Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragù Recipe for UFC 196 Fight Night

We interrupt our California vacation coverage to bring you some breaking news: I made food!

I think the bulk of slow-cooker meal days are thankfully behind us, but this short rib ragù was perfect for the past few chilly days. On Saturday, Joe wanted to watch the UFC fights. So, we invited our friend to come over for dinner before all heading out to the bar to see the pomp and the blood. 

This was the first time any of us had ever seen a UFC fight (other than Joe who has watched plenty of clips and highlights). I'm sure if you care at all, you've heard by now, but two main card champions lost their fights. The women's bantamweight champion, Holly Holm, lost her gold when she submitted to Miesha Tate, who was on a 4-match winning streak. It was really dramatic - Holm lost consciousness.

But the men's non-title welterweight match was a little too bloody for me. I don't think I'm cut out for UFC spectatorship. Conor McGregor, the loudmouthed Irish hero and featherweight champion, gained 25 lbs in a few weeks to fight Nate Diaz in the welterweight class But he lost (gracefully, I might add) after Diaz submitted him in the second round. I thought for sure McGregor was going to win judging by blood spurting from Diaz's face, but I guess that's not the UFC way. 

In any case, we had the sustenance to stay up late thanks to this easy, delicious recipe!

Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 beef short ribs
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • coarse salt & ground pepper
  • 1 large carrot, diced small (optional because I didn't have one)
  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 c beef stock
  • 1 c dry wine (I had white, but red would be more appropriate)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 c parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Season short ribs with salt and pepper and lightly coat with flour. 

In batches if necessary, sear the short ribs until golden brown on all sides (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer the short ribs to the slow cooker.

Optionally, add the carrot, onion, and garlic to the pan until the vegetables are soft (about 3 minutes). Add 1/2 cup of the tomato juice to scrape up the brown bits, and add to the slow cooker. Alternatively, simply add the carrot, onion, and garlic to the slow cooker without softening to save time like I did. 

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, beef stock, and wine to the slow cooker. Stir in the herbs. 

Cover and cook for 8 hours on low heat (or 6 hours on high). With a slotted spoon, discard herbs and remove fork-tender meat to a cutting board. 

With two forks, shred the meat and remove the bones. Skim the fat from the cooking liquid (about 1-1/4 cups). Return the meat to the cooking liquid. Add the brown sugar, and cheese as well as salt & pepper to taste. Stir well and cook for another half hour to an hour on low. 

I served it over fettuccinne pasta that I made our dinner guest bring (thanks Ellyn!), but any kind of thick noodle would work as well as polenta or simply on top of some crusty bread. 

I totally forgot to take a photo of the plated dish. But, here's a picture of Mona on red alert for fallen scraps, that hopefully makes up for that. As with this nosy dog, I think the smell of this one cooking would inspire the interest of anyone who happened to be around.