Lay short ribs on a rack in a roaster; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Roast for 20 minutes until well browned and fat has drained into the pan.
In the meantime, peel and cut onions in half. Veggie spray the bowl of the crock pot, place the onions cut side down on the bottom of the crock pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the beef broth over and spread half of the tomato sauce on top of the onions. Remove short ribs from oven; cut each strip in half and lay on top of the onion/tomato in crock pot.
Sprinkle the smashed garlic over and spread the remaining tomato sauce over the ribs.
Cook on high for 2 hours, reduce heat to low and cook for about 3 hours, until the meat is tender.
Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or noodles with veggies on the side.