Bwog is back again with your Friday afternoon favorite—Cooking with Bwog. This week, we thought we’d give our culinaire extraodinaire Matt Powell a challenge à la Iron Chef, so we asked you, fair Bwog readers, to name three ingredients with which Matt would have to make a dish. Read on to find out how he made it work with short ribs, coffee, and cayenne pepper.

It’s at once an exciting and scary feeling—people telling you what to cook. Although I pride myself in my abilities in the kitchen, I must admit that I can’t cook everything… not even close. I had visions of the Bwog editors picking fresh octopus or chicken foot as the main ingredient and having to take a trek down to Chinatown to find the ingredients. Luckily, the Bwog commenters were kind for the most part. This week’s winning recipe incorporates the short ribs, coffee, and cayenne pepper.

Coffee-Braised Short Ribs

Serves 4


  • 2.5 lbs of beef short ribs
  • 1 tbsp of coarse sea salt
  • ½ tbsp smoked salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh ground coffee (I used Sumatra.)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp duck fat (You can substitute butter or oil, but I had this in the fridge and it looked tasty.)
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • ½ yellow onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 cherry bomb peppers, de-stemmed and halved
  • 1 long ancho chile, de-stemmed and halved
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 large cinnamon sticks
  • 2 C fresh brewed coffee
  • 1 C Kahlua (You can use another coffee liqueur or substitute chicken stock.)
  • ½ C pure maple syrup


  1. Six hours before cooking, stir together the two salts, ground coffee, and cayenne. Set the rub aside. Pat the short ribs dry. Coat the short ribs in the coffee rub, making sure to work the rub into the meat. Set the short ribs (now coated with the rub) in a metal bowl, cover with plastic, and place in the fridge.
  2. When you’re set to cook, allow the short ribs to come to room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a Dutch oven (or other oven-safe pot) over the stove, heat the duck fat over medium-high heat. Lightly sauté the short ribs on all sides, working in batches. It should take about 7 minutes per batch. Remove the finished short ribs to a plate, covered with a paper towel.
  3. After sautéing the short ribs, toss the vegetables and garlic cloves with the remaining fat. Reduce heat to medium and sauté with the lid on until softened for 10 minutes. Give the vegetables a stir every once in a while.
  4. Once the vegetables are finished sautéing, turn off the heat and remove the ancho chile. Place the short ribs back into the Dutch oven atop the vegetables. Place the cinnamon sticks on top of the meat. Pour the coffee, Kahlua, and maple syrup into the Dutch oven. Place the lid on top of the Dutch oven and place the entire pot into the oven. Braise for 2-3 hours, until meat is very tender. Check every hour to make sure that the liquid level hasn’t gone down too far.
  5. Once the short ribs are finished, remove them from the Dutch oven onto a serving plate. Pour the remaining liquid into a saucepan and reduce to about 2 cups, adding brown sugar if needed. Serve the short ribs with the sauce.

Dessert: Apple-Cranberry Cobbler

You can’t have short ribs without dessert! Plus, I hope this will satiate those of you whose ingredients were not chosen. Keep trying! We still have many Fridays ahead of us…


  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 3 C fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • A pinch of cloves
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 C flour
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 stick of butter, cold
  • ¼ C boiling water
  • 6 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon, combined in a bowl
  • Whipped cream and cinnamon for garnish


  1. Toss apples, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lemon juice, and cornstarch together in a large mixing bowl. Portion out to 6-8 ramekins, or into 1 big glass baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.
  2. While the fruit cooks, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt) in a mixing bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until it resembles coarse sand. Stir in the boiling water until just combined.
  3. Remove fruit from the oven and drop spoonfuls of topping on top of the fruit. Sprinkle cobbler with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  4. Bake until golden (about 20 minutes for small cobblers, 30 for large).