Braised Short Ribs with Apples and Pomegranate Honey Glaze

Short RibsI love short ribs. I particularly like sticky Asian style short ribs,  although they can be a bit pricey.  As we are going with an Asian theme this year for our first night of  Rosh Hashanah (AKA Jewish New Year) menu, I am springing for the short ribs.  First night of Rosh Hashana is the one time a year I really go all out and pick up a nicer piece of meat.

This recipe is inspired by fusing this dish with the some classic Rosh Hashana flavors.  I chose apples, honey, and pomegranate as they provide sweetness, a central theme for Rosh Hashana.  The pomegranate lends some sweetness along with some tartness to help balance it out. It also provides a nice red color to the glaze.

This recipe feeds 2 people but can easily scaled up, as long as you have a pot large enough.

ThermoPro TR15H Digital Instant Read Meat  ThermoPro TP15HThermometer Review*

I cooked the ribs to an internal temperature of about 205°F. 205°F is a magic number for tender beef that you don’t want to completely fall apart.  I checked the temperature with the new ThermoPro TR15H Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer available on Amazon for about $11.65 after coupon.  The coupon is available right on the listing, all you need to do is check the box.  The probe is nice and long and the body of the thermometer has a convenient loop for hanging as a well as a magnet for sticking on your fridge.  The long probe along with the fact that it has a back light and temperature lock functionality make it great for sticking in a dark oven without burning your your face trying to read it. 

 ThermoPro TP15H BacklightI did a quick calibration test with some ice water and it read right at 34°F.  When I ran the ice water calibration test I compared it to my Classic Super-Fast Thermapen which I love, but is significantly more expensive.  The Thermapen settled on temperature a few seconds faster than the ThermoPro TR15H.  For less than a quarter of the price the TR15H is a great budget option. 


I do prefer a  thermometer with a probe that folds in to the handle. ThermoPro does have several other models that have that feature.  We reviewed one a few years ago (along with a great smoked chicken recipe), check it out here: Apple Wood Smoked Chicken Recipe and ThermoPro Thermometer Review.  Another cool feature the TR15H has is a calibration mode.  I haven’t had a chance to test that out yet as it seems pretty accurate out of the box.

Don’t forget to check out some of our other Rosh Hashana recipes:

Delicata Squash Stuffed With Apples Dates and Leeks and Rosh Hashanah Menu

First Night of Rosh Hashanah 5779 Menu Retrospective and Zucchini Leek Soup Recipe

Gluten-Free Honey Muffins & Ginger Maple Apple Chips For Rosh Hashanah

Recipe: Braised Short Ribs with Apples and A Pomegranate Honey Glaze

0 from 0 votes
Short Ribs
Braised Short Ribs with Apples and a Pomegranate Honey Glaze
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs

Asian style braised short ribs fused with Rosh Hashanah flavors of apple, honey, and pomegranate. A sweet dish for your New Years table.

Course: Main Course, Meat
Cuisine: Asian, BBQ, Holiday, Jewish
Keyword: Braised Short Ribs, Ribs
Servings: 2 Servings
Author: Daniel Peikes
  • 2 lbs Flanken Cut Short Ribs Flanken cut means cut in strips across the bones
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper To taste
  • 3 Apples Peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 Onions Sliced
  • 6 Cloves Garlic Roughly chopped
  • 2 Cups Beef Stock Homemade would be best, but boxed will do in a pinch
  • 1 Cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  1. Preheat your oven to 250°F. Lightly coat the ribs with oil and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Place a heavy pot or dutch oven over high heat. Sear the ribs on each side until browned.

  3. Remove the ribs and reduce the heat to low. Add the onions and apples and saute until they begin to brown.

  4. Remove the pot from the heat, return the ribs, and add enough beef stock to make sure the ribs are submerged about half way.

  5. Put the cover on the pot and move it to the oven. Cook until the ribs are tender but not mushy, about 2 hours.

  6. While the ribs are coking add the pomegranate juice and the honey to a small sauce pot and cook over high heat stirring regularly until the mixture is reduced to a syrup.

  7. Once the ribs are tender, remove them from the pot from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 400°F. Place the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly coat the ribs on both sides with the pomegranate syrup. Place the ribs back in the oven for just a few minutes to set the glaze, being careful not to let it burn.

  8. Put the pot with the beef stock, apples, and onions back on the stove over high heat and reduce until it thickens into a sauce. Cut the ribs between the bones, plate on top of the sauce and serve.

*ThemoPro provided the new thermometer for me to review, but did not sponsor this post.  In the past they have provided free products for me to review as well as sponsoring the thermometers for the 3rd Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition


Smoke on the Water: Organizing a BBQ Competition In the Rain and Award Winning Ribs

Hang on folks because this one is a bit long (at least for my posts). If you like BBQ I promise it is worth it.  If you make it to the end your patience will be rewarded with an award-winning rib recipe (or you could just scroll down to the recipe, I won’t tell).

Back Where (Kosher Competitive) BBQ (In Chicago) All Began

What you may or may not know is that Rachel and I have a competitive kosher BBQ team called 5 Dudes and a Vegetarian.  Here is a little history how that came to be. In 2014, I competed in my first kosher BBQ competition at Anshe Emet Synagogue in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. I assembled a team, developed some recipes, watched some YouTube videos, and came up with a plan.

Kosher BBQ Competitions KCBS Style5 Dudes and a Vegetarian

I am going to pause here and provide a little background on the format of kosher BBQ competitions established by the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS):

Teams compete in four categories, chicken, beef ribs, turkey, and brisket. They are judged by six judges on taste, tenderness, and presentation. Judges score entries on a scale of 2-9, with the lowest judge’s score dropped. The scores are then tallied and the winners are announced. In order to keep everything kosher the competition provides all of the equipment, meat, and ingredients.  Usually, there is prep time Thursday night or Friday morning ahead of the event. At this point meat, ingredients, and utensils are given out and access to a kosher kitchen is provided.  The event swings in to full gear Saturday night, where the teams are provided a smoker and a grill, and start cooking, drinking, and having an all around good time.  The teams pit-masters tend their fires throughout the night until it is time to turn their hard work in to the judges.

Now back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Prep was on Friday afternoon at Milt’s BBQ for the Perplexed, who was co-hosting the event.  My teammates and I spent a good few hours blending a myriad of spices, trimming meats, and simmering sauces.  We had a different rub and sauce for each meat, which I have since learned is definitely NOT the way to go, but that is a story for another time.  There were close to 20 teams, which made for some close quarters, while working on little 4-top restaurant tables.   While this wasn’t ideal it did make for great camaraderie between the teams.

If I had to pick the thing I like the most about competing in kosher BBQ competitions, it is relationships I have developed over the years with other teams.  I have met a lot of awesome people and made some great friends.  I want to call out one specific person who I met on my BBQ odyssey, Mendel Segal. Mendel Segal, currently the pit-master at Backyard BBQ and Brew in Surfside, FL, was helping organize the event.  At the time he was the executive director of the Vaad Hakashruth of Kansas City, and is responsible for bringing competitive BBQ to the kosher world.  He has encouraged me to indulge my BBQ obsession, and guided me along the way.

Time to Kick the Tires and Light the Fires

Now let’s fast forward about thirty hours. We showed up Saturday night at Anshe Emet  to cook (and drink) through the night. To be honest, despite all of the planning and research I had done, I made lots of rookie mistakes, but again that is a story for another time. The weather was perfect, the crowd was great, and a good time was had all around. To be honest I don’t remember how we did in three of the four categories, but we did take home a third place trophy for our BBQ Baked Beans (this was early on, so they did beans instead of turkey).

From there on I was officially hooked. Since then we have competed in kosher competitions in Kansas City and St. Louis.  This year we are hoping to compete in Dallas, Boca Raton, and Phoenix.  The Chicago competition lasted one more year and then fizzled out, that is until this year.

Bringing BBQ Back to the Windy City

I was determined to bring kosher competition BBQ back to Chicago (and compete in it at the same time), but I knew I could not do it alone.  I reached out to the organizers of the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival.  Back in 2014 their event was the week after the Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition.  Their event has been running for decades. They have large outdoor event logistics down to a science. When I approached the organizers about incorporating the Kosher BBQ Competition in to the Jewish Festival they were very excited about it.

BBQ SmokersTo be honest, I don’t know how I could have done it with them.  The festival took care of the fundraising and logistics such as tents, lighting, water, refrigeration, and port-o-potties.  I was also able to obtain ten smokers and ten grills from the organizers of the original Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition. That helped us over the major hurdle of finding equipment, but at the same time that became our maximum number of teams.

Help! I Need Somebody, Help!

Having someone else worrying about logistics freed me up to concentrate on the BBQ competition and its culinary related tasks. One thing I learned the hard way is that putting on a BBQ competition is way more work than you could possibly imagine. Only attempt this if it is truly your passion.  If you just think it will be something fun to do, or if you are on the fence, do not attempt it.  Also, get trusted help, and more of it than you think you need.  Even with the help of the fine folks from the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival and some occasional help from friends* this was still way more work than I expected.

Below is just a small list of things I needed to attend to:

Building a website (

Promoting the event on social media

Registering teams

Purchasing equipment

Buying ingredients

Ordering meat

Coordinating with KCBS

Coordinating with the festival

and so much more…..

One day I’ll write a book about organizing a BBQ competition but suffice it to say it is a lot of work.

Who’BBQ Prepll Stop the Rain

While most things went fairly smoothly, but there were some minor issues and one big one. Prep went well Thursday night and the logistics came together nicely on Friday.  The teams arrived fairly promptly on Saturday night and started cooking. All was going well until about 3:00 AM when it started raining buckets.  Luckily we were under a tent, but we definitely were not on high ground and the tent flooded.  It rained on and off through the night and the next morning, leaving the grounds a muddy mess.

As I stated earlier, the greatest thing about competition BBQ are the relationships you make.  When you have less than ideal conditions, like crummy weather, it serves to strengthen those relationships.  Teams help each other out and everyone just tries to laugh it off together. My team was in the area that was flooded the worst and the team next to us went out of their way to help us move our smoker out of the mud.  To be honest, most of the cooking was a bit of a blur but the overall camaraderie really did make an impression on me.BBQ Rain

At the end of the day my team took home a first place trophy for our ribs (see recipe below), and third overall.  I would be happy with those results at any competition. The fact that I spent most of my energy organizing the event and not competing, made those results that much sweeter.

Check out Rachel’s take on the competition here: 2018 Chicago Kosher BBQ Competition!

BBQ Ribs Trophy

*Thank you to  Robert Feiger, Ryan Gottesman, and Elliott Fliegelman for all your help with the manual labor. Thanks to Debbie and Dennis Burg for the use of you power washer. Thanks to Eli “Moose” Greenberg for help with the refrigeration situation. Thanks to all the teams for coming out and staying even when the weather got rough. Thanks to the fine folks of the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival for welcoming us in to their event. Finally, thanks to Steven Weinberger for everything.





4.5 from 2 votes
BBQ Beef Ribs
Award Winning Ribs with Pomegranate BBQ Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Coal Lighting
15 mins
Total Time
4 hrs 5 mins

This is my award winning rib recipe that took first place in the 2018 Chicago Kosher BBQ competition. The recipe includes instructions for cooking on a smoker or in an oven.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: BBQ
Keyword: BBQ
Servings: 5 Bones
Author: Daniel Peikes
  • 1 Rack Beef Back Ribs 5 Bones
  • 2 Cups Apple Juice In a spray bottle
Spice Rub
  • 1/2 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Galic
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Paprika Smoked if you have it
  • 1/4 Cup Celery Seed
Pomegranate BBQ Sauce
  • 2 Cups Ketchup
  • 1/2 Cup Pomegranate Molasses
  • 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinager
  • 1/2 Cup Spice Rub
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Juice
Optional Special Equipment if You are Smoking Your Ribs
  • 1 Smoker
  • 2 Logs Apple Wood For flavor
  • 2 Logs Cherry Wood For flavor
  • Charcoal/Propane/Electricity/Wood For fueling your smoker
Spice Rub
  1. Add the kosher salt, pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, paprika and celery seed to a large mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Reserve a 1/2 cup of the spice rub for the sauce.

Rib Preparation
  1. Start by removing the membrane from the back of the ribs.  This isn't 100% necessary but makes for a more tender rib and allows for better smoke penetration, if you decide to smoke the ribs. Then trim any loose bits of meat and fat as they will just burn during cooking.

  2. Sprinkle the ribs liberally with the spice rub on both sides.

Smoking Instructions
  1. If you are going to smoke the ribs, fire up your smoker to 250°F and put in a log each of apple and cherry wood. Place the ribs on the rack concave side down. 

  2. After about an hour add the other 2 logs. If you see spots on the ribs that start to look dry spray with the apple juice.

  3. Cook until the tender, about 3 hours. A skewer should slide through the meat with almost no resistance.

Oven Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to to 250°F and the put the ribs on a foil lined sheet pan.

  2. Bake until the tender, about 3 hours. A skewer should slide through the meat with almost no resistance.

Pomegranate BBQ Sauce
  1. Add the ketchup, pomegranate molasses, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, apple juice, and spice rub to a medium pot. Place the pot over medium heat and simmer, stirring constantly until all the solids are are dissolved.

  2. Lightly brush the ribs with the sauce and place back on the smoker or in the oven  for 5 minutes to set the sauce.  Slice and serve immediately.