Beef short ribs, also known as Jacob’s ladder, are meatier and more substantial than pork spare ribs. They’re perfect for rubs, marinating, braising and barbecuing. Long and slow cooking is essential.

You can, if you wish and get the heat right, put them on the BBQ for the full amount of cooking time but I find it works just as well if you cook them slowly in the oven and finish them on the BBQ for a final, flame licking flourish.

Serve with curried coleslaw and baked potatoes. Cook the potatoes in the oven alongside the ribs then wrap in foil and finish on the BBQ.

With any luck there’ll be enough leftovers to make an extra tasty cottage pie the next day. If you’ve also cooked extra jacket potatoes, use the potato removed from the skin and crushed with a fork to top your pies. Leftover heaven!

Serves 4 -6


2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

a touch of salt and pepper

juice of half a lemon

4 tbsp sunflower oil

1.5kg whole short rib (I used veal but you could use beef instead)

100ml beef stock or water

Hickory smoking chips (optional)


  1. Mix the ginger, garlic, spices, salt and pepper, lemon juice and oil together in a bowl.
  2. Sit the ribs in an ovenproof (non metallic) dish and rub the spice mixture all over, massaging it into the meat for a couple of minutes. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.
  3. Take the ribs out of the fridge at least an hour before you want to cook them.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 120C, remove the cling film, pour the stock into the dish then cover with tin foil. Put the ribs in the oven to slowly braise for 3 – 4 hours.
  5. About 45 minutes before the end of cooking time, light your charcoal BBQ and wait for the coals to turn white and the flames to die down.
  6. Remove the ribs from the oven and take out to the BBQ. If you’re using them, put the wood chips onto the coals then place the ribs onto the grill. If you have a kettle BBQ it is good to put the lid on at this stage.
  7. Cook for 5 – 10 minutes on each side until brown and crisp, brushing with any juices from the oven dish before turning.
  8. Allow to rest for 5 minutes then cut into individual ribs.