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Sarsaparilla Short Rib Sandwiches

Renee Kelly's Sarsaparilla Short Rib Sandwich
Renee Kelly's Sarsaparilla Short Rib SandwichNathan Congleton/TODAY


Short ribs
  • 48 ounces ginger beer, divided
  • 48 ounces sarsaparilla soda, divided
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3-inch knob ginger, peeled and cut into several pieces
  • 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 carrots, cut into large pieces
  • 6 ribs celery, cut into large pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into large dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 tablespoons marshmallow root
  • 1 tablespoon burdock root
  • 2 tablespoons licorice root
  • 1 tablespoon dandelion root
  • 4 star anise pods
  • Coleslaw
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Blue cheese sauce
  • 4 ounces heavy cream, whipped
  • 3 ounces sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • Assembly
  • Pretzel buns, toasted
  • Bread and butter pickles (optional)
  • Sliced peppers (optional)
  • Onion straws (optional)
  • Chef notes

    I love these sandwiches because they satisfy all my game-day cravings. They're packed with tender beef, tangy blue cheese, crunchy slaw and the flavor of refreshing sarsaparilla soda.


    For the short ribs:


    Mix together 1/4 of the ginger beer, 1/4 of the sarsaparilla soda, salt, black pepper and ginger in a large container. Add the short ribs, seal, cover and refrigerate overnight.


    Remove the short ribs from the marinade and reserve the liquid.


    Preheat the oven to 275°F.


    Heat a large oven-safe pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the butter, and melt. Add the short ribs, bones facing up. Sear for 8 minutes.


    Remove the short ribs from the pan and add the onion, celery and carrot. Sear until the vegetables are caramelized, about 10 minutes.


    Add the ribs back to the pan, bones down. Add the remaining ingredients, plus the reserved marinade. The liquid should be even with the top of the short ribs, but not fully submerging them; if it is not, add water until the liquid is at the appropriate level.


    Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 1 hour. Then, flip the short rib so the bones face up and continue to cook for 8 hours or until tender.


    Remove the cooked ribs from the pan. Let the ribs and braising liquid cool for 30-40 minutes.


    Strain the braising liquid. Place the liquid back on the stove in a sauce pot over medium heat. Reduce the sauce until thick, like syrup.


    When the short ribs are cool, take the bones out of the short ribs, and trim the excess.


    Pull the meat and toss with the reduced braising liquid.

    For the coleslaw:

    In a large bowl combine the cabbage, garlic, shallots, orange juice and zest, vinegar, oil and remaining salt and pepper. Toss to combine and coat evenly.

    For the blue cheese sauce:

    Place the whipped heavy cream in a bowl and fold in the sour cream. Then stir in the Worcestershire, thyme, salt and pepper. Fold in the blue cheese crumbles.

    To assemble:

    Smear both sides of each toasted bun with the blue cheese sauce. Place some beef on each, a few spoonfuls of the slaw, bread and butter pickles, peppers and onion straws, if using.