Mexican | Tacolicious Short Rib Taco
Posted on February 15, 2016
I first had these tacos at Tacolicious in Palo Alto. I almost lost my mind. These are so freaking good. I was thrilled to discover that they had a cookbook (called Tacolicious) and I could make these at home.
Yield: 16 tacos
8 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded (I could only find dried, they worked great)
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 (see Tortilla Method below and recommended tortillas)
chopped white onion, for serving
chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
salsa of choice, for serving
lime wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 325° F.
Working in two batches if necessary 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 batch 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 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.
To heat your tortillas with oil, drizzle a thin slick of vegetable oil onto a heavy skillet placed over medium heat. When the oil is hot, heat the tortilla on it for about 15 seconds, until the tortilla turns a bit more golden. When the aroma hits your nose, drizzle a tiny bit of oil on the top of the tortilla, flip it over, and heat for 15 seconds longer. The idea is not to fry it but to bring out more of its corny self.
Tacolicious tacos are each wrapped in two tortillas, so they stack them: once the bottom tortilla has cooked, drizzle oil on the top tortilla, and flip the paired tortillas over just as you would a single tortilla. The middle of the two tortillas will meld together slightly in the process. It helps make a sturdy taco.
Recommended tortillas: Trader Joe's or Mi Rancho Hand-Crafted Organic.
(Ref. "Guajillo-braised beef short rib taco" recipe, Tacolicious cookbook, page 102.)