Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Wadmalaw Sweets Onion Jam

Louis Osteen

Louis's at Pawleys, Pawleys Island, SC

James Beard Award winner Louis Osteen served this version of a classic Carbonnades la Flamande at the Beard House. Osteen told us, "It seems that my heritage drifts back to Holland and Belgium, which might explain my affinity for beer." But what explains our affinity for this hearty dish?


  • 6 pounds square-cut beef short ribs
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup rendered bacon fat, unsalted butter, or vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups beef stock or chicken stock
  • 6 bottles Pilsner or light ale
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar


Generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper and let sit refrigerated overnight. Bring the ribs back to room temperature by letting them sit out for about an hour before cooking. In a large, wide saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the fat over high heat. Brown the ribs well on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a clean plate. Drain the fat and wipe the pan dry.

Place about 1/3 of the onions on the bottom of the pan, then layer half the short ribs, and repeat twice, ending with onions. Add the stock and beer to the pan, using only enough beer as you need to cover the meat. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat, cover, and cook slowly until the meat falls off the bone, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Carefully remove the short ribs, set aside, and strain the cooking liquid into a clean pot, reserving the onions. Discard the bay leaves and thyme stems. Let the liquid stand for 30 minutes, and then carefully skim the fat that rises to the top.

Make a slurry with the cornstarch and vinegar. Reheat the liquid to a simmer and add slurry to thicken. Simmer for 5 minutes and add the short ribs and the onions back to the liquid to reheat. Serve with buttered noodles or steamed or mashed potatoes.


6 servings