Traeger Short Rib Ragu
on Oct 09, 2022, Updated Sep 21, 2023
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I’ve tried a lot of pasta recipes over the years, but nothing ever comes close to this rich and hearty Traeger smoked short rib ragu. Equally suitable for bougie dinner parties and chilly winter evenings by the fire, this versatile recipe never fails to impress.
Now I don’t mean to gush, but there’s so much about this recipe that makes it a complete slam dunk. Not only are the succulent beef short ribs smoked until they fall right off the bone, but the vibrant soffritto, delicious broth, and fragrant herbs effortlessly meld together to elevate things to Michelin-star-worthy levels.
Although I recommend plopping your pasta into the sauce and giving it a good ol’ mix, you can also put all the pasta in a dish and pour the ragu on top for a family-style feast. Whatever you decide to do, you’re bound to agree that this ragu is a labor of love that’s well worth the hefty cooking time!
Why This Recipe Works
- The soffritto (carrots, onion, and celery) creates a sweet and savory base that has you at “hello.”
- The extended cooking time creates a moreish and incredibly rich sauce that’s worth the wait.
- It’s surprisingly easy to make and is an ideal recipe for beginners.
- It stores well in the fridge if you’re a fan of leftovers.
- The use of short ribs makes every bite sinfully tender. These American Wagyu short ribs from Snake River Farms have exquisite marbling.
- Everything is cooked in one pot, making clean-up virtually non-existent!
For the Ragu Sauce
- Olive oil. Absorbs the flavor of the other ingredients for a rich and indulgent bite.
- Onion. Lends the sauce a well-rounded and slightly sweet taste.
- Carrots. Adds sweetness and grounds the dish.
- Celery. For some added sweetness and juiciness.
- Garlic. Gives the sauce a savory and slightly spicy kick.
- Cremini mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms are much firmer than other varieties, giving your ragu tons of texture. It also adds some umami flavor.
- Tomato paste. Helps bind the fat and spices together for a richer result.
- Red wine. To enhance the flavor of your beef and give the recipe robustness.
- Beef broth. For the richest flavor, use a high-quality, fresh stock.
- Crushed tomatoes. Avoid diced or whole tomatoes, as they’ll give you a lumpy sauce!
- Fresh rosemary. Lends the ragu a lemony-piney flavor. One of the most aromatic herbs for a real addition of flavor and warmth.
- Fresh sage leaves. For warmth and earthiness.
- Fresh thyme. For a sharp and minty touch.
- Bay leaves. Gives your ragu sauce a subtle but irresistible aroma.
- Ground black pepper. For a delicate hint of spice.
- Kosher salt. Essential to amplify the flavors in the ragu sauce.
- Parmesan rind. Slightly thickens your sauce and gives it a rich and savory taste.
For the Pasta
- Pappardelle pasta. The long and textured ribbons soak up the robust ragu beautifully.
- Heavy cream. Mellows the sharpness of the sauce and gives it much-needed creaminess.
- Grated parmesan. For that all-important cheesiness.
- Fresh parsley. To finish!
How To Make It
It takes dedication and time to make a beautiful ragu, and this Traeger smoked short rib ragu is no exception, but it is so worth it! Follow our recipe for these delicious Traeger smoked short ribs, smoked until delicate and fork tender. These short ribs give the ragu a wonderful smokiness that is amplified by the Traeger while it simmers for 2-3 hours until the sauce develops a deep and robust flavor.
You can also cook this ragu on the stovetop. For detailed step-by-step instructions for this recipe and additional tips on how to cook this ragu on the stovetop, scroll down to the printable recipe card.
Build the Ragu
- Preheat the Traeger and position the Dutch oven on the grates.
- Add the oil and cook the soffritto until fragrant.
- Add the garlic, mushrooms, and tomato paste.
- Deglaze the Dutch oven with wine.
- Pour in the beef broth and crushed tomatoes.
- Add the bundle of herbs to the sauce.
- Chop up the Traeger smoked beef short ribs and add to the ragu.
- Add the parmesan rind.
- Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally. Add water or broth as needed if the sauce thickens too much.
Prepare the Pasta
- Boil a pot of water and add the pasta.
- Cook until al dente and reserve a portion of pasta water for later.
- Add the heavy cream and grated parmesan to the ragu sauce, then stir.
- Combine the pasta with the ragu sauce and evenly coat the noodles.
- Pour in some retained pasta water to help the sauce coat the noodles better.
- Stir and simmer to combine.
Cook down the soffritto and add the tomato paste and mushrooms.
Deglaze the bottom of the pot with red wine. Reduce for 5-10 minutes and add the beef broth.
Add the chopped smoked short ribs.
Place the herbs in the ragu along with the parmesan cheese rind. Stir and simmer for 2-2.5 hours.
Remove the herbs and parmesan rind. Add the cream and shredded parmesan and stir to combine.
Serve the ragu over a bed of pappardelle pasta.
Tips For Success
- Use high-quality tomatoes and beef broth. The base ingredients you’re using are key – if you skimp on these, your sauce could taste watery or overly acidic. A richer homemade broth also brings out a rich, umami taste that you simply won’t get with cheaper options.
- Don’t be tempted to save money by using regular cooking wine. I might be biased here as I can always taste the difference, but you’ll want to use an excellent red wine that’s good enough to drink if you want a rich and hearty ragu.
- Take your time. Pretty much any Italian will back me up on this one. You don’t need to slave away for hours over a hot stove, but your ragu will need to simmer for a decent amount of time on the Traeger to let the broth and wine evaporate properly and for the smoked short rib ragu sauce to develop a deep flavor.
- Ensure the short ribs are tender and smoked to perfection. The best short ribs will be fork tender and pull away from the bones effortlessly after smoking on the Traeger. Smoking the short ribs on the Traeger until they are tender will give your smoked ragu sauce a wonderful texture that melds together into a cohesive work of art.
- If your ragu sauce ends up too thick, throw in some pasta water! It is perfect for loosening up a thick sauce and it helps the sauce to bind to the pasta better.
- Make sure you deglaze the Dutch oven. You will want to deglaze the Dutch oven properly to scrape up all of the browned and caramelized ingredients, giving your ragu sauce a wonderful flavor.
- You need to use a heavy-bottomed pot for this recipe. This is a robust sauce so you need a robust pot to contain it!
- Use twine to tie your herbs together. This lets the herbs infuse into the sauce without being chopped or breaking. You can then easily remove them when you’re ready to serve!
Ragu is like a classic Bolognese, but what makes it special is the cooking time required. A typical ragu will be cooked for hours, making it incredibly tender and rich. As it cooks, the sauce condenses, and the flavors are enhanced and concentrated.
It’s commonly served with pasta, specifically pappardelle pasta, but you can eat this Traeger smoked short rib ragu with polenta, rice, or couscous if you prefer!
A smoked short rib ragu should be reasonably thick but remain loose enough to coat pasta evenly. As you’ll need time to combine the pasta and the sauce, you’ll want your pasta to be on the firmer side to avoid overcooking it.
Sure, you can! You won’t get the same smokiness that the Traeger offers, but you can still get an awesome result.
Cook your short ribs in the oven until fork tender. Follow our recipe for Traeger smoked short ribs, but cook it in the oven at 250°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 203°F. Then follow the recipe below for the ragu, but instead of smoking on the Trager, cook your ragu sauce on the stove over med-high heat.
🛠 Tools and Equipment
If you click on some of the following affiliate links and buy something, we might get a small commission. You don’t pay any extra, but it will help us keep the lights on and our bellies full!
- Traeger Timberline 1300 or this Taeger Pro 780 – and don’t forget the signature pellets!
- This beautiful John Boos maple butcher block.
- This wireless ThermoWorks grilling thermometer is essential for any outdoor cooking enthusiast but also works great in your oven. Don’t forget a Thermopen instant-read thermometer!
- My favorite Lodge dutch oven for long cooks on my Traeger.
- OXO tongs and silicone spatula set.
What Else Is Cooking?
- If you need another ribs recipe, these Traeger smoked beef back ribs are delicious. Also, try the air fryer beef back ribs as well!
- This Traeger prime rib is one of my favorite recipes, perfect for any holiday meal that will be sure to impress your family and other guests! Give this one a try; you won’t be disappointed.
- This Traeger smoked bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin is perfect for an outdoor cookout. Or give this Traeger smoked stuffed pork tenderloin a try, it is always a big hit at our house!
It doesn’t matter whether you’re experimenting with Italian cooking for the first time or just want to try out a new mid-week meal – you’re bound to adore this Traeger smoked short rib ragu! Packed with rich flavors and easily prepared in a single pot, it promises to become a staple in your recipe binder.
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Did you try out this recipe? Please leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it. Also, snap a picture and post it to your favorite social platform. Be sure to tag me at @alicensetogrill and let me know how you liked it!
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- 1 recipe Traeger smoked beef short ribs
For The Ragu Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1-1/2 cups red wine
- 2-1/2 cups beef broth
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs of fresh sage leaves
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 parmesan rind
For The Pasta
- 24 ounces pappardelle pasta
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- Fresh parsley and grated parmesan for serving
Build The Ragu
- Preheat the Traeger to 325°F and add a large dutch oven to the bottom rack of the smoker.
- Add the olive oil to the heated dutch oven. Toss in the soffrito (carrots, onion, and celery) and cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally until the soffrito is brown and the onions are translucent.
- Add the garlic and mushrooms to the dutch oven and stir until combined. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Put in the tomato paste and give it a good stir.
- Deglaze the dutch oven with the wine and constantly stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the wine is completely absorbed into the soffrito.
- Pour in the beef broth and add the crushed tomatoes.
- Tie the herbs together in a bundle with some cooking twine. Place the herbs in the sauce and stir well to incorporate the flavors.
- Chop up the Traeger smoked beef short ribs into bite-size pieces and add the meat to the ragu.
- Add the parmesan rind from the wedge, salt, and pepper the ragu to taste.
- Simmer the ragu with the lid on the dutch oven for 2-2.5 hours, stirring occasionally. If the ragu reduces too much, add a splash of beef broth and continue simmering.
Prepare The Pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on your stove. Add the pasta, occasionally stirring, until the pasta is al dente
- Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta. Do not rinse the pasta after draining.
- While the ragu is still simmering, remove the bundle of herbs and the remnants of the parmesan rind. Add the heavy cream and grated parmesan cheese. Continue simmering the ragu and frequently stir until the cream and grated parmesan cheese are incorporated.
- Add the pasta to the Traeger smoked short rib ragu and allow the sauce to coat the pasta evenly. Continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes to allow the pasta to meld and absorb the ragu.
- Optional: use some of the retained pasta water to loosen the ragu sauce. If you need to thicken the sauce up, use some extra parmesan cheese.
- Serve the ragu immediately in individual pasta bowls and top with fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese.
- To make this ragu on the stovetop, follow the instructions as they are but place the Dutch oven over med-high heat.
- If you don't have a smoker to cook the short ribs, you can cook these in the oven. Follow our recipe for Traeger smoked short ribs, but cook them in the oven at 250°F until they reach an internal temperature of 203°F.
- For the best flavor, use quality meat like this American Wagyu short ribs from Snake River Farms.
- Give the Traeger smoked short rib plenty of time to simmer and develop the flavors. Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the cooking time while achieving the same deep flavor, so plan ahead!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 573Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 1542mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 24g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.