Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are the ultimate slow cooker comfort food for a chilly day!

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These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are the ultimate slow cooker comfort food for a chilly day!A couple of weeks ago, I hopped in my car and drove 45 minutes south to Trowbridge Farms.  It was a cold day.  The kind that just made you want to roll over and go back to bed.  And to top it off, a big snowstorm was coming in that night.  But Phil Trowbridge was up and out of the door by 5am that day.  Why?  Because it’s calving season on his farm, and that means he’s up checking on his cows and heifers every few hours.  (A heifer is a cow that hasn’t yet had a calf.  Once she has a calf, she becomes a cow.)

Over the course of this year, I’m writing several posts about seasonal life on cattle farms and ranches across the country.  Next up: calving season.

Farmers and ranchers time calving season to fall at different points during the year, but there’s a good chance that farms and ranches in your area are gearing up for calving season right about now.  So what does that mean?  It means paying even more attention to the cattle than normal.  It means late night and early morning trips to the barn to make sure everyone is doing ok.  It means vaccinations to make sure the little ones don’t get sick.  It means very little sleep.  (Actually, in many ways, calving season on a ranch reminds me of those first few weeks after we brought Robbie home.  Seriously!)

Located on 1200 acres of rolling fields just 2 hours north of Manhattan, Phil Trowbridge’s farm is a family-run business.  (In fact, according to the USDA, 97% of the 2.1 million farms and ranches in the U.S. are family owned.)  As I observed firsthand, 2 of Phil’s hardest working coworkers are his dogs, who ride everywhere with him helping to herd the cows and make sure everything is in order.

One of the most unique things that I learned from my time with Phil is the level of technology in place on today’s farms and ranches.  When I hear “farm,” I think of an outdoor rugged space.  And while that might be true, technology has been working overtime to modernize American farms.  You might be surprised to hear that Phil regularly works with an embryologist when it comes to making decisions about breeding cattle on his ranch.  He showed me some of the frozen embryos that he keeps in his barn, and I immediately had a flashback to Jurassic Park.  But unlike the movies, this is real life…and it’s really cool to see!

Another piece of technology that helps Phil immensely?  His smart phone.  He has wireless cameras set up in the calving barns across his property, so now he can easily check on his cows and heifers anytime he’d like.  Prior to the cameras, he’d be out there in the barns every 2-3 hours (including the wee hours of the morning) checking to make sure the mommas are happy.  But now he can just roll over in bed, take a peek at his phone and make sure everything is going well.  Of course, if one of his cows needs help, Phil is up and out the door, but technology has made calving season much, much easier for ranchers.  However, as Phil pointed out, “Science can only take us so far.  I still need to go look at the [newborn] calves every day.”

Calving season is hard work, and Phil noted that “you have to love it to do it.”  Fortunately, he loves the work he does.  He provides daily care for each and every animal on his ranch, and he does this with the help of his sons (and 2 dogs).  Phil’s grandkids are still about Robbie’s age, but if they follow their dad’s footsteps into farming, then they will be the 6th generation in Phil’s family to work in agriculture.  Kinda cool, huh?

I recognize that this post is a 10,000-foot view of calving season, but hopefully you realize how much hard work goes into running a successful farm.  It’s not easy, but like most farmers, Phil considers himself fortunate in that he works alongside his family each and every day.  If you have more specific questions about calving season, just ask!  If I don’t know the answer, then I’ll reach out to Phil and find out.

Let’s turn our attention over to the recipe part of this post now.  Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs.  Or in other words slow cooker heaven.  Seriously.  But speaking of slow cookers, I had a bit of a problem when I made this recipe.  You see, we love a good slow cooker recipe around our house.  During the colder months, that slow cooker barely goes back into it’s storage spot on the basement shelf before I’m pulling it back out again.  I knew I would be using that slow cooker for these Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs.  But I wanted to serve said short ribs over mashed potatoes.  (Comfort food central, right there!)  But the problem?  My favorite mashed potatoes recipe is a slow cooker recipe, too.

These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are the ultimate slow cooker comfort food for a chilly day!I own a lot of cookware.  Like a lot.  I’ve got heart-shaped baking pans.  I’ve got a giant lasagna pan (with a removeable bottom, mind you).  I’ve got no less than 6 frying pans in different sizes.  But I only have one slow cooker.  I was tempted to just get another slow cooker as our current one is kinda basic, and I’ve had my eye on the nicer, programmable types.  But Laura pointed out that 2 slow cookers was a bit much.  Oh, fine.  She was right, as usual.  (But don’t tell her I said that!)

These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are the ultimate slow cooker comfort food for a chilly day!So I called up our wonderful neighbors and borrowed their slow cooker.  I had 2 slow cookers simmering away making this meal!  If you don’t happen to have 2 slow cookers, then you can totally make the mashed potatoes the traditional way…or you could make the mashed potatoes the day before.  Mashed potatoes are one of those foods that reheat really well.  Either way, these Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs turned out amazing!  Laura loves beef short ribs, and I can remember her talking about short ribs way back when we first started dating.  I turned to the Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner website to get this recipe, and it didn’t disappoint!  If you’re in the mood for some really easy and really delicious comfort food, then put these Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs on the menu.  Cheers, friends!

These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are the ultimate slow cooker comfort food for a chilly day!Oh, and a side note about the Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner website: It’s amazing!  Not only if it full of facts about raising cattle, but it’s full of info about various cuts of beef, too.  I actually discovered this Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs recipe while looking through some different cuts of beef on the website.  Their recipe recommends using country-style beef ribs (also known as chuck ribs).  Short ribs were on sale at my local market, so that’s why I went with short ribs.  Our market often puts beef on amazing super sale.  London Broil vs. Top Round.  Chuck Eye Steak vs. Delmonico Steak.  Tri-Tip vs. Triangle Roast.  It can get confusing!  (On a side note, each of those pairs is actually the same thing.)  So now when I find beef on super sale, I often pull up the Beef, It’s What for Dinner website right there on my phone to learn more about the cut as well as find some recipes using that cut.  Nice and easy!

Other “Life on a Cattle Ranch” posts
Winter: Cheesy Skillet Queso Dip
Calving: Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are the ultimate slow cooker comfort food for a chilly day!

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are the ultimate slow cooker comfort food for a chilly day!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 280kcal


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 pounds beef short ribs or chuck ribs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup white onion chopped
  • 3 medium poblano peppers seeded and chopped
  • 1-2 chipotle in adobo peppers finely diced
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • {for serving} mashed potatoes
  • {optional topping} cilantro minced
  • {optional topping} lime wedges


  • Using a large skillet, add olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add ribs and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, or until browned.
  • Transfer beef ribs, salt, onions, poblano peppers and chipotle peppers into slow cooker. Pour undrained crushed tomatoes on top. Cover and cook on low for 7½-8½ hours (or high for 5-6 hours), or until beef is fork-tender.
  • Remove beef from slow cooker. Skim off any fat from the cooking liquid.
  • Serve beef over mashed potatoes with a spoonful of cooking liquid.
  • {Optional} Before serving, garnish with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

These Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs are the ultimate slow cooker comfort food for a chilly day!

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  1. Haven’t phones come a long way? I remember having a basic flip phone and then a Blackberry that, at the time, was the coolest thing ever. Now, it looks so ancient. It’s amazing what phones can do these days. Crazy actually. Those cows look pretty happy, David and the little wee ones are so cute!
    I have so much cookware too David. Like, a lot. Every time I see a piece I like, I’m like I NEED that…I don’t have one like it. Then, the difficulty is trying to find a place to put it all, lol. I can see your argument for two slow cookers tho 😉
    This definitely looks like comfort food central! How could you possibly go wrong with short ribs over creamy mash? You can’t! That and some vino makes for one awesome dinner! Cheers to a wonderful weekend, my friend 🙂

    1. Yes! I totally remember when I got my first cell phone. And then I remember when said cell phone could actually take a picture. I’m sure the quality was terrible, but at the time it was so cool! And then checking email on your phone!? What kind of crazy alien technology was that?? 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees the need for 2 slow cookers. I mean sometimes you just need ’em! Thanks so much, my friend. We definitely have a great weekend here, and I hope you did, too. Cheers to a great week ahead now!

  2. I have these fantasies of living on a cattle ranch because I love the thought of having all those cows (and heifers! who knew?) around. But I also really like to be lazy sometimes so I know it would never work. People like Phil and his family never cease to amaze me! Maybe he’d let me visit sometimes and just pet the cows when I’m feeling like it :). And speaking of amazing, I love the sound of ribs and potatoes for dinner. It’s just a big plate of comfort!

    1. I hear ya, Kelsie! At times, I think the farm life would be really cool. Outdoors. Working with your hands. Taking care of animals. But then you get days like last Friday with 12″+ of snow…and you remember that the farm doesn’t stop just because it snowed. Ranchers and farmers are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and I’ve really enjoyed the chance to visit a number of farms recently. Pretty cool stuff! Hope you had a great weekend, my friend!

  3. I love how you put your heart into everything you post, David! Thank you for such an authentic look into a season on a Cattle Ranch…

    From the mashed potatoes and broccoli to the fall apart short ribs – that whole plate is my kind of comfort food!

    1. Wow, thank you so much, Marissa. Seriously. That comment totally made my day! 🙂

      And I’m right there with ya on the comfort food here. Slow cooker beef short ribs is where the party’s at on a cold day. I speak from experience! Thanks again, my friend!

  4. Thanks for this awesome slow cooker recipe David. The slow cooker was out last weekend when we were at Broadmore House, cooking up Black Bean Burritos whilst we were out walking and it’ll probably be out again this weekend, maybe for something like this with meat in this time! I freeze my mashed potato when I make a batch and there’s some left over. So that’s another way of folks using your excellent Slow Cooker Mashed Potato recipe to make that first and then make this recipe. Actually sometimes the de-frosted mash tastes even better. I just “lift” it up a bit by reheating it in a pan after it’s defrosted with a little butter. Have a fab weekend. I want some if this!!

    1. Slow cookers really are perfect for less expensive cuts of meat! Not only does that help save money, but you end up with juicy, fall apart meat at the end of the day…right when you’re hungry for dinner! And freezing mashed potatoes is an awesome trick. I’ve never thought about that before! I might have to do that so we can have these more often…after all, 2 slow cookers at once was a bit insane. Haha! Thanks, Neil! Can’t wait to read about your trip to Broadmore House!

  5. I’ve only had Beef Short Ribs once but I LOVED them. Of course I haven’t ever tried to make them myself but now this is a great excuse to make it for my friends and family. Trowbridge Farms sounds fun, I’ve never been to a cattle farm but I’ve always wanted to go. the Calfs are adorable. I need these mash potatoes in my life right now! I have a serious addiction to potatoes.

    1. Oh, I have a serious addiction to mashed potatoes, too, Mary. They’re so easy! Fortunately they take a bit of time to cook or else I’d be eating a lot of mashed potatoes every single night! 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend. I hope you had a great weekend and cheers to a fun week ahead!

    1. Yes! I always forget that you grew up on a farm, Dawn. Maybe I’ll finally remember it this time. 🙂 Farm life is indeed tough, but I’ve gained so much respect for farmers and ranchers after visiting a number of farms lately. So cool! Also, these short ribs really are slow cooker perfection. Perfect for cold days! Thanks so much, my friend!

  6. David, I’m surprised at you! You should have withheld the two slow cooker meal until your wife caved in and let you buy a second one. It’s marriage 101!

    1. Hahaha! You are totally right, Jeff. I dropped the ball here. It should have been like “Laura, you want those slow cooker beef short ribs? Then let’s get another slow cooker.” I failed. But the recipe is a winner, for what it’s worth!

  7. What a great opportunity for you! Ranchers always amaze me – their jobs are 24/7 365 days a year. I don’t think there’s anything cuter than a new born calf. You are putting your slow cooker to good use, which is perfect for days that you are out and about all day long! These short ribs look great!

    1. Ranchers are really an amazing community, Kathy! And aside from all of the hard work, ranchers are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Seriously! I’ve really been enjoying visiting a number of ranches lately, and I’ve gained a serious respect for America’s ranchers. Thanks so much, my friend!

  8. I love hearing about cattle farms – it reminds me of when we visited my Uncle Jerry’s dairy farm every summer. The best part about that was feeding the calves with these half-gallon sized baby bottles made especially for calves. My cousins thought we were crazy to WANT to do that! Anyway, I love this short rib recipe – it’s still slow-cooker season here, so I’m in for these ribs!

    1. Haha! I’ve totally seen those giant bottles for calves. I agree with you, Laura! Visiting farms is so much fun for sure. I definitely have a lot more respect for farmers and ranchers now that I’ve started to understand the day-to-day operations on a farm. It’s a lot of hard work! It’s still slow cooker season here, too. In fact, they’re calling for another round of 8-12″ of snow tomorrow. Seriously!? The silver lining is snow calls for more winter comfort food at least! Thanks! 🙂

  9. Cool little insight to a cattle farm! Those farmers sure work their but off I mean it’s not like the cows (and ahem heifers) don’t eat or need care just because it’s Christmas! Cool little insight into that world!

    I’m still in the forming phase of cookware acquisition but you bet I already got a crock pot down pat! Not that I have two but certainly could probably finagle something close to those awesome looking potatoes the ol fashion way.

    Great post!

    1. Yeah, I totally agree, Matt. When I stopped and realized that there’s no such thing as a vacation day on a farm, it definitely raised my respect level for farmers! Getting dumped on with 12″ of snow? That’s not a snow day. You’ve still got to go out and make sure the herd is taken care of. Much respect! Now as far as cookware goes, I highly recommend two slow cookers. Or maybe I’m just trying to live vicariously through you…hah! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Karen! Yes, I agree with you about the poblanos. And the addition of lime juice is a fun twist here, too. This is definitely a warm-you-up-on-a-cold-day kinda comfort food! 🙂

  10. Even though you might consider this post a 10000 foot view of calving season – I loved reading it! I remember that other post you did about the technology farms use and drones with cameras and the like – it blows my mind – and Trowbridge Farms is only 2 hours away from Manhattan! Wow!
    About this meal – David, this is the epitome of comfort food – creamy mashed potatoes, flavorful short ribs and just a smattering of greens – so yum!

    1. Wow, good memory, Shashi! I’ve really had fun visiting a number of farms and ranches over the past year. The technology is awesome! I don’t always put farms and technology together in my head, but technology is definitely changing the way America farms. Cool stuff! Thanks so much, my friend!

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