short rib grilled cheese

short rib cheese

Even though I was convinced I just saw this recipe a couple weeks ago in my Bon Appétit, I went back to my bookshelf and turns out… February 2010 cover recipe. No big deal. Apparently the cover picture was just hibernating in my subconscious waiting for the perfect time to spring out and jerk my hunger chains. Grilled cheese and short rib sandwich with pickled caramelized onions and arugula… yeah, pretty full of win.

The issue? Finding short ribs. I checked all my usual stores during my regular shopping and didn’t see any. Finally, the morning after thanksgiving, I stopped at the store on my way home from the gym. I found short ribs, but they were the “last chance 50% off buy these before they spoil” short ribs… not gonna cut it. Unfortunately for them, that let me know that the option existed. The friendly man behind the meat counter at my local Safeway grocery store was sweet enough to go in the back and cut them for me fresh. I was so excited… until he handed me the package.

30+ dollars for my package of short ribs!? Wish I had known that ahead of time. I was tempted to dump them into the cooler and abandon my dreams of short rib grilled cheese… but after waiting for like 25 minutes for the poor guy to get them, cut them, and package them specially for me, I felt obligated to purchase them. I went to buy a loaf of hearty bread and… there was none. I probably should’ve anticipated that the store would be ransacked and empty the day after thanksgiving, but I didn’t. what ever happened to home-made rolls, people? Fresh bread for thanksgiving? Come on, lazybones, a loaf of store bought bread on thanksgiving? Really? Leaving me with no options the next day? I gave up and was forced to use wimpy bread, making it more of a knife-and-fork sandwich, but delicious no less.

Still medium defeated, I returned home and began cooking. Sure, I should’ve been eating leftovers, but this sandwich was in my head. I couldn’t get it out. I needed to make it before my brain exploded. I began braising the short ribs on the stove top, made my onions ahead of time, and sat around all day while the house smelled delicious.

Boyfriend ate one and a half sandwiches, they were darn tasty. My issue was with the short ribs themselves. Even after I picked out as much fat as I could, I felt like I threw away pretty much half of my meat. $15 of meat just gone, because I deemed it too fatty. So while the sandwiches were delicious, I don’t know if I would spring for short ribs again, or if I did I might pull the trick of putting the cooked short ribs in the oven to dry out a bit. I bet that would be super tasty…

Regardless, I give you

Bon Appetit’s Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwiches (with Pickled Caramelized Onions and Arugula )

[ Printable Recipe ]

Short Ribs

  • 5 pounds beef short ribs
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup low-salt beef broth
  • 1/3 cup medium-dry Sherry
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large fresh thyme sprig

Pickled Caramelized Onions

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large red onions, halved, thinly sliced crosswise (about 6 cups)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar


  • Butter, room temperature
  • 16 slices country-style crusty white bread
  • 12 ounces Petit Basque or Monterey
  • Jack cheese, sliced
  • 4 cups baby arugula

For the Short Ribs

1. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Melt butter in large wide pot over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook beef until browned, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet.

2. Add celery, carrots, and onion to pot and sauté until beginning to soften and brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add wine, broth, Sherry, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme sprig; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Season with salt and pepper. Return ribs to pot, propping up on sides and arranging in single layer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour.

3. Using tongs, turn ribs over in pot. Cover and simmer until ribs are tender and sauce is very thick, occasionally rearranging ribs in pot to prevent sticking, about 1 1/2 hours longer. Uncover and cool 30 minutes.

4. Transfer ribs to work surface. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprig. Spoon off fat from sauce in pot. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Cut meat into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces, trimming any fat. Return meat to pot.

* Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm just until lukewarm before using.

Pickled Caramelized Onions

1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar and cook until almost all vinegar is absorbed, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to microwave-safe bowl; cool.

* Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Microwave in 15-second intervals until lukewarm before using.


1. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with waxed paper. Butter 8 bread slices; place 4 slices, buttered side down, on each prepared sheet.

2. Divide short rib mixture among bread slices, about 1/2 cup for each. Divide cheese among sandwiches. Spoon about 1/4 cup onions over each sandwich. Place large handful of arugula atop onions. Top with remaining 8 bread slices. Spread bread with butter.

* Can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

3. Heat griddle over medium heat. Working in batches, cook sandwiches until bread is golden brown and cheese melts, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to work surface. Cut each in half on diagonal. Transfer to plates and serve.