I have a lamb pinot noir sauce recipe that I use for lamb chops all the time.

I would like to use with short ribs instead.

can I merely substitute beef stew meat for the lamb stew meat, and be done with it, adjusting cooking times and seasonings to taste

  • You're fine substituting stew meats for one another, but exchanging lamb chops for beef ribs would mean a different shape that could affect cooking time. Can you clarify what cuts you're asking about?
    – logophobe
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 22:32
  • The meat is cooked separately from the sauce
    – rbp
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 22:34
  • So the sauce contains lamb stew meat, which you'd like to substitute with beef stew meat, and is served alongside the ribs/chops?
    – logophobe
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 22:35
  • Yes, on top,of the short ribs
    – rbp
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


As stated by Logophobe below, you can of course substitute ingredients as you like. I personally find subbing beef for lamb or vice versa a bit risky though.

Lamb in general has a much milder taste of itself and thus requires a sauce and other accompanyments that do not overpower the taste of the meat. In your case this could mean that the sauce will be too weak as an accompanyment to beef.

In a case such as this and not knowing the actual recipe I would suggest replacing the Pinot Noir with a somewhat more fragrant red wine (a new world Merlot low on tannines should do nicely). You could also make the sauce more rounded by adding some crushed juniper berries.

Should you want to stick to your original recipe, you might try just reducing the sauce a little more than you usually would.

  • i switched out the Pinot Noir for malbec (we don't buy merlot), and made the sauce this morning. it came out really quite good, but also quite dry. will see how well it serves tomorrow, after finishing it.
    – rbp
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 15:07
  • Malbec is a risky sauce-wine as it can get quite harsh in taste as you reduce it. You can of course always always take off some of the liquid and whisk it with frozen butter to give it a more smooth taste and texture. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 15:11
  • yes, it was definitely drier than I expected. it will get finished with butter -- good idea!
    – rbp
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 15:25

Yes, yes you can.

If you're adjusting cooking times, seasonings, and other factors, you can make whatever substitution you want to a recipe. Culinary purists might sneer at you but there will be no legal, regulatory, emotional, or philosophical consequences. Just don't mislabel the end product (i.e. call it a "lamb sauce" even though it's made with beef now) and be sure you follow all relevant food safety regulations, especially if you're serving this to the public in a restaurant.

Other than that, have fun and substitute away.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.