Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib Taco

Make this the centerpiece at your next taco party
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Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib Taco
Photo: Tasting Table

Food writer Sara Deseran might make you forget about carne asada or carnitas altogether with her guisada-style tacos, a popular order at the handful of Tacolicious restaurants she owns in the Bay Area with her husband, Joe Hargrave.

The so-called "king of tacos" in Mexico are filled with slow-cooked stewed meat laced with guajillo and chipotle chiles, garlic, onion, Negra Modelo, smoky cumin and oregano. Taco lovers in Mexico stand in line for the stuff.

We would, too.

Note: Ask your local butcher to remove the bones from the short ribs. If you can't get boneless ones, simply cook them with the bones in, then remove them after the meat has cooked and is tender.

To learn more, read "Taquiza to Success."

Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib Taco

Recipe adapted from "Tacolicious" by Sara Deseran

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours and 30 minutes


For the Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Ribs:

8 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 pounds boneless beef short ribs (see note above)

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 (12-ounce) bottle dark Mexican beer, preferably Negra Modelo

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1½ tablespoons Mexican oregano

½ cup water

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Tacos:

Corn tortillas, warmed

Diced white onions, for garnish

Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Salsa of choice, to serve

Lime wedges, for garnish


1. Make the guajillo-braised beef short ribs: Preheat oven to 325. Toast the dried chiles on a sheet tray until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Remove and set them aside on a plate.

2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the short ribs until deep golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Add more oil to the pot to prevent any scorching. Remove the short ribs and set aside on a plate.

3. Adjust the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the reserved chiles and beer and adjust the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chiles have softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Place the contents of the pot in a blender. Add the cumin, oregano, water and season with salt and pepper. Purée on high speed until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin out the chile mixture.

5. Return the meat to the pot and add the puréed chile mixture. Cover and transfer to the oven, and cook, stirring occasionally until the meet is fork-tender, about 3 to 4 hours.

6. Remove the meat from the oven. Using two large forks, shred the meat. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

7. Make the tacos: Serve the guajillo-braised beef shorts ribs over corn tortillas and top with onions, cilantro, salsa and lime.

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