Beef Short Rib Tacos

Though the short rib is a lesser known cut of meat—especially in the home kitchen—it is definitely one you should introduce yourself to. They can require a bit more time and attention, but most chefs will tell you is that they are most definitely worth the effort.

In the last few decades, many American chefs have begun to highlight the short rib on their menus, most likely because it is one of the most intensely flavorful beef cuts available. There are thirteen ribs on a steer, and the short ribs come from the fifth through eighth ribs mostly, where the end of the brisket navel is overlapped by the rib loin.  The fat marbling is high in this midsection, but the meat can be tough if it isn’t properly handled.

There are a few highly successful methods to cooking short ribs, all of which take a bit of time. Most common is the braise. Braising is a technique that requires a high-heat sear, then a slow-and-low stew in the oven with stock and aromatics. Braising is one of my favorite methods because it yields rich, flavorful fall-off-the-bone meat and beautiful gravy. In the colder months, this is my go to technique. The oven warms the whole kitchen and the scent of the simmering stew brings comfort to the entire house.

Slow roasted short ribs take about the same amount of time as a braise, but are a little less fussy. With some planning ahead, this method can be used for any weeknight family meal. Roasted short ribs have a bit more texture to them than the braised version. The only downfall to this method is the absence of gravy, which actually means this technique could be considered a more health-conscious version of the short rib. All kidding aside, the short is supremely decadent. Whether it be a beautiful dish worthy of the finest restaurant, or a simple taco, short ribs can bring a smile to even the most mistrusting diner. Here’s how to make one of the best simple tacos you’ll ever eat.

 

Short Rib Tacos

serves 4

4 pounds trimmed, bone in short rib

2 T Smoked paprika

2 T Ancho chili powder, or dark chili powder

2 T Kosher salt

1 T cumin

1 t cayenne

1 t cinnamon

1 clove garlic, grated or 2 t granulated garlic

1/4 yellow onion grated, or 2 t onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Rub the ribs with the seasoning mix, making sure to get all the nooks and crannies. Place in a resealable plastic bag and let sit for at least 12 hours, preferably.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the ribs on a roasting rack and baking pan and cook for one and a half hours, until the fat is well rendered. Remove the ribs from the roasting rack and cover with foil. Cook for another two hours.

Take the ribs from the oven and let them cool enough to handle them. Pick the meat from the bones, and discard any excess fat. Taste for seasoning, adding kosher salt and lime juice to taste.

Serve the pulled meat on tortillas(I prefer soft corn tortillas), with simple slaw(see below), fresh jalapeno and avocado. A dash of hot sauce and a sprinkle of queso fresco or fresh cilantro never hurt anyone’s feelings, either.

Simple Slaw

Combine thin sliced cabbage with enough kosher salt to soften the cabbage, about 1 tablespoon per half head of cabbage. Add hot sauce or vinegar to your liking.

Always enjoy tacos with friends. Everything tastes better in the company of friends and family.