooking class on their main campus. I liken the experience to going to Hogwarts, the magic school from the Harry Potter children’s books.

As a boot camp participant you learn from the same professors that are teaching the four-year degree students, in the same kitchens. But while the classes are terrific and I learned a lot, what I really enjoyed was wandering around the campus seeing the full-time students in action. The

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CIA also produces a cookbook for professional chefs featuring that Korean Short rib recipe. I’ve made it myself in class and at home. Slow-cooking the short ribs in a mixture of soy sauce and mirin (Japanese cooking wine) makes it foolproof and very flavorful.

So did the rise in short rib popularity trace back to the graduates from the CIA all over the country? Who knows? But I bet it helped.

 

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