Wow, seriously packed with flavor. One of the best no-fuss beef short ribs I've ever had. I scaled the recipe down for one or two servings and didn't have pre-made five spice but had the individual components so I added a couple of whole star anise, cinnamon, fennel seeds, black pepper and a couple of whole cloves. The neighbors could smell it simmering in my small crockpot and appeared to be salivating. Since I scaled back the recipe there was no need to thicken the sauce, just skimmed the fat and it was hard to believe the amount of flavor that it developed. I used boneless beef short ribs that I found at Costco. Easy prep and darned tasty!