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Braising is a great technique to master, because it allows you to tenderize tougher cuts of meat, completely transforming them into tender mouthwatering deliciousness. Another benefit of learning how to braise, is that these tougher muscly cuts of meat are generally quite affordable. Braises can be made ahead and actually taste even better, the next day. After making these in various ways, hundreds of times in our catering business, here is what I’ve learned:
5 tips to successful braising
1. Generous Salt.
2. Deep Sear.
3. Flavorful braising liquid.
4. Tight seal.
5. Low temperature.
Three hours later, it will look like this. Caramelized, and falling off the bone tender.
To prevent drying out, keep the beef in the braising liquid, covered until close to serving time.
When catering for very large groups, the beef is seared in giant heavy bottom skillets, then placed in large hotel pans along with the braising liquid. I use 3 layers of foil, crimping the edges well, to create the very important seal.
I tell you this because, even if you don’t own a dutch oven– you can still make this dish, by improvising a little. After searing in a skillet, use a deep baking dish, or even a large deep sauté pan or a pot. Sometimes, foil and a lid are called for… as long as you can create a seal.
This could also be made in a slow cooker, although, honestly I’m not sure about the cooking time, since I don’t have a slow cooker. I would absolutely sear the beef, sauté the onions etc… before placing in the slow cooker.
Melted cheese on the taco shells, is a nice touch. Jut place right on the oven rack.
Like I mentioned earlier, when its just the two of us, I like these simply served…. a little cheese, a little meat, caramelized onions, cilantro and a squirt of hot sauce.
Mexican Short Rib Tacos
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Total Time: 3 hours 30 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: roasted
- Cuisine: Mexican
Slow braised Mexican Short Rib Tacos- infused with dried chilies, this slow roasted meat literally falls off the bone.
- 6–8 meaty beef short ribs – 3 inches tall (3–4 lbs) (if you can’t find “meaty” short ribs like in the photos above, either order from a butcher or substitute a 3 lb beef roast)
- kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 4 C beef stock
- 1 16 oz dark beer
- 5 –6 dried New Mexico chilies-destemed, seeds removed, crumbled
- 8 garlic cloves- whole
- 1 large onion- rough chopped
- 1 Tablespoon cumin seed
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp allspice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- one large onion sliced into 1/3 inch rings
- 1 T olive oil
- Corn or flour Tortillas
- handful Cilantro
- hot sauce
- 1/2 cup queso fresco cheese ( optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 300 F
- Generously salt and pepper all sides of the short ribs. (Use more salt than you think) Heat oil in a heavy bottom Dutch oven over medium high heat. When the oil is hot,add the ribs and brown all sides of the ribs – be patient, it takes time and this step is quite important. If splattering, cover partially with a lid. You want a nice deep color on all sides. This is crucial! Be careful not to overcrowd ( you may want to do in batches). Once they are nice and brown, remove and set aside.
- In the same pot, turn heat to down medium and add onions and whole garlic, stirring constantly until golden brown and just tender about 3-4 minutes. Add cumin, cinnamon stick, allspice, oregano and bay leaves, and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add chilies, beer, stock, and brown sugar and give a stir, and place the short ribs in the liquid with the bone sticking strait up. Liquid will just come to the top of the ribs.
- Turn heat to high, bring to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid …or with two-three layers of foil, creating a tight seal. Place in the middle of the hot oven and bake for 3 hours, without opening the lid.
- In the mean time, slice one large onion into ⅓ inch thick rings and sauté in a little oil on medium high for 5 minutes, turn heat to low and sauté until caramelized and golden, about 10 more minutes.
- You could also make pico de gallo or pickled radishes ( optional) … see link above.
- After 3 hours, the meat will be fork tender and flavorful. Leave the meat in the braising liquid until ready to serve. When ready, remove ribs from the liquid. Skim the fat, from the pot. Using a fork, or tongs, separate meat from bone and fatty parts and set meat aside. Taste the meat for salt, adding more if necessary. Fish out some of the flavorful chili peppers from the liquid and toss with the meat along with a few tablespoons of the juices left in the pot. The little bits of cumin seed are good too. Remember the meat will dry out quickly once removed from the cooking liquid, so if not serving right away, keep the ribs in the liquid.
- Place cheese on tortillas, then place directly on the racks inside a 350 F oven, until melted. Remove from the oven, and place some of the meat, caramelized onion, cilantro and hot sauce inside the tortilla. Serve.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 655
- Sugar: 3.2 g
- Sodium: 449 mg
- Fat: 18 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 68.8 g
- Fiber: 6.2 g
- Protein: 54.7 g
- Cholesterol: 125.4 mg
Keywords: Mexican Short Rib Tacos, Mexican short ribs, braised short ribs recipes
My whole family LOVED these! So easy! And the marinade made the grass fed beef perfectly tender!
Thank you for this recipe! I’m making it (for the third time) tonight in prep for my friend’s birthday tomorrow! We are all so excited because we know how good it will be. It’s her fav meal of all of my specialties- thanks to your recipe. I looked at lots of methods before embarking the first time – nailed it by choosing this. Happy days.
I picked this recipe because it used beer instead of wine for the braise. I happened to have a few Guiness Stouts in the frig…. The meat was exceptionally tender. Instead of serving in taco form, I made whipped cauliflower.
Simply amazing recipe. I followed it exactly except I used a beef bottom round and it was still delicious!
Perfect Jeff, glad you liked it!
Just. Made. It. Still. Cooking. In. The boven. But. Can’t wait. To. Taste it. ….hope. Come. Up. Flavorfully. And. Good.
I used a sirloin roast and it turned out good. Guinness beer. I might try chipotle peppers next time.
Perfect, sounds good!
Have made this several times and it always turns out excellent!
Hi, I plan on having a taco party this sat. If I want to prep this dish ahead of time so I don’t have to do this on Saturday, what’s the best way to break this down? Brown the meat on Friday then do all other steps on Saturday? I will be using a Dutch oven. Thank you!!
I would also braise the meat ahead if possible…then just reheat in the juices (perhaps removing the fat that cools at the top), on Saturday before your party. You may want to try boneless short ribs to get more meat for a larger group.
thank you, I will give that a try! Much appreciated.
Should the allspice be whole or ground?
either, but ground probably best!
Your photos are excellent and I just go back from shopping for the ingredients for this recipe. I have my go to supermarket who used to have dried chiles (but of course I didn’t need them at that time – now they no longer carry them- I asked the manager, the produce guy, I looked everywhere but no dried chilies. Went to three other stores after that. So I have a question: Can I substitute (I would taste before adding too much) cayenne pepper instead of the chilies? Second question: I have coriander seeds, but I don’t have cumin seeds. Can I use ground cumin without altering the taste? And if yes, how much ground cumin. I eagerly await your response. Thanks!
Hi Donna! Sorry for the delay! Can you find canned chipotle peppers ( in adobo sauce)? They are usually in the Mexican section of the grocery store. If so use a few peppers and a few tablespoons of the sauce from the can. Using cayenne will give heat but not the depth and smokiness from the other chilies- so may be bland. Ground cumin is totally fine!
Hello, is the tablespoon of coriander seed a typo or does it actually go in? I cant detect any of the seed in your picture but there are certainly many in my dish and i m not quite sure if i should try to fish them out as they are still quite intact after a night in the oven.
Hi Pauline, it’s not a typo, they go in. I will add to the recipe that one could crush them slightly, but I usually leave them whole. Does it seem like a lot?
I tried this tonight and the meat came out tender but, pretty bland despite all the spices and browning the beef.
Hey Joey, it sounds like a salt issue to me. Sorry it didn’t work for you- this one is usually pretty flavorful.
Love this recipe!!!! My husband is the cook in our house, but I’ve made this successfully several times. I thought I was very easy to make. One of our favorite dishes!
Ummmm. when do I add the brown sugar?
Sorry, add sugar when you add the stock and beer. I updated the recipe…thanks!
Hi Sylvia, Do you have when to add the chiles and brown sugar? I am making this as we speak and added them at the same time as the spices. I added a little cross rib for more meat. We’ll see how that works. Your picture is beautiful at I’m looking forward for 3 hours to pass.
Hi Pat! Yes- you add the chilies when you add the stock and beer. I just fixed the recipe…thanks for pointing it out. Hope you like them!!!
Sylvia,i made your lovely tacos and added an avocado and cilantro sauce to put on them,I bought 31/2 pounds of the ribs which came out to 30.00 and it only came out to 1 cup(at the most) of meat..Did i do something wrong?
I love your site..I am passing it along to every one I know!!! Thank you so much! Ally
Hi Ally, thanks for your feedback. No, I don’t think you did any wrong. Unfortunately sometimes, short ribs, depending on the cut, can end up not having a lot of meat on them after all the fat has melted away. This has happened to me in the past, and it’s really disappointing and Im sorry it happened to you this time. When you pick our ribs, you can actually see how much meat/ bone and fat there is. You want ones that visibly look “meaty”. Packaged Ribs from the grocery store, will often lack in meatiness, so its almost not worth buying those. Now a days , I have my butcher cut for me the thick meaty ends of the ribs, about 2-3 inches tall. If you get a cut like this, you will end up with about ¾ C meat per rib. If you can’t get ribs like this, it’s best to use a roast for the recipe. I should clarify this in the recipe- and again I really appreciate your feedback…I think its really helpful!!
What can I substitute for beer? No alcohol in our house is allowed. Keeps for a happy home.
I’ve been on a taco kick lately and these look and sound heavenly. Definitely making them. I don’t own a crockpot either, I thought I was the only one. Lol. Great post!
Your photos are so beautiful, do you take them all yourself and what sort of camera do you recommend for this sort of photography?
Thanks. I use a Canon 6 D w/ a 50 mm lens.
Awesome post .i hope everybody will like your post
Gorgeous post… thanks so much for the braising tips… My family will love these tacos!
Oh my husband would love this! your pics and presentation are just gorgeous.
OMG! I am drooling….such beautiful photos – I can almost taste them!