August 1, 2014

Braised Short Rib Tacos - Improved!!

Whoops, I'm behind!! Sorry about that folks, I came down with a mysterious stomach bug and have been best friends with my couch and TV for the past few days. All better now! Who knows where I pick those things up... 

Well, my rainy October week has failed miserably. We did get that one glorious, cool rainy day, but since then there have been sprinkles and lots of sun. *pout* Can't help myself. I'll admit it is a little cooler, at least we're in the 80's instead of the 90's! Definitely a silver lining! I just can't escape this Western summer, so might as well make tacos again! They're summery, right??

Finger-Licking Braised Short Rib Tacos
Printable Recipe

about 3 lbs beef short ribs
4 red onions, quartered
4-6 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 Tb brown sugar
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp kosher (coarse) salt or 2 tsp table salt
1 tsp pepper
3 cups beef broth/stock
1 cup red wine (you can replace this with another cup of beef broth)

6-inch tortillas
sour cream
lime wedges
red onions
crumbly cheese (we used goat cheese, cotija would be nice too)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Pat the short ribs dry with a paper towel, combine the spices and brown sugar in a small bowl, and rub the spices all over the short ribs. Heat 1-2 Tb oil (olive or vegetable) in a large skillet or frying pan on high heat, and sear all sides of each short rib. Place them in a large oven-safe baking dish (or Dutch oven). Arrange quartered onions on top, sprinkle smashed garlic cloves in between and pour broth and wine over the whole thing. Cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven. Cook for 3-4 hours, until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork.

When fully cooked and tender, remove the short ribs from the juices and broth. Skim the fat off of about 2 cups of the juices (or use a fat separator) and place the remaining juices in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower to a strong simmer to reduce for about 10 minutes.

While the juices are reducing, remove the meat from the bones and shred with a fork. When the juices are done reducing, add to the shredded meat and mix to combine.

Serve hot, warm tortillas, with sour cream, thinly sliced red onions (I quick-pickled mine), cilantro, guacamole, fresh lime, etc. Any of your favorite taco toppings would probably work, I highly recommend the guacamole, and the lime is essential!
Some might ask why I bothered tweaking this recipe, as it was completely awesome the first time. Really. I just had a feeling that they could be even better! What can I say, I'm a little crazy when it comes to food! But you know what?? I WAS RIGHT!!
Searing. Can we just talk about searing for a minute?? It is the difference between rubbery, watery slow-cooked meat, and tender, flaky, deeply-flavored meat. I have no idea why, but beef especially is always better seared before a long, slow, braise. You can skip this step if you want to, but you'll be missing out!
The brown sugar adds a subtle caramelized note, the red wine brings some acidity, and searing makes this the most tender, finger-licking, ridiculously awesome tacos you'll ever make!! Loaded with spices and just plain beefiness, cut with some tangy onions, sour lime, creamy cheese and guacamole, you'll be hooked, I promise. :)


  1. Those look fabulous April! We don't get short ribs over here Wah! :-(

  2. Do you think it would lose much flavor without the cayenne and chili?

    1. You could easily skip the cayenne if you're concerned about spiciness, but the chili powder is pretty crucial, and adds NO heat :)


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