Tacolicious Guajillo Short Rib Tacos

Tacolicious Tahoe.  That’s at my house these days.   These tacos and an Achiote Chicken have been my breakfast and dinner for several days.    Who could ask for anything more?

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Tacolicious is one of my favorite restaurants in the SF Bay Area– and sure, it’s easier to sit outside on Chestnut Street, sipping a beer and waiting for someone to bring me a taco, but it’s less crowded here.  I can start the barbecue (my new summer oven) put the ingredients together in a dutch oven, pop them in the barbecue, open a beer, watch a movie, or  sit outside reading and noodling in the sun.  Guajillo short ribs are ready for tacos about 3 hours later.

If you’re coming over for dinner this summer, that’s what I’m serving.

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  • 8 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Negro Modelo or other dark Mexican beer
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • Chopped white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, salsa of choice, and lime wedges, for serving


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Working in two batches to avoid crowding, lightly toast all of the chiles in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds on each side, until fragrant but not blackened. Set them aside on a plate.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, working in batches to avoid crowding, add the meat and sear for about 3 minutes on each side, until the pieces have formed a uniformly browned crust. Add more oil to the pot as needed to prevent scorching. As the pieces are ready, set them aside on a plate.

Add the onion to the same same pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour in the beer, add the toasted chiles, and turn down the heat to low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the chiles have softened and are pliable. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and reserve the pot. Add the cumin, pepper, oregano, salt, and water to the blender and blend the mixture on high speed until smooth and the consistency of cream, adding more water if needed to thin the mixture a bit.

Return the seared meat to the pot and pour in the chile mixture. Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is fork-tender.

Remove from the oven and, using tongs or a couple of forks, shred the meat in the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed. Serve with the tortillas, onion, cilantro, salsa, and lime.


My Mom’s Short Ribs

Shortribs: The Cornerstone of every great culture.

6 to 8 servings

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

6 pounds short ribs (English cut if possible)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
6 shallots, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup ruby port wine
4 cups full-bodied red wine, preferably Cabernet Sauvignon
2 sprigs rosemary
10 sprigs parsley
8 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
4 cups veal stock  (or beef stock)

Heat oven to 300°. Tie each short rib with kitchen string, and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and brown short ribs on each side. Remove short ribs, and cook carrots, celery, onions, and shallots until onions and shallots turn golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and flour, and cook 2 to 3 minutes.

Return short ribs to the pot, and deglaze with port and red wine. Cook until wine is reduced by 2/3. To make the bouquet garni, bunch rosemary, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together, and tie the bundle with kitchen string. Add bouquet garni, garlic, and stock to pot. Bring to a boil, and cover. Transfer to oven, and cook until meat is fork-tender, about 3 hours.

Transfer short ribs to large platter. Strain sauce through a fine sieve or cheesecloth into a medium-size saucepan. Reduce sauce over medium heat until it thickens to a gravy-like consistency. Adjust seasoning, to taste, spoon sauce over short ribs, and serve.

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