• 1 ½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts separated, green parts sliced thin on bias
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled, halved lengthwise, and crushed
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 lbs. boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 4-inch lengths
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


1. Sprinkle gelatin over 2 1/2 cups water in Dutch oven and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Heat softened gelatin over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in sherry, soy sauce, hoisin, molasses, scallion whites, ginger, garlic, five-spice powder, and pepper flakes. Stir in beef and bring to simmer. Remove pot from heat. Cover tightly with sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, then lid. Transfer to oven and cook until beef is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring halfway through cooking.

3. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to cutting board. Strain sauce through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator. Wipe out pot with paper towels. Let liquid settle for 5 minutes, then return defatted liquid to now-empty pot. Cook liquid over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 1 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. While sauce reduces, using 2 forks, break beef into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Whisk cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon water together in small bowl.

5. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisk cornstarch mixture into reduced sauce, and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Return beef to sauce and stir to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is heated through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle scallion greens over top. Serve.


With its generous amount of soy sauce, this dish is meant to taste salty, which is why we pair it with plain white rice (see related content). A simple steamed vegetable like bok choy or broccoli completes the meal. Boneless beef short ribs require little trimming, but you can also use a 4-pound chuck roast. Trim the roast of large pieces of fat and sinew, cut it across the grain into 1-inch-thick slabs, and cut the slabs into 4 by 2-inch pieces.



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Cooks Illustrated


Servings: 6
Yield: 6