The Musette: Sticky, spicy beef ribs

When my friend’s sons come to stay with me I do literally kill the fatted calf and ply them with their favourite foods but then the way to most men’s hearts, whatever their ages, is via their stomachs. Of course, the boys have high expectations because their mother is an excellent cook.

They both love beef so home-made hamburgers, côte du boeuf (roast ribs of beef), tafelspitz (Austrian boiled sirloin of beef) and lasagne Bolognese are all popular but their favourite is my sticky, spicy beef ribs adapted from a recipe for BBQ beef ribs by Michelin two-starred chef Tom Kerridge.

I live in an apartment where BBQs are forbidden, largely because of the fire risk but, while I accept that the deep smokey flavour in the original recipe is missing from these ribs, they are still finger-lickin’ delicious. The dish takes three days to prepare but each stage involves very little actual work on the part of the cook.

A short rib per person, plus spice rub (image: Sheree)

A short rib per person, plus spice rub (Image: Sheree)

Ingredients (serves two teenage boys)

Spice rub:

  • 1 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp  ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp dried origano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 x 500g (2lb total) short ribs of beef on the bone
glaze ingredients (image: Sheree)

Glaze ingredients (Image: Sheree)


  • 60g/7oz pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 85g/9oz jar onion relish
  • 150ml (⅔ cup) Guinness beer or similar
  • 1 tbsp hot English mustard powder
  • 2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 100ml (½ cup) cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar


1. Stir together all of the dry spices and herbs and rub them all over the ribs of beef. Place the beef into a large plastic bag and cover with any remaining mix. Store in the fridge overnight.

Coated in the rub and ready for an overnight snooze in the fridge (image: Sheree)

Coated in the rub and ready for an overnight snooze in the fridge (Image: Sheree)

2. To make the glaze, place the chopped dates and onion relish into a bowl. Bring the beer up to the boil in a saucepan and pour it onto the dates and onions. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and leave to cool to room temperature.

3. In another large bowl, whisk together the remaining glaze ingredients.

4. When the date and onion mixture has cooled, blend the mixture until smooth and pour it into the rest of the glaze.

5. Take the ribs out of the fridge, wash off the spice rub and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place them into a large casserole dish (Dutch oven), pour over the glaze, cover with a scrunched up damp piece of greaseproof paper (cartouche) and cover with a lid or aluminium foil.

Ready for long, slow cooking (image: Sheree)

Ready for long, slow cooking (Image: Sheree)

6. Put the casserole into a preheated oven at 150°C /130°C fan/gas mark 2 (300°F/275°F fan) and cook very slowly for four to five hours, or until the beef is very tender and has almost fallen off the bones. The house will smell wonderful!

7. When the beef is cooked, remove the casserole from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature. When cool, place in the fridge to chill overnight. When it’s cold the fat will have set on the top and can easily be removed. It can sit happily in the fridge for several days until you’re ready to finish the dish.

8. When you’re ready to reheat, place the lidded casserole dish back into a pre-heated oven at 120°C/100°C fan/gas mark 1 (300°F/275°F fan) and allow the ribs to warm through for two to three hours while you’re out riding.

9. Remove from the oven, if necessary, place over a low heat on the hob and slowly reduce the glaze with the beef still in the pan, basting the ribs every 10 minutes. When the glaze is reduced and coats the beef, remove them from the pan and serve with oven-baked potatoes and home-made coleslaw or whatever else takes your fancy!

Unctiousness on a plate (image: Sheree)

Unctiousness on a plate (Image: Sheree)

Sheree’s handy hints

1. My version of this recipe differs from the original because when I first made it I didn’t have all the specified ingredients. I generally don’t tamper – well not much anyway – with recipes from Michelin-starred chefs. However the end result was truly scrummy and so I’ve continued to make them this way by popular demand of the men in my life.

2. However, I would urge you to experiment and find the combination of ingredients which best suits your tastes.

3. If you can use a BBQ, then steps eight and nine should be done on it, rather than in the oven and on the hob.

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