Four paths to tenderness
This tough cut can be made tender and delicious by four different preps:
1) Barbecue them. When roasted low and slow with dry heat and a bit of wood smoke, you get a dark brown exterior, and flavorful, tender meat.
2) Kalbi them. When the meat is cut thin, marinated, and grilled hot as they do in Korean Kalbi, you get relatively tender, powerfully tasty meat, with both beef and marinade mingling to perfection.
3) Braise them. When simmered low and slow in a flavorful liquid, as they do it in France, you get very juicy, very tender, flavor-packed meat that has absorbed the richness of the braising liquid. In return, the meat has given up most of its innate essence to the greater good of the stew.
4) Tenderize them. First you sprinkle meat tenderizer, and then you pierce the flesh with a Jaccard meat tenderizer. The Jaccard has razor sharp blades that penetrate the meat and drive the tenderizer into it. This method results in very fine pieces of rare meat, juicy and beefy.
Back ribs vs. short ribs
There are 13 ribs on each side of a steer. The rib cage of a steer covers a lot of territory, from the backbone to the breastbone, close to a meter, and from the shoulder to the last rib, another 3 feet or more. So it matters a lot where the ribs come from. With back ribs the meat is between the bones. Back ribs are popular for barbecue. Back ribs are attached to the ribeyes and are often sold boneless which leaves the back rib bones available for sale separately. They usually come in sections of about seven bones. Back ribs are good for braising because the marrow is a fine source of flavor for stews, and they are popular for barbecue.