I’m going to level with you, this is not the stuff of a chill Taco Tuesday. This is date night material. A legendary Cinco de Mayo meal. A lazy Sunday well-spent in the kitchen. These will take some time to put together with an ample amount of downtime. In other words, have your laundry ready because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to fold those socks. But for all the patience and attention these Beer-Braised Short Rib Tacos require, they more than makeup for it with their flavor.
I know I say this about a lot of my recipes, but these tacos are out-of-this-world amazing. I really mean it. So yes, you have to sacrifice two bottles of beer in the name of braising liquid. And yes, you have to wait about four hours before you can tear into them. But these tacos are just so worth it. So before you scroll away in favor of some 30-minute, 5 ingredient situation, just hear me and these tacos out.
These Beer-Braised Short Rib Tacos start out with four good-sized short ribs seasoned generously with salt. As with all meats bound for braising, the first thing you’re going to do is brown them on all sides. From there you put together the braising liquid, which couldn’t be simpler.
Pop open a can of chipotle peppers in adobo and give them a blitz. No word of a lie this is my favorite extremely lazy sauce/marinade. Pour the puree over the short ribs and pour in two bottles of beer. Add a few aromatics – a head of garlic, a couple of peppers, bay leaves, and a cinnamon stick in my case – and bring everything to a boil. Then you pop the ribs in the oven and forget about them for 2 1/2 hours. I have to be honest, they’re pretty hard to forget about. They smell incredible.
Once the short ribs are almost done, place a few potatoes in your designated potato pot. What’s that? You don’t have one of those? Just me then. Place your potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring them to a boil and salt the water. Cook the potatoes until fork tender, then drain them and give them a coarse dice. We’re giving them the home fry treatment in a large skillet. But we’re not oiling the pan with butter or olive oil. Oh no, we’re using some of the fat that has accumulated on the surface of the short rib braising liquid. This was one of my better ideas.
On top of adding a little short rib fat to the pan, you’re also going to add some whole cumin seeds and give them a quick toast. These are of course optional but I highly recommend them. They really set the potatoes of. Once you add the potatoes to the pan, I want you to be good and aggressive with them. Bash them about and semi-mash them with the back of your spatula. Think of creating mashed potatoes with butter chunks of intact potato.
Once the potatoes are fried and the short ribs are shredded, it’s time to assemble the tacos. Now, you could load up some warm corn tortillas and call it dinner. I would be fabulous, majestic even. Or you can take your tacos from tacos to tacos dorados by filling them and baking them in the oven until crispy. Traditional tacos dorados are usually fried but the baked version is less mess and, in my opinion, just as satisfying.
Finally, once your tacos are golden, pile them high with refreshing veg and serve them with your favorite taco-compatible condiments. And that’s it! See? There really isn’t anything difficult about these Beer-Braised Short Rib Tacos, they just take some time. If you plan ahead, these guys really aren’t much trouble. Plus, you can save the braising liquid and use it as the base for a truly righteous tortilla soup.
So that’s everything you need to know about these Beer-Braised Short Rib Tacos Dorados. I hope y’all are game to give these a try. They really knocked my socks off and I want that for you.
Beer-Braised Short Rib Tacos Dorados
- Large oven-safe braising vessel
- Large baking sheet
- 4 large short ribs
- 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo
- ¼ cup olive oil divided
- 2 (355ml, 12 fl oz) bottles Mexican beer I used Modelo
- 1 habanero
- 3 jalapeños divided
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 head garlic top lopped off
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 small Yukon gold potatoes halved
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1 cup cabbage shredded
- 1 avocado sliced
- ½ cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Liberally season the short ribs with salt and set them aside. Pour the chipotle peppers into a large food processor and blitz until smooth.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large cast-iron braiser, skillet, or Dutch oven. Once the oil is shimmering add the short ribs and brown on all sides. Pour in the chipotle puree and the two bottles of beer. Bring the mixture up to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Add one of the jalapeño peppers, the habanero, the garlic, the bay leaves, and the cinnamon stick. Cover the ribs and transfer to the oven. Let braise for 2½ hours, turning the ribs once halfway through.
- When the ribs are in their final 30 minutes of cooking, place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Liberally salt the water and boil the potatoes until fork-tender.
- Drain the potatoes and when cool enough to handle, give them a rough dice. The ribs should be done by now. Take the ribs out of the oven and crank up the heat to 425°F. Transfer the short ribs to a plate and shred the meat with two forks. Discard the bones.
- Skim about 2 tablespoons of the fat that's collected on the surface of the rib's braising liquid. Pour the fat into a skillet and heat over medium until shimmering. Add the cumin and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the potatoes to the skillet and saute until the potatoes start to fall apart. Help this process with the back of your spoon or spatula. You want the potatoes to be slightly mashed. Take the potatoes off of the heat.
- Pour the remaining olive oil onto a large baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to ensure the sheet is evenly coated. Arrange the corn tortillas on the baking sheet.**
- Place a layer of potatoes and a layer of short rib on one half of each tortilla. Fold the naked half over the fillings and secure with a toothpick. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the tortillas are golden.
- Place the tacos on a platter and cover them with cabbage, avocado, tomatoes, and the remaining jalapeño sliced. Serve immediately with lime wedges and cold beer.