Springtime Short Ribs with Asparagus from Miami’s Papi Steak

This dish from an ultra-buzzy South Beach restaurant can star on any spring holiday table, from Passover to Easter, with rich Spanish reds to match

Springtime Short Ribs with Asparagus from Miami’s Papi Steak
Chef Jeff Maxfield suggests adding to the atmosphere while you’re cooking this short-rib dish with some tunes. At Papi Steak, that usually means Miami’s staple genres of Latin American or electronic music. (Courtesy of Groot Hospitality)
Mar 19, 2021

Set in Miami’s bustling South of Fifth neighborhood, Papi Steak has all the markings of the city’s hottest restaurants. Clubby beats welcome guests into the extravagantly eye-catching dining room, which is often studded with celebrities. Owner David Grutman is a local nightlife giant, with his Groot Hospitality encompassing some of Miami’s most popular entertainment venues, restaurants, and in some cases, a blend of the two.

But Papi Steak has an unexpected twist that sets it apart from other high-end steak houses in South Beach: A connection to Jewish cuisine. There are kosher meats cooked on a separate grill to avoid mixing meat and dairy, and there’s also a separate grill on which shellfish is not permitted. Jewish dishes usually reserved for delis and breakfast spots are given the star treatment here, like latkes with crème fraîche and house-made apple sauce, or pastrami made with Wagyu beef.

What brought Jewish influences to one of Miami’s most sceney spots? It all traces back to the restaurant’s namesake, David “Papi” Einhorn, a close friend of Grutman's who was raised in a kosher household in Brooklyn and has a passion for grilling. The steaks he’d often make for their inner circle led to a “Papi Steak” menu item at Grutman’s Komodo, a show-stopping 32-ounce kosher rib eye. The best-selling item became the inspiration for an entire restaurant when the duo teamed up to open Papi Steak in September 2019, with chef Jeff Maxfield running the kitchen.

“It was really important for Papi to be able to bring dishes that he felt were lacking in a restaurant here in Miami. And he wanted to do a steak house, so it was important for us to have the Glatt Kosher meat,” Maxfield said, referring to the strict certification standard for beef. While the restaurant is not kosher certified, which would require steps such as rabbinical supervision in the kitchen, the “kosher-style” features are still unusual. “There’s not a lot of high-end restaurants, especially steak houses, that are having that conversation and understanding.”

 Tables and booths set inside Papi Steak
The dining room at Papi Steak is a quintessential see-and-be-seen Miami spot. (Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com)

Yet Papi Steak’s cuisine is truly for all; Maxfield says some of their top-selling items are the kosher-style dishes. Likewise, the Passover-friendly short rib recipe he shares for the holiday would be just as delicious at any springtime gathering, made extra seasonal with a simple asparagus side.

A recent special-turned-regular at Papi Steak, the short ribs are made in a smoker at the restaurant, but Maxfield’s version below includes a simple adaptation for a traditional oven. Before it hits the heat, the meat is brushed with mustard and rubbed with a signature spice blend, and the recipe intentionally yields more of that blend than you’ll need. “As long as you store it in an airtight container, you can season anything with it,” Maxfield said. The sauce recipe also yields more than you’ll need, for serving extra alongside the dish and for future use.

The cooking process is lengthy but largely hands-off. First, the short ribs are roasted (or smoked) at a low temperature until they’re well-done. “But you need additional time for it to start breaking down the fibers of the meat,” Maxfield explained. To achieve that tenderness, the short ribs are wrapped in aluminum foil and returned to the heat after a spritzing of apple cider vinegar for moisture and tang. Then they rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, which helps the juices stay contained within the meat, followed by a final reheat at a higher temperature. Maxfield slathers on the barbecue sauce after it’s sliced, “so you get some of the sauce dripping down in between the pieces and you get a nice coating of the sauce. And then serving it alongside asparagus is just perfect for spring.”

The sauce and asparagus come together quickly, and as a big benefit for hosts of springtime dinner parties or family Seders, the short ribs can be mostly made ahead. Everything can be done up to two days in advance up until the reheating step. Simply refrigerate the short ribs once they’ve cooled to room temperature, then proceed with the reheating step when you’re ready to serve. “So all you’re doing on the day of the main event is reheating, slicing, saucing and going.”

Wine is another significant feature at Papi Steak, where the 180-selection list holds a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence. According to sommelier Anthony Dreye, the program is a natural extension of Einhorn’s efforts to create an all-around stellar experience for guests. “He just wants the best for the people. He expects nothing but the best—of our service, of our food—so wine is a big part of it too,” Dreye said. “What’s a good meal without a good wine?”

For this dish, Dreye suggests Bodegas Vega Sicilia Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5.° 2015 from Spain, a blend of Tempranillo, Tinto Fino and Tinta Roriz that’s on the list at Papi Steak. “Even though I’m French, I love Spanish wine,” Dreye said. “This wine is rich and bold, but not overly tannic, with deep, dark fruits, pepper, vanilla and toasty notes. It really works well with the richness of the short-rib meat. The wine and the meat are perfectly in tune and balanced with each other, especially when paired with the flavorful asparagus."

Dreye says guests are always thrilled by this wine pairing, which he calls “absolutely perfect for the dish.” While it’s hard to beat that match, Wine Spectator recommends nine value-priced Spanish reds below, ranging from $16 to $32, each with similar components of dark fruits and balanced richness.

On that note, Maxfield leaves home cooks with a last bit of advice: “Take Anthony’s bottle of wine that he recommended and open it before. I would recommend you buy at least two bottles of wine,” Maxfield said, before Dreye jumped in: “Three!”

“And involve other people,” Maxfield added, noting that steps like rubbing the short ribs can become fun family activities. “When there’s happiness and love surrounding food, it always ends up tasting better.”


Papi Steak’s Short Ribs with Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

For the Papi Steak spice blend:

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal
  • 1 1/2 cups smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups onion powder
  • 1 cup garlic powder
  • 1 cup dried oregano
  • 1 cup black pepper, coarse-ground
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground cumin seeds

For the Papi Steak Carolina gold barbecue sauce:

  • 4 cups yellow mustard, preferably Colman’s Original English Mustard
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

For the short ribs:

  • 2 pounds wood chips or chunks, if using a smoker (can soak in water for 5 to 10 minutes to prevent them from burning quickly)
  • 2 pieces bone-in short rib, tempered outside of the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking
  • 1 cup smooth yellow mustard, preferably Colman’s Original English Mustard
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Preparation

1. For the spice blend: Whisk all ingredients together in a large, dry bowl and set aside.

2. For the sauce: Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Turn the blender off, scrape down all sides using a spatula, then blend on high for another 30 seconds. Reserve in a container while you make the short ribs.

3. Preheat the oven to 275° F, or if using a smoker, preheat it to the same temperature and light the wood chips.

4. Remove the short ribs from their packaging and dry with paper towels. This ensures that the mustard and the spices will adhere to the surface of the meat properly. Brush the short ribs with smooth yellow mustard, coating all surfaces. Season liberally on all sides with Papi Steak spice blend. (Note: Recipe yields more spice mix than needed; store extra in an airtight container for future uses.)

5. Place the short ribs on a baking sheet and add to the center rack of the preheated oven. If using a smoker, add the short ribs once the smoker is preheated and full of smoke. Cook until the ribs reach an internal temperature of 165° F in the center. There are many variables like the size of the short ribs and the size and strength of your oven or smoker, but the process should take between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.

6. Once the short ribs reach an internal temperature of 165° F, remove them from the smoker or oven and lightly spritz with apple cider vinegar from a spray bottle for a light, even coating. Wrap them in aluminum foil and place back in the smoker or oven, and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 206° F, an additional 1 to 2 hours.

7. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature before slicing, so that the juices do not leak out of the protein. (If you are cooking this to be served at a later date, cool to room temperature and then reserve in the refrigerator until you’re ready to reheat through the following step.)

8. Heat the smoker or oven to 350° F. Place the rested (or chilled) short ribs back in the smoker or oven until the internal temperature reaches at least 140° F.

9. Remove the bones (they should come out easily), slice and drizzle the Papi Steak Carolina gold barbecue sauce over the short ribs, distributing the sauce over the top and sides. Serve with some additional sauce in a container on the side. (Note: Sauce recipe may also yield more than needed; store extra in an airtight container for future use.) Serves 4-6.


Simply Grilled Spring Asparagus

 Grilled asparagus from Papi Steak
Asparagus adds seasonality and color to a short-rib dinner. (Courtesy of Groot Hospitality)

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches jumbo asparagus
  • High-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal
  • Chardonnay vinegar, to taste
  • Aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Freshly cracked black peppercorns (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (400° F), or preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

2. Take 1 asparagus and bend it toward the bottom, snapping off the base. This gives you a guideline for where to trim off the fibrous, dry part of the asparagus. Once you have established this line, cut the rest of your asparagus using this benchmark.

3. Toss the trimmed asparagus in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, rubbing them so they are evenly coated with a thin layer of oil. Season the asparagus liberally and evenly with kosher salt.

4. Place the asparagus on the grill perpendicular to the grates so that they don’t have an opportunity to fall through, and cook for 1 minute. If you are using a cast-iron skillet: Working in batches if necessary, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet, allowing the pan to coat evenly, and place the asparagus in a single layer. Turn the heat to medium-high once the asparagus is in the pan and cook for 1 minute.

5. Slowly rotate the asparagus by a third. At this point, the sound of a beautiful sizzle should be audible. Cook for an additional 45 seconds on this side.

6. Repeat the previous step so the asparagus has cooked for a total of 2 1/2 minutes, then transfer it from the grill or skillet to a serving platter.

7. Drizzle the asparagus with a generous amount of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, and a light drizzle of the Chardonnay vinegar.

8. Immediately microplane Parmigiano-Reggiano over all of the asparagus. Then use the microplane to zest the lemons over the top, being careful to not zest too deep, only using the yellow exterior of your lemons. If desired, crack some black pepper on top and serve. Serves 4-6 people.


9 Rich Red Wines from Spain

Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases. More options can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.

BODEGAS IZADI

Rioja Selección 2016

Score: 94 | $25

WS review: This rich red marries power and grace, with ripe plum and blackberry fruit, while toast, loamy earth and mineral notes add depth. Well-integrated tannins support the thick texture, while firm acidity keeps it fresh. Harmonious and deep. Drink now through 2030. 10,240 cases made.—Thomas Matthews


BODEGAS BERONIA

Rioja Reserva 2015

Score: 93 | $20

WS review: This round, juicy red is fresh and lively. Black cherry, tangy plum, leafy, toast and vanilla flavors mingle over moderate tannins and orange peel acidity. Bright and accessible, but has the structure to age. Drink now through 2030. 50,000 cases made.—T.M.


BODEGAS BORSAO

Syrah Campo de Borja Zarihs 2016

Score: 93 | $22

WS review: This red marries the ripe fruit and toasty oak of the international style with a savory, rustic character. A thick, polished texture, supported by well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity, carries dark plum, black pepper, soy sauce and loamy earth flavors that are seamless and long. Drink now through 2032. 8,000 cases made.—T.M.


BODEGAS ARAGONESAS

Garnacha Campo de Borja Coto de Hayas Centenaria 2018

Score: 92 | $16

WS review: Rich and velvety, this red is big but gentle, with raspberry jam, cherry pie and vanilla flavors that caress the palate. Well-integrated tannins give subtle structure, while citrusy acidity keeps this fresh. Harmonious, in a ripe, fruit-centered style. Drink now through 2026. 5,000 cases made.—T.M.


BODEGAS ONDARRE

Rioja Rivallana Reserva 2016

Score: 92 | $28

WS review: This red has good density yet remains graceful. The velvety texture carries ripe plum and boysenberry flavors, with accents of toast, cedar and anise. Well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity keep it balanced. Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. Drink now through 2028. 7,500 cases made.—T.M.


BODEGAS BRECA

Garnacha Spain 2017

Score: 91 | $16

WS review: This red is ripe and generous. A rich, firm texture carries plum and currant flavors, with notes of mocha, loamy earth and smoke. Well-integrated tannins give this backbone, while lively acidity imparts balance. Drink now through 2024. 18,000 cases made.—T.M.


VIÑEDOS Y BODEGAS ÁSTER

Ribera del Duero Crianza 2015

Score: 90 | $22

WS review: Full, polished tannins encase the blackberry and currant notes of this brooding red, with floral, anise and mocha elements matched with savory herb and loamy earth details through the finish. Muscular but still showing finesse. Drink now through 2026. 1,100 cases imported.—Gillian Sciaretta


BODEGAS EGO

Jumilla Fuerza 2017

Score: 90 | $22

WS review:This rich red delivers ripe, bold flavors of blackberry and currant, with cola, loamy earth and orange peel accents. Firm tannins support the thick texture, and orange peel acidity keeps this lively. A big wine, showing structure and balance. Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2031. 30,000 cases made.—T.M.


BODEGAS MUGA

Rioja Reserva 2016

Score: 90 | $32

WS review: A lively, lithe and elegant red, featuring cherry, currant and tangerine flavors that mingle with vanilla and tarragon notes. Light, firm tannins and juicy acidity keep this focused. Good intensity. Drink now through 2024. 80,000 cases made.—T.M.


Recipes Cooking Kosher Passover Red Wines Holidays / Celebrations

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