Braised Short Rib Tacos

June  4, 2014
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

It's really hard to mess up this recipe. The truth is you could just throw all of the ingredients into the pot, place it in the oven, and forget about it. I've even made this with frozen short ribs. But if you have the time, it's worth following a few of these extra steps.

Feel free to use regular balsamic vinegar. But if you want to make a reduction, reduce inexpensive balsamic down until half of it has boiled away.

This works also works really well on pasta. —Phyllis Grant

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is featured in the story, 14 Cozy, Tomatoey Braises to Warm Your Stove Now Through March, sponsored by Muir Glen. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 6 short ribs
  • Kosher salt (for seasoning ribs)
  • Pepper (for seasoning ribs)
  • 1 teaspoon bacon fat
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or pressed or finely chopped
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction (or regular balsamic vinegar)
  • 28 ounces can tomatoes, diced
  • 12 tortillas
  • Crème fraîche for serving
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves for serving
  1. Heat oven to 275° F.
  2. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Place large ovenproof pot over high heat. Add bacon fat and vegetable oil. When it's smoking hot, place short ribs in the pan. No need to jiggle or shift the meat around. Just let them do their thing. After 2 minutes, take a peek. When the meat is a gorgeous golden brown, turn to sear on the other side. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Turn heat down to medium. Add the onions. Use a wooden spoon and the onions to get all of the meat goodies up off of the bottom of the pot. Once the onions are soft and translucent, turn the heat down to low and add the garlic and anchovies. Stir for a minute. Help the anchovies disintegrate. Pour in the wine. Reduce until it's almost evaporated -- you might need to turn the heat up just a bit.
  5. Add the balsamic and diced tomatoes. Stir. Slide back in the browned short ribs. Bring to a boil, then cover and place in the oven. Check after 1 1/2 hours. The dish is done when the meat is falling off the bones and is easily shredded with two forks. (This takes anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of your short ribs.)
  6. Cool for a few minutes. Using your hands, slide meat off of the bones. Pick out any large pieces of fat that are unappealing (small ones will melt into the braise). Shred the meat as best you can. Stir. Taste. Add salt if needed. Or a splash of balsamic.
  7. Cover. Place back in the oven until you're ready to eat.
  8. Warm the tortillas. To serve, spoon meat onto the tortillas. Top with crème fraîche and cilantro. Freeze any leftover meat. You will be happy a few weeks down the road.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Margo
  • Phyllis Grant
    Phyllis Grant
  • Cameron Lasswell
    Cameron Lasswell
  • ghainskom
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

6 Reviews

Cameron L. February 18, 2016
It was good. But would I drop $30 in beef short ribs to make this again? No. It just needed to be more "Mexican". I think I would prefer using spices like cumin, corriander, jalapeños, chipotle etc.. I made this for my aunt and uncle and both commented that it would have been more appropriate to serve the short rib meat over potatoes. I would also think using red wine might add more depth than white wine.
TheIronChef July 28, 2023
Cameron the recipe was for Pork spare ribs and made with entirely french cooking techniques. Pork and white wine obviously pair better than red which is better with red meat. Maybe try again with pork to get the intended dish.
ghainskom August 11, 2014
Had it with rice either and liked it. Don't skip the creme fraiche and coriander!
Margo July 14, 2014
I made this two nights ago. It is extremely delicious. Didn't change a thing. My husband loved it. I actually just served it with rice. A++. Will be one of my go to recipes!
Cynthia July 24, 2014
What about the serving size? Ive never cooked short ribs so i dont know how much meat you get from 6 ribs.
Phyllis G. November 6, 2014
A very good question. Sorry I didn't list how many pounds of meat. Will try to find out. Just tell your butcher you're braising them and want to serve 4 people. I would imagine 6 medium-sized ribs would be plenty.