Queso and Beef Ribs
Have you heard of Chef Matty Matheson? Perhaps if you’re Canadian you have. He is a chef and author, and quite a character. It’s hard not to think of bad-boy Anthony Bourdain when you read his story, who was raised in Ontario, Canada. There’s not much information on his early life, but at one point he was a roadie for a heavy metal band. After extreme drug and alcohol use, a heart attack at 29 led him to the straight and narrow.
He became a YouTube star in Canada, which surprises me, because his voice is quite annoying. Think a high-pitched Roseanne Barr. He also started his own channel online and is considered an “internet personality.”
I own the cookbook on the left, below, published in 2020, he’s more recently published A Cookbook, in 2022.
From Amazon: This is a very personal cookbook, full of essays and headnotes that share Matty’s life—from growing up in Fort Erie, exploring the wonders of Prince Edward Island, struggling and learning as a young chef in Toronto, and, eventually, his rise to popularity as one of the world’s most recognizable food personalities. His no-nonsense approach to food makes these recipes practical enough for all, while his creativity will entice seasoned cooks. This book is like cooking alongside Matty, sharing stories that are equal parts heartwarming and inappropriate while helping you cook dishes that are full of love.
According to the chef, this recipe is “100% ripped off the barbecue beef and queso from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit funny to me that I referred to a Canadian’s cookbook to make Texas barbecue. And honestly, I’ll never make that mistake again. I had to make so many changes to this recipe to make it actually be what it’s supposed to be, or my interpretation, thereof.
Pickled Hot Pepper Queso and Braised Beef Ribs
For the Braised Short Ribs:
4 1/2 pounds beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2” pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup diced green bell peppers
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups Mexican lager
5 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup jalapeño chiles, charred, peeled, chopped
4 cups beef and bone marrow stock
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
For the Queso:
1 pound American cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack
1/2 cup grated Oaxaca cheese
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup pickled hot peppers plus 3 tablespoons hot pepper liquid
2/3 cup finely chopped white onion
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup pickled hot peppers
1 bag tortilla chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Season the short ribs with 1 teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a wide-bottom Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown the short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate. After the last batch, pour out about 70% of the fat from the pot.
Add the onions, celery, and green bell peppers to the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to coat the vegetables, then deglaze with the beer and reduce by half.
Return the short ribs to the pan with any juices from the resting place and add the thyme and charred jalapeños. Add stock to barely cover the top of the short ribs. Bring to a boil, turn off heat, cover, and transfer to the oven.
Cook until the short ribs are tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Allow the short ribs to rest in their braising liquid until cool enough to handle. Remove the short ribs, pick the meat off the bones, and spread into medium chunks. Take the thyme sprigs out and skim the fat off the braising liquid. Cook the braising liquid on the stovetop over high heat until reduced by half, add the short rib meat to the liquid, and reduce until nicely coated and the sauce is thick. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and add the Tabasco; keep the short ribs warm.
Except for the jalapenos and 1 teaspoon (!) of tabasco sauce, there was nothing “barbecue tasting” in the sauce, so I added a significant amount of sweet paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and some Worcestershire sauce until it tasted something like Texas barbecue.
For the queso, assemble a double boiler by filling a large saucepan 1/3 full with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down heat to medium to maintain a simmer. Place a stainless-steel bowl on top of that, making sure it doesn’t touch the water. Put American cheese and milk in the bowl, melt down the cheese, then add the others, stirring.
After ten minutes and no melting, I added 12 ounces of cream cheese to the cheeses and a lot more liquid to make this more of a queso texture instead of a large blob of cheese. But the recipe continues: Now that the queso is all yummy and ribbon-y, add the mustard, pickled hot peppers and the hot pepper liquid and season with salt. (I had no idea what yellow mustard the chef is referring to, so I omitted it. Also, I had to omit pickle liquid so that my husband would eat this dish!)
Pour the queso into a serving bowl and put a huge scoop of the braised short ribs in the center.
Make little piles of white onion, scallions, cilantro, and pickled hot peppers on top. (I served this for dinner the night I made it, and did serve bowls filled with the recommended garnishes.
Serve with tortilla chips. Which I almost forgot!
Like I said, it was silly of me to rely on a Canadian chef for a Texas barbecue-inspired meal. I could have made the whole thing on my own. I practically did. And by the way, we all really really enjoyed it!!!
Good for you that you made it your way and it looks delicious.
It really was a fun dinner. We had friends over and it was quite a treat!
That’s a lot of cheese..this is so rich and delicious! I would love some ribs :-)
It was a wonderful combination!
I had not heard of this chef before, which is surprising since I watch Canadian TV frequently (when the cable goes out, I rely on my live TV antenna and here in the north country, that means CBC!)
This is quite appealing to behold!
Ha! Well, you’ll have to check him out! He’s quite interesting.
I will, thanks!
Hi Chef Mimi,
This looks delicious. I was thinking about beef short ribs earlier in the week.
I always think about short ribs! Love them more than steak!
I ended up making a short rib stew last night
Love it! I love bolognese made with short ribs as well!
Ooh, I can imagine how good that would be.
i’ve not heard of this chef; i must check him out on Youtube. I don’t really eat this sort of food, I’m afraid…
Well his cookbook provides the expected variety of food, not just bbq!
Oh my goodness, what is not to love here! Also adding this to my weekend menu!!
Thanks, Carrie! Enjoy!
I have not heard of this chef before, but I can imagine he is very entertaining. And this is some recipe! Talk about rich and hearty! Your photos practically come with aroma, Mimi!
It turned out so good and decadent. We shared with friends!
Wow, does that look good!!
Thanks, Ann! It really was.
The dish looks great and I’m sure it’s because of all the Mimi magic that went into it.
Aww, that’s very sweet!
Wow, Mimi. What a recipe! I love the Oaxaca cheese queso (I luckily visited Oaxaca in my younger days).
I’ve not heard of this chef before, but he does sound like you described him.
Mimi, you are making us so hungry. Want to do a face plant right in those tender beef ribs and queso. We are so inviting ourselves over! Will bring the wine, cervesa or tequila!
Hahahahahaha! I completely understand. It was really good, and we had friends over to share.
Wow does this look rich and delicious. Sounds like a really interesting book — how great he changed his path and is living a healthier life now. :-) ~Valentna
Yes, a heart attack at 29 would certainly worry even the wildest ones! Good for him.
I haven’t heard of Matty Matheson before. I’m sure he’s a skilled chef, but leave Texas BBQ to the Texans! :-) With that said, this type of recipe is right up my alley! I love queso. I love beef shortribs. I think I need to make this happen in our house.
It’s an incredible combination! You’ll love it.
It’s always exciting to explore different culinary influences and put your own twist on recipes. Even if a dish is inspired by a specific region or cuisine, there’s room for adaptation and personalization. It sounds like you successfully created a flavorful and enjoyable meal that suited your tastes and preferences.
Thanks, Raymund. It turned out really good. And it is a versatile dish.
Oh, my! This sounds absolutely fantastic, and I have never seen anything like it. Nor have I heard of Marty. Definitely another food-lover to follow!
Check him out oh YouTube first to see if you can handle his voice! I don’t want to be mean, but certain frequencies are really offensive to my ears!