How to Make Tender Montreal-style Short Ribs

Prime rib
Prime ribAlexandra Hawkins

When most of us tackle short ribs, we either braise them until they’re unctuous blocks of meat and molten fat or slice them thin and quickly grill in the style of Korean kalbi. This winter, try a third way from Philadelphia, where Yehuda Sichel, chef-partner at the haute delicatessen Abe Fisher, cures slabs of bone-in ribs in pastrami spices, smokes and slow roasts them, then slices the meat into spice-crusted pink ribbons of unbeatable tenderness.

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“It’s like brisket on steroids,” says Sichel, who started doing this dish at home for Rosh Hashanah before adapting it for the restaurant, where it’s served family style with mustards, pickles, and homemade rye bread.



Whether you’re burrowing in at a snowy cabin or blowing minds at a dinner party, the key is to plan in advance: The rib cures for a week, smokes for an hour—you can skip this step if your smoker is snowbound—and roasts for six. Fortunately, almost all of it is passive cooking time—this beast pretty much flavors and cooks itself.

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  • 6 lb whole short ribs
  • The Cure: 2 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp ground caraway seeds, 2 tsp ground coriander seeds, 2 tsp ground black pepper, 2 tsp ground white pepper, 4 tsp ground mustard seeds, 1 tsp sugar, 2⁄3 cup kosher salt
  • The Crust: 1⁄3 cup ground black pepper, 1⁄3 cup ground allspice, 1⁄3 cup ground coriander seeds
Mix the cure spices in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over short ribs and cover with plastic wrap. Cure the meat in the refrigerator for 7 days, turning once daily.
After 7 days, rinse off the spices and soak short ribs in cold water for 30 minutes.
Mix crust spices and apply a coating to the short ribs, pressing spices so they adhere to meat. If you can, smoke the meat for 1 hour. Heat oven to 300°F.
Place the short ribs on a baking sheet or roasting pan and cook about 6 hours. (Begin checking for doneness after 4.) The ribs are done when a fork inserted into the thickest part of the meat offers no resistance. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
To serve, slice the whole rib off the bone, trimming any connective tissue. Slice the meat against the grain approximately 1⁄4-inch thick. Serve with your favorite seeded Jewish rye bread, mustards, and pickles.