The RV Chronicles — Thank goodness we’re not total kindred spirits (Recipe: Ancho Braised Short Rib Sandwich)

I’m a smarty pants. Always have been. Don’t know why. So is Baby Girl. Thankfully though, she didn’t inherit my ‘go down with my middle fingers in the air’ temperament.

In all fairness, I graduated from that approach some years ago. But at 17, my daughter’s age, I was a young man with an inexplicable chip on my shoulder.

This past week, she came home from a function and said that an adult had accused her of using profanity.

‘Well, did you?’ I asked.


‘Alex … C’mon now.’

As it turns out, Baby Girl asked an adult if she could help her. That adult apparently misunderstood.

‘How dare you cuss at me,’ the adult barked to my daughter. It just so happened that this woman’s raised voice grabbed the attention of bystanders.

‘What? I didn’t cuss you,’ my daughter responded, shocked.

‘So, you’re telling me I’m hearing things?’ the woman quipped.

And this is the moment in hearing the story that I cried tears of joy. Internally, of course.

The 17-year-old Adam would have told that adult that she is most definitely hearing things and needs to step up her medications. Yes, that was me. Fortunately, Alexandra inherited her mother’s diplomacy skills.

‘…and I’m really mad at myself, because I ended up apologizing to her for the miscommunication,’ Baby Girl explained.

Wow. One of my offspring took the high road. She used water instead of gasoline. And she’s not even old enough to buy a pack of smokes.

She’s my kindred spirit, for sure. And I am a proud father  — extremely proud that she has chosen her own posture when the chips are down … and not mine.


If there’s one good thing about hanging my hat in a home without cable TV or reliable Internet, it’s that I have a lot of time to reflect. Lately, those thoughts have revolved around steak sandwiches. But it is a (beef) rib sandwich that I’m showing off here. I won’t fib, this one is right up there with Christmas — you spend all that time preparing it and it’s over in a flash. But it’s worth it.

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Ancho Braised Short Rib Sandwich

Ancho Braised Short Rib Sandwich

Ancho Braised Short Rib Sandwich – Hearty. Melt in your mouth. Worth the time.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Ancho Braised Short Rib Sandwich
Hearty. Flavors aplenty. Melt in your mouth. This sandwich is worth the time it takes to prepare it.
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 4-5
  • 3 lbs – Beef (chuck) short ribs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, for dry-rubbing ribs
  • 1 TB – Oil
  • 4 cups – Beef stock
  • 4 – Dried Ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 – Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 – Small onion, sliced
  • 2 TB – Tomato paste
  • 1 TB – Cumin
  • 2 tsp – Oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 2 TB - Brown sugar
  • 1 TB - Kosher salt
  • 1 TB - Chile powder, preferably ancho
  • 1 loaf – Ciabatta
  • 1 – Large avocado, sliced
  • Queso Asadero (or provolone), (6-8 thin slices)
Spicy Chile Mayo
  • ½ cup - Mayonnaise
  • 1 - Garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp - Chile de arbol flakes (or ½ tsp - Cayenne pepper)
  • 1 tsp - salt
  • 3-4 drops - Louisiana-style Hot Sauce
Make the Spicy Chile Mayo
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Allow flavors to meld in refrigerator while you're preparing the ribs.
Braise the Short Ribs
  1. Season ribs generously with salt and pepper.
  2. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil.
  3. Sear ribs on all sides; set aside.
  4. In remaining oil, add onions and garlic and cook until slightly browned.
  5. Add beef stock, tomato paste, cumin and oregano; combine.
  6. Add ribs back to pot; cover and cook over a light simmer for about 3 hours.
  7. Allow stock and ribs to cool; remove ribs and place in refrigerator for about an hour. (Strain and skim stock for another use.)
  8. Preheat the outside grill to medium.
  9. Remove bones and fat from ribs (this will be easy - you can do it by hand)
  10. Dredge rib pieces lightly in brown sugar, and 1 TB each of Kosher salt and chile powder.
  11. Grill until sugar is melted and sticky, about 2 minutes per side.
Assemble the sandwiches
  1. Toast sliced ciabatta on the grill.
  2. Add 1-2 slices of cheese to the bottom slice.
  3. Top with avocado slices and 2-3 ribs per sandwich (depending on the size of the ribs -- see photo).
  4. Add desired amount of Spicy Chile Mayo.
Optional but recommended toppings: caramelized onions and fresh cilantro



  1. You’re killing me!!!!
    That looks amazing!

  2. Your daughter is blessed with great diplomatic skills! Especially so young. I had none of that at 17! And … the Braised Short Rib Sami looks down right delicious!!!!!! No diplomacy there, straight up yummo!

  3. How in the world do you take such lovely photos in your Jimmy Rockford and I have a 2,200 sq ft home and couldn’t get a photo that mouthwatering if it fell out of heaven and hit me on the head!?!?!? The sandwich sounds wonderful!

    • adamjholland says:

      You are very kind, Kelli. Thank you. I’ve been trying to shoot under natural light as much as possible here, since my studio is 200 miles away. But I realized the other day that we’re about to be ‘falling’ back an hour. So, admittedly, I shot this under artificial light at about 8 in the evening (outdoors). My artificial lighting is another story altogether. I’ve been through two sets since embarking on this journey. To make matters even more complicated for myself, I’m also shooting with a mirrorless SLR these days. My new toy is a Fujifilm XA-2 and the results — as much as it pains me to say this — are better than my Nikon D90.

  4. Shut Up!!! First of all, I feel defensive for Baby Girl being spoken to that way when she didn’t even use profanity. The angel on my one shoulder is saying ‘Good for her for being such a respectful young lady’, however the devil on the other is saying ‘Bitch should have been put in her place’. I’m just torn…

    The sandwich looks absolutely to die for. Good job, as usual!

  5. Shoot. My daughter would have probably punched the lady out. She is wonderful and very talented. But she is also a tiny little hurricane of strong. She ain’t as afraid as her mother would like her to be. But she is going to be more successful than this mom, because she is not afraid to take chances and stand up against someone. I am learning from her but am pretty darned sure I will never achieve her bravado.
    The sandwich looks amazing and while it will be scarfed down in a nano second, it would be worth every single wonderful bite.
    May I ask another question? You know I am a big fan of Harissa. However, I cannot get through a whole batch myself before it would spoil. Would you think it would freeze if I put it into small batches for later use? Thanks ahead of time Adam.

    • adamjholland says:

      I have Harissa in the freezer on Chestnut Lane as we speak. (Freezing works fine for me.) ~ There used to be a time when getting in someone’s face (verbally, of course) was considered a win in my book. And goodness knows I’ve gone on the attack more times than I care to recall. I suppose I’m most proud that, despite witnessing such behavior from Dad over the years, my daughter opted to take the high road. (Proof that she’s a hell of a lot smarter than me!)

      • I agree! Sometimes it is not what we do as an example of what TO be, it is the example of what NOT to be. However, being a bit of an introvert, I can learn from her and she can learn from me. Some moderation can be a good thing.
        Thanks for the advice on the Harissa. I am getting the supplies today for that and the Pumpkin Bar recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook. Once in a while, you just can’t beat Betty. (So to speak, given conversation above) I have been bringing them into the office each October for years now. The first time I brought them in, they were scarfed up in no time. And each year they ask for them again. I use a different cream cheese frosting recipe that I beat the freaking heck out of.
        There is a theme here but it was not intended.
        Thanks again Adam and others, have a great week.

        • adamjholland says:

          You absolutely can learn from your daughter. Sometimes you just have to stand up and let someone know how the cow ate the cabbage! 😉 Have a good one. Hope all is well. And yes.. Betty has it going on.

  6. Geez, I think I’m with you and would have suggested the stronger medication route but you’ve got a great baby girl there Adam.

    Than is one wicked good short rib sandwich my friend.

  7. Misunderstood conversations can be so awkward. And mygosh Adam, this sandwich looks incredible. I’m such a short rib fab. And that mayo!!!!!!! Have to make this one soon.

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