Craving Filipino food? This Slow Cooker Filipino Short Ribs Adobo has all the classic flavors of adobo infused throughout slow cooked beef short ribs. It's a hearty and flavorful family meal!
Growing up in a Filipino household meant we ate a LOT of adobo. Usually we'd have pork or chicken adobo.
As I cook for my own family, I love introducing the flavors of my childhood in new and different ways. While I make Instant Pot Chicken Adobo regularly, I've also come to love the way adobo flavors are intensified in richer meats like beef.
These Slow Cooker Filipino Short Ribs Adobo are a delicious way to enjoy the flavors of traditional Filipino adobo. It's a rich, hearty, satisfying dish that is true comfort food at the end of a busy day.
What is Filipino adobo?
Adobo is the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. The word "adobo" comes from the Spanish "abodar," which means marinade, sauce, or seasoning.
Every region makes their own version of adobo. And, you'll find that adobo recipes vary even from family to family within the same region.
The basics of adobo include basic pantry ingredients. Usually, this includes:
- cane vinegar or white vinegar
- soy sauce
- bay leaves
My Instant Pot Chicken Adobo is more along the lines of classic Filipino adobo.
Different kinds of adobo
Abodong Puti is the classic Filipino adobo, but without the addition of soy sauce. This is reportedly how Filipinos made adobo before the Chinese imported soy sauce.
In Southern Luzon, they make Adobo sa Buko: adobo with lots of coconut milk.
The residents of Cavite make Adobo sa Dilaw, which includes turmeric.
Adobo sa Gata is made in the Bicol region. People here would add coconut milk and chili.
Also popular in Southern Luzon and the Visayas, the people there make Adobong Ilongo with achuete, or annatto oil.
And for a completely different twist, you can make Adobong Hipon. This is a seafood stew that combines adobo sauce with coconut milk.
There are more versions but they all have one thing in common: all are delicious in their own way!
Kitchen tools and equipment
For this recipe, you just need a few basic kitchen tools:
Skillet - Use a large skillet to sear the beef short ribs. I use my cast iron Finex skillet, since the beef gets a really nice sear on cast iron.
Slow cooker - You'll need a 6 quart to 8 quart slow cooker for this recipe. I use my 6-quart Crockpot slow cooker and it's just the right size.
Tongs - Use a sturdy set of tongs to help you flip the short ribs while they sear.
Key ingredients to make short ribs adobo
Beef short ribs - Thick, bone-in beef short ribs work best for this recipe. If you can't find the thick short ribs, you can use thick bone-in chuck steaks or trim a chuck roast into smaller cuts.
Kosher salt and ground black pepper - Use kosher salt and ground black pepper to season the short ribs before searing.
Olive oil - You'll need olive oil to use when searing the short ribs.
Cane vinegar - Cane vinegar is popular in the Philippines and commonly used in Filipino cooking. The Datu Puti brand cane vinegar is the most popular and easily available online. If you can't find cane vinegar, you can use rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. It will alter the final taste a bit, but it should still be delicious!
Soy sauce - Use your favorite soy sauce or use coconut aminos for a gluten-free option.
Garlic - Don't skimp on the garlic in this recipe! The recipe calls for 5 cloves, but depending on the size of your garlic cloves, you can use between 4 and 6.
Whole black peppercorn - black peppercorn is a traditional ingredient in authentic Filipino adobo recipes, and it adds a deep peppery bite to the short ribs. I like to cook with them, but
Bay Leaves - you'll need three (3) bay leaves, which add a lovely herbaceous aroma to the dish. Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving.
Step-by-step slow cooking instructions
Exact measurements of ingredients and instructions are in the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this post. Here are some helpful tips to guide you as you make this recipe.
Pat the short ribs dry with a towel.
Season the short ribs on all sides with the salt and pepper. Use more than what the recipe calls for if needed to adequately cover all of the ribs.
Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the seasoned short ribs and sear, browning all sides.
Make sure there is an inch or two of space between the ribs; you don't want to overcrowd the pan. Depending on the size of your ribs, you may need to work in batches.
To a slow cooker, add the the seared ribs.
Then pour in the chicken broth, cane vinegar, and soy sauce.
Add the garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves over the ribs.
Close the lid and slow cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
Short ribs are done and fully cooked when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reaches between 200°F and 205°F.
Short ribs recipe FAQs
Yes - the difference is how they are cut. Flanken-style ribs are cut across the bone. Those are the thin strips of beef with a few bones that are often used for Asian-style flanken ribs. The beef short ribs for this recipe are from the same area, but are cut 3-inches thick across the bone, and then again between each bone.
When a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reaches between 200°F and 205°F.
Store leftover short ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
What to serve with Filipino short ribs adobo
Like most Filipino foods, these adobo short ribs are delicious served over white rice or Instant Pot Garlic Rice.
Complete the meal with other Filipino dishes, such as:
- Filipino Macaroni Salad
- Pancit Bihon or Pancit Canton
- Pandesal (Filipino rolls)
- Lumpia (Filipino egg rolls)
Best wine pairings for Filipino adobo
Filipino adobo is a rich sauce with biting flavors of vinegar and pepper. This short ribs adobo dish pairs deliciously with a big red wine that is medium- to full-bodied, high in tannins, and has a bit of spice to it.
Try pairing this Filipino adobo dish with red wines like Tempranillo and Syrah.
More Filipino recipes
Slow Cooker Filipino Short Ribs Adobo
- Season the short ribs on all sides with the salt and pepper.
- Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the short ribs and sear, browning on all sides.
- Add seared short ribs to a slow cooker. Pour in the chicken broth, cane vinegar, and soy sauce. Then add the garlic cloves, black peppercorns, and bay leaves.
- Cover and slow cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or on LOW for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is tender.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.
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