Texas Chile Short Rib Tacos


The sauce for these tender beef short ribs is intense. To round out the tang and heat from the tomatoes and chiles, cookbook authors Matt and Ted Lee add a little semisweet chocolate. “It’s mellow and sweet,” says Ted. “The chocolate puts everything in balance.” Slideshow: More Taco Recipes 

Texas Chile Short Rib Tacos
From fish tacos with creamy lime guacamole to crispy fried chicken-filled tacos, here are the best taco recipes for a homemade Cinco de Mayo. Photo: John Kernick
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins


  • 3 1/2 pounds English-cut beef short ribs

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 3 large onions, quartered lengthwise

  • 8 skin-on garlic cloves, lightly crushed

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon peanut or canola oil

  • 3 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 3 pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 2 cups beef stock or low-sodium broth

  • One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips

  • Warm small corn tortillas, sliced avocado, sliced radishes, sliced pickled jalapeños, crumbled Cotija or ricotta salata cheese, cilantro leaves and lime wedges, for serving


  1. Season the short ribs with 2 teaspoons of salt, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

  2. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the onions and garlic with 1 teaspoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil for 10 to 12 minutes, until the onions and garlic are charred in spots. Let cool, then discard the garlic skins. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.

  3. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the ancho and pasilla chiles and toast over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until they are fragrant and pliable, about 2 minutes. Add the beef stock, remove from the heat, cover and let stand until the chiles are softened, about 5 minutes. In a blender, working in 2 batches, puree the chopped tomatoes with the chocolate chips, onions, garlic and the chiles and their soaking liquid until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the casserole.

  4. Pat the short ribs dry with paper towels. In the casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add half of the ribs and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining short ribs. Add the sauce and return the first batch of short ribs and their juices to the casserole. Bring to a simmer, cover and braise in the oven for about 2 hours, until the short ribs are very tender.

  5. Transfer the ribs to a plate and let cool slightly, then skim the fat from the surface of the sauce. Shred the meat into bite-size pieces and discard the bones. Return the meat to the sauce and cook over moderately low heat until heated through. Serve the short ribs in warm corn tortillas and garnish with sliced avocado, radishes, pickled jalapeños, crumbled cheese, cilantro leaves and lime wedges.

Make Ahead

The short ribs can be refrigerated in their sauce for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

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