8 Short Rib Substitute (Cost Effective and Tasty)

Short ribs are tasty, flavorsome and a popular beef cut. 

But beef prices can be expensive.

 If money is a concern there are a wide variety of cost-effective options. 

These substitutes won’t sacrifice taste or beefy flavor

Ultimately it will depend on what you’re cooking as to the best choice for you. 

Have a read of the guide below to find a cheaper alternative to beef short ribs. 

applying spice rub for beef short ribs

Beef Chuck Roast

When beef chuck roast is braised or smoked the tender texture becomes juicy

Roast beef is a high-quality alternative with a rich flavor, but is still cheap. 

Beef Plate Short Ribs

Beef plate short ribs come from under the rib bones in the lower part of the cow. 

This cut also has a high-fat content and is one of the cheapest types of beef. 

The fat in the ribs cooks the ribs naturally in meat juices, so no oil is needed!

Smoking Your Short Ribs

The best way to cook your short ribs is to smoke them!

See the recipe for smoking short ribs here.

Beef Back Ribs

Beef back ribs come from the backbone of the animal and the muscles surrounding it. 

This type of meat is a larger cut than short ribs. 

There’s not tons of meat on beef back ribs, but they are a rich-flavored beef cut. 

Beef Shank

Beef shank comes from the leg of the cow and is a perfect substitute. 

Beef shank takes a while to tenderize, so choose a slow-cooking beef recipe

You can also try sous vide beef shanks. This cooking method also allows time for the connective tissue-rich meat to break down.

See the substitutes for beef shanks here.

Flanken Ribs

Flanken ribs come from the flank, which is close to where short ribs come from

These ribs are lean meat, thinly sliced and tender

They are perfect for Korean-style barbecue or braised. 


Smoked Brisket

If you get it on special beef brisket can be an excellent substitute for ground beef short ribs

There are plenty of ways of cooking brisket and a little can go a long way. 


Lamb Ribs

Lamb’s ribs are another ideal substitute for short ribs. 

Packed full of meaty flavor, lamb ribs are bound to become your new favorite dish. However, butchers can assist with this and separate them for you which makes it easier. 

Smoked Ham

Need an alternative to red meat? Try smoked ham!

Either try my festive smoked ham or ham smoked in a Pit Boss.

Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks come from the lower portion of the lamb’s leg. 

The best way to cook lamb shanks is to smoke them low and slow.

 Lamb can be more expensive so look out for specials. 

Pork Top Sirloin Steak

Pork top sirloin steak is also known as sirloin steak. 

This cut of meat is a highly affordable option and pork has some fantastic alternatives to beef. 

Pork top sirloin steak also has great marbling, a good fat cap, and is very tasty!

Short ribs are one of our favorite beef cuts. But, if you can’t stomach the price there are plenty of viable alternatives. 

You can try other cuts of beef or give pork and lamb a go!

Of course, it’s important to take your cooking method and recipe into account.

But at the end of the day, we think you’ll end up with some quality meat that will taste fantastic. 

What is your favorite substitute for beef short ribs?

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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