My Friends at Burleigh Brewing Company on the Gold Coast again asked me to come up with a recipe for their award winning no carb beer, Big Head.  Yep you heard me correctly.  NO CARB…….Yipppeeee!!  The first of its kind in Australia, this beer is a stand out in my book and not just because Burleigh Brewing are my friends. It is because this is the first low carb beer I have tasted that actually tastes like a beer.  Clean and crisp and with that classic lager flavour, I just new it could stand up to some pretty bold flavours in the food pairing department.  It also had me thinking of some mighty fine pub grub and this is where the inspiration for this recipe came from.  Tender, sweet and spicy beef short ribs were slow cooked in a home made BBQ sauce resting on a bed of sweet potato mash (low carb of course).  I did feel that a few carbs were fine as we were drinking a no carb beer, so what better way to top off the dish than with some glorious, super crispy Big Head battered onion rings?  I nearly died and went to Heaven.


Prep time:  40  Minutes     Cooking time:  2.5 Hours + Minimum 2 Hours Marinating time       $$  Medium Budget


Serves 4


1.2kg of Beef Short Ribs  (ask your butcher to prepare them)

1 tbs of mustard powder

1 tbs of dried oregano

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Zest of 1 orange

1/4 cup of brown sugar

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Sweet potato mash to serve (you could also have normal potato mash)*

Micro herbs or chopped fresh parsley for garnish


For the BBQ Sauce:


400ml of tomato puree

2 cloves of garlic

2 dried Ancho chilli, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes*

1 tbs of worcestershire sauce

Juice of 1 orange

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

2 sprigs of fresh oregano, stalks discarded (just run your fingers down the stalk to remove the leaves)

4 sprigs of fresh thyme, stalks discarded (as above)

A dash of tobasco sauce

Sea salt and cracked pepper


For the Onion Rings:


1 large brown onion, sliced into 1cm rounds then use your fingers to seperate

3/4 cup of plain flour, sifted

1 tbs of corn flour, sifted

1 cup of Big Head Lager  (any beer will substitute)

1 tbs of chopped fresh parsley

Sea salt and cracked pepper

Rice bran oil for frying (vegetable or canola will substitute)


To prepare the ribs, combine the mustard powder, oregano, orange zest, garlic and brown sugar in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper.  Use your finger tips to rub all of the ingredients together.  Lay the ribs on a couple of large sheets of foil and rub the mix into both sides of the ribs.  Seal the foil and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.


Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Remove the ribs from the fridge and keeping them wrapped in the foil, place them on a baking tray and place in the oven for 1 hour.


While the ribs are cooking, place all of the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a food processor or Nutri Ninja and blitz until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to reduce for approximately 20 minutes.


Open the ribs after 1 hour and brush both sides with the BBQ sauce.  Do this step every 15 minutes for another hour and then open the foil.  Turn the oven up to 200°C and baste the ribs every 10 minutes for 30 minutes or until you have a nice thick coating on the ribs and the meat is nice and tender.  Keep any remaining sauce nice and warm for drizzling when serving.


To make the onion rings, whisk the sifted flour, parsley,  beer and salt and pepper together until you have a nice thick, smooth batter.  Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan or deep fryer.  I use a saucepan as I find I don’t need to use as much oil.  Pour in enough oil to come up about an inch from the bottom.  You can test the oil temperature by dropping a little batter in the bottom,  if it sizzles and floats to the top straight away, the oil is ready.  You want your oil nice and hot (about 180°C) for perfect frying,  that way most of the oil stays in the pot and leaves you with super crispy onion rings.  Place the onion rings in the batter and make sure they are evenly coated.  Drop them in the oil (you will need to do in batches) and when they are golden and crispy, remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and place on a baking tray lined with a rack.  Keep them warm in the oven while you cook the remaining onion rings.


Divide your mash between four serving plates and top with the ribs.  Drizzle over a little sauce and top with the crispy onion rings.  Scatter over your preferred garnish and serve with a side of steamed greens.


*Ancho chillies can be found in specialty food stores or online (see link below).  You could substitute 3-4 dried red chillies and a 1/2tsp of smoked paprika to bring out the smokey flavour but they are easily found on the internet and the depth of flavour is worth it.  Because the  BBQ sauce was quite sweet, as was the sweet potato mash, I popped half a tsp of smoked paprika in my mash to cut through some of that sweetness.  It gave it a really nice flavour but this is completely optional.