comfort/meat/noodles/recipes/vietnamese food

Authentic Beef Rib Pho Recipe

Posted March 29, 2018 by Stephanie

I have fond memories of the high school pho joint. Yup, instead of a Riverdale-esqe Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe, our high school had one Vietnamese place that everyone ended up eating at. Okay, truth be told, there was a plethora of fast food joints that people hit up too, but the Vietnamese place was the place to go, especially for bowls of pho, or even better, their famous crispy spring roll vermicelli bowl. But, this isn’t a post about spring rolls, so we’re just going to forget I mentioned that. Just imagine groups of friends hanging out in vinyl backed booths, laughing and chatting over steaming bowls of pho. But maybe replace all of the good looking 20 somethings pretending to be teens with real life awkward teens and you’ve got the picture.

Anyway, that was just a round about way of saying, I love pho. We always end up eating pho before we head out on a trip and sometimes it’s our first meal when we get back too. There’s just something so comforting about a big bowl of slippery rice noodles, rich beefy broth, and various meat toppings. Pho feels like home. My obsession combined with the fact that Mike is actually Vietnamese and literally has authenticity coming out of his veins means that we’re often experimenting with pho-variations.

Authentic Beef Rib Pho Recipe |

This wagyu beef back rib pho happens to be one of our recent experiments and it’s deep, rich, and incredibly beefy. If you don’t want to read about how we (and by we, I mean Mike) got to this particular iteration, but want to make some pho, you can skip to the recipe.

Mike and I have been slowly eating out our freezer. It’s absolutely stuffed to the brim with random frozen pieces of meat that are hanging out because we either a.) had a great idea but didn’t get around to it or b.) meat was on sale. Now that it’s almost empty, we found 4 massive packages of Lone Mountain Wagyu beef back ribs hanging out in the way back, almost on the verge of being frost bitten.

Authentic Beef Rib Pho Recipe |

It was like finding frozen buried treasure! Mike slow roasted a couple of racks for salad rolls and after cutting all the meat off the bones, we didn’t want to just throw them away, so Mike threw them in a pot with some aromatics and water. The resulting pho broth was intensely beefy.

It was so good that I staked (steaked LOL) a claim on the rest of the beef so I could recreate the recipe here on the blog. Pho is usually made from bones that are par boiled so you get a very clear, almost pure broth, but using roasted bones gives you a richer, brown stock that’ll hit you in the face with its beefiness.

I’m not going to lie, this is a recipe that takes a while. Ya gotta commit guys. But, the good news is, even though this making this pho is like being in a long term relationship, it’s the kind of relationship where you just need to woo them in the beginning only to reap the benefits later.

Authentic Beef Rib Pho Recipe |

dat marbling

Here’s what we’re going to do: slather beef back ribs in an aromatic mix of shallot, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, and pepper. Wrap them up all cozy in a foil blanket, then slow roast in a low oven for 6 hours, minimum. The slow roast ensures that the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone, but still with a bit of chew – we don’t want mushy beef, we want beef that explodes with beefiness when you bite into it.

Authentic Beef Rib Pho Recipe |

After you take the ribs out of the oven, trim the meat off the bones then cut into beefy boneless rib cubes. The bones go back in the oven for a little bit of an extra bake and caramelization. Post-roasting, pop the bones into a giant pot with the usual suspects (onion, ginger, shallot, spices) and then simmer until the smell of pho fills up your house and drives you crazy with hunger. You might have to leave to go get a stop-gap bowl of pho from your favorite pho joint, that’s how hungry it’ll make you. Or, you know, maybe you’ll get that thing where you can’t smell what you’re cooking but your neighbors will gather around, outside your house, wondering when you’re going to invite them in for dinner.

Authentic Beef Rib Pho Recipe |

Many, many hours later, it’ll be time to strain, season aggressively, and serve. Make sure you have some giant bowls on hand because pho served in a shallow soup bowl isn’t pho at all. Cook your rice noodles, top them off with the rib meat, then ladle on the steaming hot broth. Serve with all the appropriate accoutrements: lime, bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapenos/chilis, hoisin, and sriracha. Dig in and pat yourself on the back, you made homemade pho!

wagyu beef rib pho

Beef Rib Pho Recipe
makes 6 big bowls of noodles


  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2 head garlic (6-8 cloves), finely minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
  • lots of freshly ground pepper
  • 4 lbs beef back ribs


  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 shallot, peeled, halved lengthwise
  • 2 inches ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 5 star anise
  • 75g rock sugar or about 1/3 cup sugar
  • fish sauce to taste

To Serve:

  • pho noodles, fresh or dried, 3 oz per serving
  • omasum/beef tripe, optional
  • beef balls, optional
  • sliced green onions
  • roughly chopped cilantro
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • Thai chilis/jalapeno
  • Thai basil
  • lime wedges
  • hoisin sauce
  • sriracha

Heat the oven to 200°F.

Place the shallot, garlic, and sugar in a mortar and pestle. Pound until everything becomes a homogenous, sticky paste. Really take your time with this, you want all of the oils in the shallots and garlic to be expressed. When everything is a paste, stir in the fish sauce, starting with 1 tablespoon, adding to taste up to 2 tablespoons. Stir in a ton of freshly ground black pepper. Adjusting if needed. The paste should taste sweet, salty, with a huge hit of slightly spicy shallot and garlic.

Rub the marinade all over the ribs, then wrap tightly in foil, ribs curving up. Place the foil-wrapped ribs on rimmed baking sheets and bake for 6 hours, or until very tender and meat comes away from the bone easily.

Carefully open the foil and remove the ribs. There will be quite a bit of liquid/fat from cooking. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain. Set in the fridge so that the fat separates from the beef juices.

Let the ribs cool slightly, then, using a knife, trim the meat away from the bones, neatly. Cut the rib meat into cubes, cool, and keep in the fridge, covered, until you are ready to prepare the bowls of pho.

Take the bones and place them in a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for another 1, at 200°F. The bones should be nicely browned.

When the bones have 10 minutes or so left, char your aromatics. Place the onion, shallot, ginger, cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander seeds, and star anise on a rimmed baking sheet and blow torch until fragrant. Alternately, char the onions, shallot, and ginger on an outdoor grill, over a gas range, or in an oven broiler and toast the coriander seeds, cloves, and star anise in a dry pan on low heat until they are aromatic, about 2-3 minutes. Tie the spices up in cheesecloth or large tea/spice bag for easy removal from your soup.

Place the browned bones, along with the onion, shallot, ginger, seasoning packet, and sugar in a large dutch oven (5.5 quarts). Top with water, about 3.5-4 quarts. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then lower to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 3-4 hours.

Remove the aromatics and bones and strain if desired. Grab the beef juice/fat that you saved in the fridge, discard the fat, and add the meat juice into the stock. Taste and season with fish sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s slightly aggressive and just about over seasoned. Gently heat up the rib meat (and beef balls and omasum, if using) in the broth. The stock should be very hot.

To serve:

Prepare the noodles according to the package, strain and divide evenly into large, deep bowls. Add a generous amount of beef rib cubes (meatballs and omasum) Top with a generous amount of broth. Serve with a plate of bean sprouts, limes, Thai basil, rough chopped onion and cilantro and chilis. Have small dipping plates of sriracha and hoisin sauces for each person. Enjoy hot.

Lone Mountain Wagyu generously provided the ribs to create this post.


  1. Commander says:

    Can you clarify one of your ingredients listed:

    14 lbs beef back ribs

    is that Fourteen pounds of beef back ribs?

    1. Stephanie says:

      whoops! total typo, it was about 4 lbs. fixed!

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