Best Marinade For Short Ribs

by | Sauces & Dressing

A marinade of pomegranate juice, Aleppo pepper, spices and red wine, will produce a sweet, sour, spicy flavorful marinade for simmering short ribs to ‘fall off the bone’ tender. 

Ever notice how most marinades for cooking meat find their primary flavor from tomatoes? Why not explore an easy to make marinade that will wow any palate and keep most dinner guests guessing as to what your fabulous marinade is made from! 

Short Rib Marinade

What A Good Marinade Consists Of

Salt. Salt is the primary and most important ingredient when cooking meat because it is best at penetrating meat and altering proteins in the meat that aid in holding more of the water during cooking. Water? You know,  animals, like humans are primarily water. Let that water escape, and what do you have? Exactly.  

In Brazil, I experienced that most meat, a country that has more cows than people, is heavily rubbed with salt (the only marinade used), before cooking on an open fire. But short ribs are not cooked over an open fire, spare ribs yes. Short ribs are a short cut of a rib with a dense amount of meat (think, a mini steak), lots of fat, gristle and bone. They become most tender when cooked low and slow in some type of a bath, ie a marinade. 

Flavor is the second reason for using a marinade when cooking short ribs. A great marinade should both flavor the meat as well as provide a bath to simmer in. Two primary cooking ingredients are important in a great marinade:

  • Acid – The acid from an acidic fruit, which is why tomatoes are the first thing most cooks think to grab when needing acidity in a marinade, but geez… why be like everyone else. The flavor and acidity in Pomegranate instead, will make other marinades taste like they didn’t dress for the party!
  • Flavor – The flavor in pure pomegranate juice is both sweet and sour, both equally intense. Puree a tomato and taste, then taste pure pomegranate juice. Yep! Start off you marinade flavor profile with pomegranate juice, layer other spices and herbs and you have an unusual marinade with depth of flavor. 

While acid and salt are the first two ingredients a great marinade needs, we still need flavors from herbs and spices and of course fat! Why fat? Oils and other fats coat the nooks, crannies and mass area of short ribs, therefore infusing them with all of the flavors in the marinade. 

Fall Off The Bone Tender

Fats For The Fat

Wait. Meat already has fat. Why not just render the fat from the short ribs and use that fat in the marinade? What little fat there is on short ribs is going to be used to quickly sear the juices inside the meat so they don’t come out. Quickly, as in, one hell of a hot pan to give each side of the short ribs about 30 seconds, then take them out of the pan. 

Don’t even think about tossing those fat drippings! Add to that pan, some olive oil and toss a heap of sliced onions in to caramelize them. See?  Another element; sugar from the juice of the onions. 

One other element of fat is going to be used in this luscious marinade for simmering short ribs to their most delightful perfection; butter. No, we’re not just going to toss butter in the pan. Once all the ingredients are placed in the pan to simmer for a bit, we will add a roux (equal butter and flour), to thicken the liquid of the marinade, before placing the seared short ribs back in the pan to simmer low and slow. The butter in the roux will not only cause the starch in the flour to expand and absorb liquid to thicken the sauce but now the fat in the butter aids as a carrier to coat the short ribs with all the flavors you add to the marinade. 

The Perfect Short Rib Dinner

Who Likes Short Ribs?

If a guy were to enjoy a favored meal, let’s say, alone… as in a solo Valentine night, or maybe a personal celebration he might wish to commemorate, chances are, perfectly marinaded short ribs are going to be one of his top choices. Why? Chances are he will not use a knife and fork and will opt to pick those gorgeous ribs up with his fingers! (wink, you know I’m right!)

Truth be known… I’m a gal, and this would probably be my choice too! I am always amazed at how many times hubby and I will go out for a meal and he choses fish or pasta while I choose short ribs or lamb shank. I wonder what a psychotherapist would have to say about this! LOL. For this reason, I chose this exquisite marinated ribs to serve for a fun Valentines Dinner Date at home… remember, it’s acceptable to pick up these beauties with your fingers!

There Are Ribs And Then There Are Ribs

In cooking most any type of meat, two aspects of that meat impart the most flavor: bones and fat. Short ribs have both fat, not too much but certainly in all the right places, and a nice thick bone. The meat around a short rib is much more abundant than spare ribs.. ie ‘spare’ as in sparse! (Don’t fault me, I had, to and it’s true) There is more meat on a short rib, much like a little steak, than on spare ribs, so while you may not appear to be putting a large portion on a plate, once you dig in, or perhaps ‘two finger’ Fred Flintstone your short ribs, you will certainly have more than enough meat on those bones!

Dinner For Two Or Valentines Day For One

If you love to cook and don’t mind preparing several meals at the same time, as I learned to do while raising four children as a single mom, it becomes second nature to make two different dinners for two. Heck, isn’t that why we often choose to eat out? Everyone can eat what they want?

As I was writing a story about Valentines Day and the various different ways it can be celebrated at home (and just for the record, I wrote that story long before Covid when we all became forced to do a lotta dining at home!). I wanted to make two different meals, one of them was short ribs, the other a Budda Bowl with seafood. It was so easy to get one dish started and let it simmer low and slow while the other dish came together quickly. 

I wrote this story also for many of us who have experienced Valentines Day, while not in a serious relationship, therefore wanting to do something special to love yourself. Short ribs in this exact marinade became the dish I knew I would want to prepare for myself. 

Let me show you how easy it is to make a luscious marinade for these decadent beef short ribs, and by all means, toss a few fingerling potatoes in the marinade to cook with the meat. 

Shrimp Buddha Bowl Dinner & Beef Short Rib Dinner

Recipes to each of these dishes are linked here:

Ingredients Needed

  • Beef short ribs
  • Salt
  • Onion
  • Olive oil
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Aleppo chili pepper
  • Red wine
  • Beef broth
  • Flour
  • Butter

Equipment Needed

  • Cast iron roasting pot, or other heavy pot
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Stovetop or burner
  • Oven

Best Marinade For Short Ribs

Recipe by rdaumit




  • Beef Short Ribs – about 4

  • Salt – 1 tablespoon for rub, plus 1 tablespoon for marinade

  • Onion – 1 medium, sliced

  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Pomegranate juice – 1/2 cup

  • Sugar – 1 tablespoon

  • Garlic – 2 cloves

  • Aleppo chili pepper, or cayenne – 1/4 teaspoon

  • Red wine – 1/2 cup

  • Beef broth – 1/2 cup

  • Flour – 1 tablespoon

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon


  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Rub 1 tablespoon of salt on both sides of ribs and let set out room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Get a heavy pot (preferably cast iron) that has a lid (or you can use foil), good and hot. Lay the ribs in the hot pan (should sizzle instantly), for 30 seconds on all sides. Remove them. Lower the heat on the pan. Add olive oil and onions to the pan. Stir and sweat for 2 minutes. Sprinkle sugar on top the onions, additional salt, add pomegranate juice, garlic, Aleppo pepper, wine and broth. Simmer until bubbles form.
  • While waiting for bubbles to form, melt butter in a small pan, add flour, stir until all the butter is absorbed by the flour. Spoon in liquid from the large pot, stir, add more, stir and then pour the butter/flour mixture into the large pot and stir quickly so the sauce will begin to thicken. Turn off the burner. Lay the ribs in the pot, potatoes too if you are making them. Cover and put into the hot oven.
  • 10 minutes after the ribs are in the oven, covered, lower the oven to 325 and cook for 1 hour. Allow the pot of cooked ribs to sit on top the stove for 10 minutes to rest before serving.


  • Allowing meat to come to room temperature before cooking ensures for a more even cook all the way through the meat. 
Beef Short Rib Dinner

My Muffin Madness


In my family, I’ve always been known as the ‘Muffin Queen’. Out of necessity, I created muffins for breakfast, lunch, on the go snacks, sometimes dinner and a sweet yet healthyish treat for dessert!

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