5 Cheaper Alternatives to Short Ribs: Tasty & Affordable

Cheaper alternatives to short ribs include chuck roast, beef plate short ribs, beef back ribs, beef flanken ribs, and lamb legs/shanks.

Beef Short Ribs

Short ribs are a favorite menu choice at many excellent restaurants, and home chefs love to prepare them as well. This cut of beef is incredibly versatile since short ribs can be grilled, slow roasted, or braised.

If you have a recipe for beef short ribs, and you can’t find them, you can try our listed alternatives. You will still enjoy the savory, beefy goodness that you were expecting, and you’ll then understand what is a good substitute for beef short ribs for a whole range of meals with sides.

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Good Substitutes for Short Ribs

Short Ribs

Beef Chuck Roast

Beef Chuck Roast

Beef chuck roast comes from the same general area of the beef carcass as the short ribs. Therefore, for flavor that is pretty much identical to the short ribs, beef chuck roast is the best substitution for short ribs.

The chuck roast is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat, and it is richly marbled with fat which melts in cooking to yield juicy, tender, flavorful beef. 

Beef Plate Short Ribs

Beef Plate Short Ribs

Despite the similar sounding name, beef plate short ribs are not the same as ordinary short ribs. Beef plate short ribs have a higher fat content than short ribs. It comes from the lower body of the beef carcass, from between the brisket and the flank.

Because beef plate short ribs have a higher fat content than the typical short ribs, the meat cooks up with more flavor and tenderness.One nice thing about beef plate short ribs is that they are typically meatier than short ribs, so you can add fewer pounds of plate short ribs to your recipe to get a similar amount of meat.

Beef Back Ribs

Beef Back Ribs

One of the most popular cuts of beef, beef back ribs are a larger cut of meat than the short ribs. This piece of meat comes from the muscles around the backbone of the beef animal.

While this cut of meat does not have large pieces of meat in it, the meat that is there has a strong beefy flavor and can be cooked in the exact same ways that short ribs can be cooked with the same seasonings & rubs.

Beef Flanken Ribs

Beef Flanken Ribs 5 Cheaper Alternatives to Short Ribs: Tasty & Affordable
Korean Barbeque Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi or Galbi) sizzling on a hot plate with rising smoke. The cut is also called flanken.

Coming from the same general area of the side of beef as the short ribs, beef flanken ribs are thinly sliced pieces of meat that comes from the muscles near the rib bones. These are also sometimes called cross-cut ribs or Korean short ribs. Each piece has three or four small pieces of bone surrounded by tender, savory beef.

Before you cook, use a sharp knife to remove any small bone shards from the meat, since eating around these pieces of bone can be irritating. Beef flanken ribs can be grilled. However, you should marinate them in an acidic marinade for 3 to 4 hours before cooking to help tenderize the meat

Beef Flank Steaks

Beef Flank Steaks

Low in fat, flank steaks come from the belly of the beef steer. You will have to cook them carefully, or flank steaks will quickly become dry and tough in cooking. Flank steak should be marinated in an acidic marinade to tenderize it.

This cut of meat needs to be quickly cooked on the grill or under the broiler. It is also perfect for stir-fry or pan frying. A beef flank steak can give you the rich beefy flavors for which beef short ribs are popular.

Lamb Legs and Shanks

Lamb Legs and Shanks

Many people are trying to cut back on their consumption of beef, and if this is you, know that you can substitute lamb (or goat!) for short ribs. For a comparable piece of meat, lamb legs or lamb shanks (though not lamb chops) will provide the meaty flavor that you love.

Leg of lamb comes from the sheep’s upper leg, while lamb shanks come from the sheep’s lower leg. While lamb meat is chewier and more flavorful than beef, it also is healthier.

Lamb provides greater amounts of vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, selenium, and higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Lamb legs and shanks are best cooked braised or slow roasted.

Pork Ribs

Pork Ribs

Depending on the market, sometimes pork can be cheaper than beef. Pork ribs are excellent marinated and barbecued. To get the style that is most similar to beef short ribs, choose pork short ribs.

To keep the pork ribs tender and moist, use a long, low cooking style like smoking or slow cooking (in a pinch you can use a tenderizer). This will tenderize the meat and make it “fall apart tender.” Pork has a mild flavor that accepts marinades well, so you can adapt the meat to the flavor that you like best. 

What are Short Ribs?

Cuts of Beef

Short ribs is a cut of meat consisting of five short ribs taken from the chuck portion of the beef steer.  The chuck on the beef steer is taken from the shoulder area of the carcass. The meat from this area is a bit too tough to make a good steak, as well as being too small to make a decent sized steak.

The meat from the short ribs is from a muscle group that is often used and therefore can be tough. With proper cooking, though, the meat can be delectable. However, despite the toughness, the meat from the short ribs is incredibly rich and flavorful. 

How are Short Ribs Cooked?

Short ribs have to be cooked in a way that helps to tenderize this often tough cut of beef.  They are often braised, roasted, or boiled. It is not unusual for people to use appliances like a slow cooker or pressure cooker to cook their short ribs.

It is also common for people to smoke short ribs. Short ribs need a long, slow, low cooking method to tenderize the meat. As they cook, the connective tissues in the muscle melt into scrumptious gelatin, creating rich, flavorful sauces.

More Beef Short Rib FAQs

What cut of meat is closest to short ribs?

The cut of meat that is most similar to short ribs is chuck roast, which is a flavorful and easy-to-prep option when boneless short ribs are not available.

What is the common name for short ribs?

The common name for short ribs is ‘Flanken cut’, where they are cut across the bones. They can also be called crosscut ribs, Hawaiian-style ribs, Jewish ribs, Korean-style ribs, or kosher ribs.

Is short rib and chuck the same?

Short rib and chuck are not the same. Short ribs are specifically the first five rib bones from a beef animal, which are placed in the chuck section rather than the rib section during the butchering process. This is because these first five rib bones are shorter and not suitable for steaks.

Is short rib a cheap cut?

Short rib is considered a cost-effective cut due to its similarities to steak but with a significantly lower price point. Cooking short ribs is relatively simple, making it difficult to go wrong when preparing them.

Are beef country ribs and short ribs the same?

Beef country ribs and short ribs are not the same. Country-style ribs, often mistaken for short ribs, are not ribs at all. They are boneless strips of the chuck primal or beef shoulder that are cut to resemble ribs.

Can you substitute chuck roast for beef short ribs?

Chuck roast can be used as a replacement for beef short ribs in your recipe. In fact, chuck roast and boneless short ribs are quite similar in terms of taste and texture. Although they are not exactly the same, chuck roast can still be a suitable substitute for your next short rib-centric dish.

What’s the difference between beef chuck ribs and beef short ribs?

The difference between beef chuck ribs and beef short ribs is that chuck short ribs are located closer towards the front of the steer, specifically under the chuck. The chuck ribs span from the 1st to the 5th rib and are typically shorter in length, measuring around 3” to 6”. Despite being shorter, they still offer a substantial amount of meat, similar to plate short ribs.

Is short rib similar to brisket?

Short rib and brisket are similar in terms of their anatomical location on the cow. Both cuts come from different areas – the brisket is near the chest, while the short rib is from the center of the cow, specifically the short plate. However, it is worth noting that plate ribs tend to be more expensive compared to beef brisket, with a price per pound that is almost double. Interestingly, when both cuts are smoked slowly at low temperatures, they exhibit a remarkably similar taste.

What are alternative cuts for rib roast?

Alternative cuts for rib roast include top loin roast, also known as strip steaks, which is an excellent substitute due to its marbling and comparable fat cap. Another option is the eye of round roast, sometimes referred to as the “poor man’s prime rib.”

Is a short rib roast the same as prime rib?

A short rib roast is not the same as prime rib. The key distinction lies in the roasting process, as prime rib is typically cooked with the bone intact, while rib roast, often sold as a steak, may or may not include the bone.

Is a chuck roast the same as a rib roast?

A chuck roast is not the same as a rib roast. The cross rib roast, which is part of the chuck, has some differences compared to the rib roast. It is taken from the chuck area just before the prime rib, resulting in a higher fat content. The chuck roast is typically tougher and leaner, making it ideal for slow-cooking methods.

What meat is chuck short rib?

Chuck short ribs are a type of meat that comes from the front section of the backbone area in beef. They are known for their lovely marbling, which makes them an excellent option for braising. Short ribs can be categorized into two main cuts: flanken and English-style.

Are beef short ribs and chuck ribs the same?

Beef short ribs and chuck ribs are not the same. Chuck short ribs are located closer towards the front of the steer, just under the chuck. The chuck ribs extend from the 1st to the 5th rib and are typically 3” to 6” in length. While they are still very meaty, chuck ribs are shorter compared to plate short ribs.

Why are beef ribs hard to find?

Beef ribs are hard to find because they are not as readily available as short beef ribs. Full beef ribs can be more difficult to come across due to their larger portion sizes and higher cost.

What is the difference between country style beef ribs and short ribs?

The difference between country style beef ribs and short ribs lies in their respective cuts and bone presence. Short ribs come in two styles: English cut, which are thicker pieces of meat attached to a bone on one side, and Flanken style, which are cross cut and contain 3-4 small round bones. On the other hand, country style beef ribs are always boneless and are cut from the chuck section.

What is the difference between brisket and short ribs?

The difference between brisket and short ribs lies in the distribution of fat and collagen throughout the meat. While a brisket has a distinct fatty side and a lean side, the fat and collagen in beef short ribs are evenly spread, resulting in a juicy, silken, and slightly gelatinous texture.

Can you substitute regular ribs for short ribs?

Regular ribs can be used as a substitute for short ribs in most recipes, and vice versa, despite their differences. However, if you opt for beef back ribs instead of short ribs, it may be necessary to include additional fat.

Is there another name for short ribs?

The alternative name for short ribs is Flanken Ribs, which are derived from the chuck area, specifically the first to the fifth rib. Beef Short Ribs can also be referred to as braising ribs, crosscut ribs, English short ribs, or Korean short ribs.

What’s the difference between beef ribs and short ribs?

The difference between beef ribs and short ribs lies in their shape and the amount of meat on each type of rib. Beef ribs, also known as back ribs, are longer and curved, while short ribs are shorter and flatter.

Are flat ribs and short ribs the same?

Flat ribs and short ribs are not the same. Flat ribs, also known as short ribs, Jacobs ladder, dandy ribs, or slow roast ribs, are given different names but refer to the same cut of meat. This cut is preferred for slow cooking methods.

Are spare ribs similar to short ribs?

Spare ribs and short ribs differ in terms of size, fat content, and cooking techniques. Spare ribs are longer and have more bones and layers of fat, making them suitable for grilling or smoking over indirect heat. On the other hand, short ribs are shorter, fattier, and should be slow-cooked in liquid over low heat.

Can you cook beef ribs the same as short ribs?

Beef ribs and short ribs, although both popular cuts, are often mistaken for each other. While they both originate from a cow, they are obtained from different sections of the animal and require distinct cooking methods.

Why do short ribs cost so much?

Short ribs cost a significant amount due to their scarcity. There are only two racks of spareribs on a pig, and this limited supply contributes to their high price. The demand for spare ribs is sufficient to maintain their expensive status, resulting in their continued high cost.

Is brisket a good short rib substitute?

You can substitute short ribs for brisket in your grandmother’s time-honored recipe, as boneless short ribs are easier to serve to a crowd and can be used in the same quantity.

Can I substitute bone in short ribs for boneless?

You can substitute bone-in short ribs for boneless ribs if you can’t find the latter. As the meat cooks, it will become tender and easily fall off the bone. Serve the short ribs with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or creamy polenta for a delicious and comforting meal that will please everyone.

What is the difference between long end and short end ribs?

The difference between long end and short end ribs is that when ordering ribs in Kansas City, you can specify if you want the side of the rack with longer bones (long end) or shorter bones (short end). The short end usually has an extra rib or two and may cost slightly more.

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