Melt in Your Mouth Beef Stew

Practically every recipe for beef stew calls for “stew beef.” I’ve seen it in the store. I’ve used it without much success in stew. But really, what the heck is it? After a bit of research, I found it’s typically chuck or round. Chuck is around the shoulder and round is around the rear of the cow. These cuts require lots of time in order to break down and become tender–and I have no problem with that. My issue comes from the fact that I’ve never had a beef stew where these meats actually tasted fall-apart tender and yummy. So what’s the solution? SHORT RIBS! Cheap and just as easy to use in stew as the above ‘unmentionables’. I am not a crock pot fan, so I used a heavy bottomed, enameled cast iron pot. Use whichever you find easier–but if you do use a crock pot, you will have to saute the meat and veggies in a separate pan and then add them to the crock pot.


  • 3 lbs. short ribs (boneless will work if that’s all you can find, but bones add nutrition & awesome flavor!)
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • handful of sage, rosemary and thyme, chopped
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 2 cups roasted marinara sauce (I keep some in the freezer at all times) or tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • s&p


Get your oven to 250ºF. In a heavy bottomed, oven safe pot, melt the butter on high heat. Sear your short ribs until you see a nice brown crust on them. Remove and put them on a plate to hang out. Add the celery, onion, carrots, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until they’ve softened. Add the tomato sauce, chicken stock, vinegar and herbs. Place the short ribs back into the pot. Press a sheet of parchment paper onto the surface of the stew and place into the oven. Cook for about 4 hours or until the short ribs pull apart easily with a fork.

Once the short ribs are tender, remove the pot from the oven CAREFULLY. Remove the short ribs and bones. Once the meat has cooled, use your fingers to pull apart the meat–believe me, it’s much, much easier than using a fork. Add the meat back to the pot and serve.


32 responses to “Melt in Your Mouth Beef Stew”

  1. I’m with ya on the stew meat. Even cooked slow all day, it’s just ok. Although my mother could cook it well by using a pressure cooker. That was the best. I’ve used chuck roast and cut it up. I think you are right though, there is something about those cuts that isn’t quite as juicy and tender even cooked all day on low temps. I may have to try this short rib idea. How much beef stew does this recipe make?


    1. the pressure cooker is where it’s at! i’m just kind of afraid of it… i’ve seen them blow up before.

      this made about 6 servings.

  2. Can’t wait to try this 🙂 Thank you for all your fabulous recipes! One question. What is the purpose of parchment paper? Do you cover in the oven?

    1. parchment isn’t necessary. you can just place the lid slightly ajar and then stick it in the oven. i like to use it b/c it allows evaporation of the liquid but doesn’t let the ingredients “steam” and everybody stays tucked inside the liquid…i just think it intensifies the flavors.

  3. This was fantastic. I’ve loved so many of your recipes, I’m going to buy a couple of t-shirts to pay you back. Thanks so much!

    1. thank you stacy! we’ll have them in the mail by the end of the weekend.

  4. Sounds great, but I’m curious as to why you would use chicken stock rather than beef stock?

  5. it’s just what i had on hand.

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  7. This is the most amazing stew I’ve ever made in my life. Seriously, I wanted to weep when I tasted it. Thanks so much!

  8. This sounds amazing! I’m making my traditional “Newcastle beef stew” tomorrow for my in-laws (yikes!). my husband and I were just talking about how perfect the stew is BUT how much more perfect it would be with pull apart soft meat. I will try this!! one question, no flour to thicken? What thickens the sauce? Also, would stewed tomatoes work? Thanks so much!!!

    1. most of my recipes thicken by evaporation. you could also use a slurry of potato or tapioca starch. any tomatoes would work for sure.

  9. I usually make beef stew (& freeze it) the day after I’ve made a roast.
    It’s the only way I know of to get fall apart meat.
    But this? Sounds so good!
    I’ll have to try it. Would love to not have to cook a whole roast just to get my fix of beef stew! 😉

  10. Wowza! This is fabulous! I made it for my family this week, and it was a huge hit! Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

    1. so glad y’all enjoyed angie!

  11. this is the first recipe of yours i have tried. this stew is awesome! eating it now:) meat was super tender (something i always seem to struggle with). thanks for the yummy easy recipe!

  12. Melissa

    Can you make this in the crockpot?

  13. Very good flavor! The ribs made the stew much fattier than stew meat would have, and it was a bit extra work to get it off the bone. But I think it’s worth the trade – the extra fat is more filling- or could be skimmed off for future cooking, after chilling it.

  14. Michelle Ferguson

    I’ve made this many many times over the past year & I love it!!! However, I can’t get mine to thicken up and reduce in the oven. Any suggestions????

  15. I’ve always used chuck for stewing – due to the higher fat content (marbeling) throughout the meat.
    If you do use chuck, select meat with LOTS of marbeling, if you can find it.

    The secret to making ANY meat super tender is to sever the connective tissue prior to cooking.
    After all, that’s what creates the tender feeling … short fibers that don’t require your teeth to do the break-down. Some folks have pounded meat with mallets to do the job, but the TRUE trick is to get
    yourself (or drop major “gift-hints”) a “Jacquard” – looks like a fistfull of metal skewer-ends (like lots of knife tips), spring-loaded, and when pressed repeatedly along the length of the meat, then run across the meat – do both sides – cuts the fibers very well without turning the meat into mush the way a mallet can.

    Then, the meat can be either seared as-is, rested, then cubed … or cubed first and seared. I think
    I prefer the seared first method, as the resting period makes a difference, even when put back into the pan, and besides, the fond left after the searing does good things to the veggies.

    There’s another benefit to using a Jacquard – if you marinate the meat after poking it, there are plenty of tiny holes into which the marinade can penetrate. Even just rubbing in salt and pepper works for a marinade, if you just let it set for at least 1/2-hour. You can try this with any dry-rub you favor, too … especially if you want a deeper penetration of flavor. I’ve found most rubs tend to sit on the outside for the most part.

  16. Yum! What a great idea to use short ribs! I added a can of tomato paste at the end to thicken it up and it worked great. Thanks!

  17. I wouldn’t recommend trying to serve this the same day it is made; Paleo or not, there’s WAY too much beef fat at the end of the cooking. So I chilled it and skimmed off the fat this morning, and pulled the meat off the bones. It really doesn’t seem like there’s a high enough meat-to-liquid ratio (and I used 4 lbs) to make this a truly hearty meal. The flavor is quite good, however, so kudos for that.

    Dale, thank you for your awesome tips! I am going to get a Jacquard and employ your technique with some chuck, and try this recipe again.

  18. Just made this for the second time. The first time I used ghee and had the same problem as Sue; it was so fatty I had a hard time eating it the day I made it (better the next day after cooling & taking fat off). This time I used coconut oil instead and it made ALL the difference. I don’t think it made any difference in the flavor at all. Also, I used a couple teaspoons of arrowroot powder mixed with some of the broth at the end and simmered it for 10 mins or so. This thickened it up perfectly. Delicious!

  19. I really enjoyed this recipe. I added a few dashes of onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne. It gave it a little kick. 🙂 thanks!

  20. Nicole Hicks

    I made this today and it is yummy! Thank you for another delicious and satisfying recipe.

  21. I made this yesterday and its by far the best crock pot stew ive ever had. I am loving your book and recipes and i too just recently bought a supposedly “green” nonstick pan specifically to cook eggs in because i was so tired of scrubbing cooked on egg off my skillet. I hate toxins in nonstick cookware but figured if i used it just for eggs it would be ok.

  22. Just to clarify: cook this in the oven without the dutch oven’s lid but with the parchment paper? I’ve cooked this before in my crockpot (and LOVE this recipe), but am using my new Le Crueset and was expecting to put the lid on…?

  23. What a great recipe! I have made it several times and we love it! I plan to make it today but NO ONE has short ribs and I am going to have to use a chuck roast, any tips on how to prepare the meat, cut first, sear, etc

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