Braised Ancho Chili Short Ribs

POSTED IN : Recipe Sunday

If you thought it was about time for The Youngrens to post yet another braising recipe on Recipe Sunday, then I have two things to say:

  1. You know us too well.
  2. I like you already.

Our friends know that Jeff and I can’t get enough braising over here at Casa de Youngren, so when my fellow blogger and Recipe Sunday assistant, Jenny, showed up with this mind-blowing recipe to make and photograph, I knew that we had found a new household favorite. Beef short ribs? Check. Ancho chilis? Check. Insane flavor?? Double check.

Whenever you’re braising, don’t skip the seasoning and browning at the outset, and the great news is that the website that we found this recipe on actually has a fabulous video documenting the steps. Definitely check it out, even if you’ve braised before!

The best recipes have simple ingredients and this is no exception. You’ll need to hit up your local butcher for great cuts of beef short ribs, then grab a can of chipotles in adobo sauce plus dried ancho chilis, maple syrup, and coffee. Can you already taste the delicious flavor combos?

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Before you begin: Heat a large Dutch oven on the stove with a tablespoon of olive oil, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or 200 degrees for a longer cook and really tender meat), and soak the ancho chilis for 20 minutes in boiling hot water. Then pat the short ribs dry and season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides.

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While the chilis are soaking, brown the meat on all four sides in the Dutch oven.


When browning, don’t move the ribs around, but let the sides get a nice sear on them. This will add a lot of flavor and add to the juiciness of the meat.


Bring the pot down to low and keep the browned bits on the bottom of the pan for the next steps.


While the meat is browning, chop and prep the sauce by placing the onion, chipotle peppers, chipotle sauce, maple syrup and seasonings into a food processor. Pulse until a puree.

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Once the chilis are soaked through, rip off the tops and squeeze out the seeds.

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Then toss the chilis into the processor and incorporate them into the puree.

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Toss the puree back into the pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the coffee and water, bring to a boil, and add the ribs back in.


We only used four ribs instead of the 6 lbs in the recipe, so we needed to add a lot more coffee and water to make sure the meat was covered at least halfway. It’s important for the meat to cook in the sauce, so add more liquids if needed!

Put a lid on the pot and place it in the middle of the oven to cook for two to three hours depending on the size of the ribs and the temperature of the oven. The lower the temperature, the longer the cooking, but the more tender the meat. You’ll know they’re ready when the ribs are fork tender.


Turn the ribs over during cooking at least once to incorporate them into the sauce, which should thicken as it cooks. If the ribs are finished and the sauce needs to be reduced, feel free to remove the ribs and thicken it on the stovetop.


The recipe suggests making these a day or two in advance and reheating in the oven. This will help the flavors develop even more, but they’re still just as delicious the day of! Just make sure to let the meat rest at least 15 minutes, then serve with a large helping of the sauce!


 Braised Ancho Chili Beef Short Ribs

(view original recipe & instructional videos here)

  • 4 whole dried ancho chilis
  • 6 lb beef short ribs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tbsp chipotle pepper sauce (from can)
  • 6 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee (strong)
  • 2 1/2 cups water


1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175°C). Note: For really tender meat, these ribs can be cooked at 200°F.

2. Soak the ancho chiles in boiling hot water for 20 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

3. Season the ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven or frying pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Sear the ribs in batches, if necessary. Brown the ribs on all sides. Transfer the ribs to a plate.

4. First, roughly chop the onion and place into a food processor along with the garlic, ancho chiles, chipotle peppers, chipotle sauce, maple syrup, lime juice and the seasonings and pulse until fully blended.

5. Using the same dutch oven or fry pan that you browned the ribs in, cook the chili puree over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the coffee and about 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Add the ribs back into the pot being sure the liquid comes about halfway up the sides of the ribs (add more water if necessary).

6. Cover the Dutch oven and braise on the middle rack of the oven, turning at at least once or twice during cooking. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, or until fork tender. The time will depend on the size of the ribs and the temperature you cooked them at.



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We’re Jeff and Erin Youngren, and we believe running a business should be life-giving (not soul-sucking). So we’re passionate about teaching other photographers to run life-giving businesses and book clients they absolutely love.  

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